Chanthaburi annual fruit Festival

Starting this weekend, the eastern province of Chanthaburi will be holding its annual fruit festival. It's a specially happy time for kids as they can pluck rambutan, mangosteen or longan fresh from the trees and eat them too.

In fact you can start your trip from Klaeng in adjacent Rayong Province since a number of owners there also open their orchards to visitors. And if you drive a little further along Highway No.3 to Chanthaburi, you have more choice of fruits. It is advisable, however, to look for orchards that practice organic farming to ensure fruits you sample are free of chemicals and therefore pose no hazard to health.
"All the fruits in our orchards are grown based on organic farming. We don't use insecticide or chemical fertilisers," said Ukrit Kungsawanich, the owner of Vimol Farm in Klaeng, spread over 100 rai that he has been running for the past four years.
In the days of his grandfather it was typical of orchard owners to use chemicals to boost production, but since Ukrit took over the reins he has made it a policy not to use chemicals and rely exclusively on natural fertilisers.
In the first year he faced many problems because insects from nearby farms swarmed his orchards. In addition, farm workers more attuned to use of chemicals were not confident about the change in tack and feared loss of production.
It took him much convincing to enforce organic farming and win them over. Today, however, they agree that it's the better option. Sawaeng has worked at Vimol Farm for 30 years and he affirmed that the organic method was hazard free. "We breathe freely while walking our orchards and eat the fruits straight from the trees," he said.

Mangosteen trees at the farm are 50 years old and the fruit here tastes different from other farms. Its flesh is fragrant and the pulp soft and juicy with a citric tinge. Every yield is good and the deep reddish purple rind is soft and can be done away with a slight squeeze of the thumb.
Mangosteen is the queen of tropical fruits not only because of its delicious taste but it is also high in fibre, Vitamin C and anti-oxidants. It is good to eat it fresh and and it tastes even better if left to cool in the fridge for a while.
One visitor, Piyaporn, bought 30 kilogrammes of mangosteen at the farm. "It was very tasty. We (eight of them) finished five kilogrammes in 10 minutes and then returned for more," she said.
"The older the tree, the better the taste," said Ukrit, adding that some orchards claim that their trees are a century old and their mangosteen fetches higher price.
Apart from mangosteen, on offer are rambutan, longan, langsat and durian, while some orchards, especially in Chanthaburi, grow santol and salak.
Another organic orchard is Suan Sadetyad opposite Wat Khao Sukim.
"We don't use chemicals and we encourage visitors to eat all they can at our farm," said the woman at the entrance to the orchard that covers 200 rai.
Unfortunately, fruits on the trees at Suan Sadetyad still hadn't ripened. "Come back in May; the rambutan will be red and the durian would have ripened by then," said a pick-up driver who takes visitors around the orchard. "During May, we have around 1,000 visitors daily; it's a busy month."
"I enjoy eating the fruits fresh from the trees," said Kanokporn Kleebbua, an office worker who recalled her first trip to Chanthaburi a decade ago as a happy time when she scoured trees in the orchard for rambutan and mangosteen.
Rambutan has calcium, magnesium and potassium, essential elements for a balanced diet, she noted.
Although you can buy fruits in markets anywhere, visiting an orchard is like being on picnic. The idea is not just about sampling fruits, but also enjoying time together with friends and family members.


Car: From Bangkok take Highway No. 34 (Bang Na-Trat) or the Motorway to Chon Buri and connect to Highway No. 344 (Ban Bung-Klaeng). You can stop at Klaeng or move on to Highway No.3 and proceed to Chanthaburi.
Bus: Both air-conditioned and non air-conditioned buses depart the Eastern Bus Terminal (Ekkamai) for Chanthaburi daily, hourly, starting 4am until midnight. For more information, call the Transport Company (02-391-2504), Choet Chai Tour (02-391-2237), Phonnipha Tour (02-391-5179) or Supparat Tour (02-391-2331).
Fruit orchards: Many orchards open their doors to visitors in May. Some offer fruit buffet, while others allow you to taste fruits straight from the trees. The fruits are also sold in kilogrammes.

Here is a list:

- Vimol Farm in Klaeng, Rayong (081-867-8862). Mangosteen, longan, langsat, durian and rambutan are available in its orchard or at its shophouse on Sunthon Voharn Road. In Bangkok, fruits from Vimol Farm can be bought at Fuji Supermarket.
- Ban Sak Makrud in Klaeng (081-369-6300) offers fruit buffet and charges an entrance fee of 50 baht per person.
- Ban Khun-In Agricultural Community in Wang Chan, Rayong (081-377-1668). It sells rambutan, mangosteen and organic vegetables at its farm.
- Suan Khun Phaiboon in Muang district of Rayong (089-535-7008); the entrance fee is 99 baht/person.
- Suan Sadetyat in Tha Mai district, Chanthaburi (087-111-1335). The entrance fee is 40 baht.
- Suan Kulpat in Na Yai Am district, Chanthaburi (086-155-0222); fruit buffet is priced 50 baht per person.
- Suan Wongwit in Muang district of Chanthaburi (081-861-6258) charges no entrance fee and sells by kilogrammes.
For more information and list of fruit orchards in Rayong and Chanthaburi, visit การท่องเที่ยวแห่งประเทศไทย - จังหวัดจันทบุรี or the web site of Agricultural Extension Department at

Fruit markets: There are a number of fruit markets along Highway No.3 in Chanthaburi. The popular one is Talad Paksaeng where farmers drive their pick-up trucks loaded with fruits neatly stacked in baskets.
For just 100 baht you can buy six kilogrammes of mangosteen or seven to eight kilogrammes of rambutan, or three to four kilogrammes of longan, or three kilogrammes of salak. Accommodation: Seashell Village Resort (, 039-388-090), Had Sai Khao (039-369-051), Hat Soui Resort (039-369-111), Hat Tuen Kleunsoui Resort (039-369-262) and Hat Sai Thong Resort (039-369-080/1).

Bangkok Post