Building our Glaming Domes:
Day 1 – Ordering

Our Glamping Dome Tent Adventure Starts

Today we went to the bank and transferred a 30% deposit for two 7m Glamping Dome Tents.

Actually, I thought we were going to do a bus conversion. There was a beautiful 1970s Mercedes-Benz bus for sale just a 1km away from our location. Our first plan was to buy that and convert it into accommodation. From a distance, it was stunning. Close up it was badly rusted and too damaged and further investigation proved that some of the damage was terminal.

So Shanana and I decided to extend our resort by adding two Glamping Dome Tents! Not least as we are both fans of our glamping ourselves but it’s growing in popularity and it just about fits our budget.

Choosing our Glamping Dome Tent Supplier

It’s taken about 3 months to do the research and to put a business plan together but so far it looks a sound investment. We believe we will see a positive return in 18-24 months. This, though, is assuming that the pandemic finally appears in our rear view mirror rather than in front of us.

There are plenty of glamping dome tent suppliers. We contacted a half dozen suppliers in Thailand and China. In the end we chose Jumei Tents who are based in Guangzhou. It seems that the local suppliers are all ordering from China anyway and we found we could save 35% by buying direct from the factories in China. The difference is that we will not get the on ground servicing as we would buying locally and more of the work, and decisions, will need to come from us.

We have opted for 7m dome tents. The most popular size for Thailand glamping dome tents is 5m in diameter. So 7m is a significant step up in cost. Not just for the tents, but everything else needs to be a size bigger. However 7m tents gives us an extra 20m2 of floor space plus and an extra meter in height; we believe people will enjoy that extra space. Especially parents with children.

Yesterday (Friday 30th) we went and put down the deposit so Jumei can start the manufacturing process. One tent will have a blue curtain, the other a metallic grey. Otherwise the two tents are identical.

Excited and Nervous

As our project starts, we are both excited and a little nervous. This is somewhat of a learning experience for us though for now the designs looks spectacular so we are optimistic that we can finish this project on budget, in time and create a wonderful experience too!

A Front View of our 7m Starry Glamping Dome with Blue Curtains at Nakara Villas and Glamping
A front view of our 7m Starry Glamping Dome
A Top View of our 7m Starry Glamping Dome Showing Solar Vent, Windows Door Roof and Front Bay Window at Nakara Villas and Glamping
A Top View of our 7m Starry Glamping Dome
A Side View of our 7m Starry Glamping Dome Showing Solar Vent, Window and Door at Nakara Villas and Glamping
A Side View of our 7m Starry Glamping Dome

What Glitters is Gold: Golden Tortoise Beetles

A Wonderful Christmas Present: A Tortoise Beetle

A few months ago I never knew these amazing pieces of nature existed. Then on Christmas Day 2020, I awoke to find a Spotted Tortoise Beetle sitting happily on our bedroom balcony railing.

It was stunning to see with its transparent shell and distinctive black, yellow and white colouring. Research led me to discover the whole species of tortoise beetles (or Charidotella sexpunctata) and their amazing kaleidoscope styles and colour schemes.

Nature was clearly at her most creative when she evolved tortoise beetles. It was also a very special Christmas surprise at the end of a difficult year.

Spotted Tortoise Beetle Seen at Nakara Villas and Glamping
Spotted Tortoise Beetle

Golden Tortoise Beetles – Little Flying Gold Nuggets

My Spotted Tortoise Beetle stayed with us for several minutes before flying off to munch on the leaves of a nearby bush. It seemed a lucky encounter though shortly afterwards tortoise beetles faded from my mind.

Then, in summer of 2021 as we waited the first rains of the year, I saw a flying gold nugget. At least that was what it looked like to me. The shiny, gold metallic brightness was unmissable even from 20m away.

Mystified, I wandered out into the garden to discover my first Golden Tortosie Beetle. An even more beautiful and stunning species than its spotted cousin: the same transparent shell, the same funny legs extending out but this one has a brilliant gold colouring with deep red splashes.

I tried to take a photograph but it’s reflectivity was so intense that it crashed the camera on my iphone! Yet it was still amazing to see and to just know they existed….and existed in our garden too!

Golden Nuggets Every Day

Rather like my Spotted Tortoise Beetle, I thought my encounter with a Golden Tortoise Beetle was just another lucky one off chance encounter. After having never seen one in 50 years, to see two in six months was quite something.

However, a few days later we were visited by another adult Golden Tortise Beetle. This one flew through an open door and plumped himself right down on our sofa bang in the middle of my son Eugene and I.

Showing no fear at all, he seemed quite comfortable walking on our hands and saying hello before finally also flying off! This time we caught the action on video!

Incidentally, though you can’t see it on the video, they do change colour from bright gold to a dark red depending on their mood, hydration levels and age. How they do this is, apparently, still a mystery.

Golden Tortoise Beetles at Nakara Villas & Glamping

Tortoise Beetles: Strange Lava, Beautiful Bugs

Now we are seeing Golden Tortoise Beetles every day – and often several at once. Even as I sit here I can see two on happily ascending our living room window. Another three are walking upside down, spiderman-style, on the inside of veranda roof. Another two are flying from leaf to leaf sending flashes of brilliant gold whilst their flying around our morning glory tree.

We do now understand that they will be us for a short period of time as they are dormant during the winter months. Hopefully this will give our morning glory trees a chance to recuperate.

We have though enjoyed learning about these bugs and watching them through their entire lifecycle. Typically mating begins in spring (and from our observations they are very amorous animals) after which the female lays multiple eggs on the underside of a shaded leaf.

Amorous golden tortosie beetles seen at Nakara Villas and Glamping
Love Bugs: Amorous golden tortoise beetles

The beetles are first born as lava after about 10 days. It must be said and actually look quite frightening (thing space horror films) compared to their adult forms. Initially they stay clumped together and the mother beetle returns regularly to feed them.

Golden tortoise beetles lava at Nakara Villas and Glamping
Golden Tortoise Beetles – Early Lava Stage

They then go through 9 different lava stages before emerging as full adults about 40 days after birth. Each of these stages seem to be weirder than the previous and moving further away from the finished article than nearer to it.

Late stage lava golden tortosie bettles seen at Nakara Villas and Glamping
Beauty & The Beast – Late Stage Lava

At which point they mainly spend their days eating leaves before entering their dormant stage in winter. And they do eat a lot! A single beetle seems able to eat a fair chink out of a morning glory tree leaf!

Hungry golden tortosie beetles seen at Nakara Villas and Glamping
Never Knowingly on a Diet: a Golden Tortoise Beetle Happily Munching

Whilst we worry about our morning glory trees, which are seemingly theuir absolute favourite food for breakfast, lunch and dinner, we are excited to have these amazing bugs with us at Nakara Villas and Glamping. Rather like their red ladybird cousins, they seem so friendly, happy and curious. They are joyous to see and it is still incredible to spot the flashes of gold as they fly around our garden!

thank you!

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