Lao man brings country’s landscape down under

One man took the landscape of Laos to Australia

It can be hard to feel at home when living abroad. This is especially true if you’re moving to a location that has a different climate and landscape. Tan Southideth was born and raised in Laos, but he moved to Australia more than two decades ago. However, he hasn’t forgotten what he loves about his home country and even had the audacity to bring some of it to his new place of residence.

In 1997, he purchased a swamp in the western outskirts of Sydney and has spent nearly 20 years renovating the 20,000 square metre plot of land into what he told the Sunday Telegraph in Australia was his “magical Asian Oasis”. This included the creation of a waterfall, bamboo gardens, Asian-style rock sculptures and even a cave.

In order to keep things authentic, he sourced the materials used for his garden from Laos. And while it has taken countless hours to create, the finished product is not only one he loves, but reminds him of Laos, the country of his birth.

“My passion is to live in and around nature,” Southideth was quoted as saying by the newspaper. “In the past … I lived with the plants and the river so I created this as somewhere I could remember (that).”

Leaving home for a second time

Despite all of his hard work on the property, the man known by locals as Mr. Pond is ready to move on and let someone else enjoy his handy landscape work. He’ll bring in a tidy profit in the process. He purchased the land for AUD260,000 (USD194,492) and the now completed estate is valued at more than AUD 5 million (USD 3.7 million).

A local agent has said there is already significant interest in the property with buyers looking to acquire gardens and other features that would normally require a trip to Laos to see. When the time comes to sell, it will be a bittersweet day for Southideth.

“It’s very peaceful,” he said. “Every day there is like a holiday.”