Where should I go and when?
There are 12 maps, one for each month of the year, that will show you approximately where the durian season is at any time of the year, or where you should go at any time of the year. Want to travel in November but not sure where to go? Flip to the November map, and you’ll see the locations with durian season highlighted in red.
Can you plan my trip for me?
Yes, I can! I can play your personalized durian travel agent! After a 15-30 minute Skype call, I’ll create your personalized itinerary based on your interests and will arrange your farm visits, overnight stays, ground transport, and if you like, a translator or guide, starting at the very low fee of $30 USD.
When are your tours again?
Now you can come with me! I’ll show you some of my favorite places and favorite durians in Malaysia and Thailand.
I am hosting three events the summer of 2016:
The Durian Tourist in Thailand (Information coming soon)
The Durian Tourist in Malaysia (Information coming soon)
I am also the co-host of the Bao Sheng Durian Festival, a celebration of health and fruits in the beautiful hillsides of Balik Pulau, Penang, Malaysia.
Where can I buy durian in my home country?
That’s a toughie! Sometimes I know, but a lot of times I don’t.
In general, you can find durians at your local Asian supermarket. I’ve compiled two city guides in the United States:
If you don’t have an Asian grocer where you live, you can always buy it online and have it shipped to you!
So where can I buy durian online?
Oh, lucky you, I just happen to be neurotic enough that I keep lists of such things!
See Where to Buy Durian Online to see a list of sites where you can buy durian online and have it shipped to you whether you live in Australia, China or Hong Kong, Europe, or the USA.
Where can I buy durian in Bangkok even when it’s not in season?
First, I just want to warn you that it’s going to be expensive, up to 200 or 300 baht per kilo (US $6ish), and the quality is not going to be that great. Finding really ripe durians is going to be nearly impossible.
BUT I know you just can’t wait, and you’re there, and any durian is better than none at all, right? So here’s what you do.
Where can I find durian in Kuala Lumpur all year?
I wrote a whole post just for you 🙂 3 Places To Find Durian All Year in Kuala Lumpur
Where can I find durian in Penang all year?
Penang normally has only one season per year in June and July, unlike the rest of Malaysia which has two seasons.
This means that if you visit Penang outside its short but sweet season, you will be eating durian brought in from another state like Perak or as far away as Pahang. This isn’t a bad thing — it’s still fresh durian, after all — but don’t be expecting top-notch, dreamy Red Prawns or punchy Capris in February.
Because Penang is so well known for its durian, you can find places catering to tourists any time of the year. Many of these will even have Thai durians. Try to avoid durians sold in Balik Pulau or along the highway between Batu Ferringhi and Balik Pulau as these will be overpriced and not very good.
How do I find a cheap place to stay in Southeast Asia?
Couchsurfing was pivotal to my early travels. The site connects you with a local host who, for free, will allow you to sleep on their couch or in their spare bedroom. Or you can also just connect with a local for an afternoon or evening durian hunt. It’s a great way to meet people and find a partner in durian crime, either way.
If you want to really immerse yourself in durian and local culture, you can volunteer on a farm. I haven’t done this in Southeast Asia, but I have worked on Wwoof farms other places. There’s separate WWOOF Thailand and WWOOF Malaysia and WWOOF Indonesia pages. Just type “durian” into the search bar and you’ll find a number of durian farms where you can volunteer.
I frequently use this to find hostels and cheap hotels, even in rural areas. A surprising number of hotels in small cities across SE Asia are listed on Agoda, and it makes payment easy (no bargaining, no hassles!). Even if I don’t book through Agoda, it’s at least a good starting point to haggle.
We started using Airbnb the summer of 2014, when long term travel was starting to wear us down and we just wanted some basic things…like a kitchen. So far I love getting to stay in neighborhoods and apartment buildings instead of in hotels. Because it lets people invite you into their homes, there are also a few durian farms now listed on Airbnb.
VegVisits is a new hosting platform that has been called “The Vegan Airbnb.” The difference is not only can you find places to sleep, but places just to prepare a meal for a few hours too! The site is currently most useful for American and European stays, but there are listings from Bangkok, Bali, and Vietnam too.
How do I get there?
Air Asia offers most of the best deals for flying between Malaysia and Thailand and even to Australia, so I’ve ended up signing up for their BIG points program. If you book with Agoda, you can earn points toward your next flight!
I’ve used Skyscanner almost exclusively to find good travel deals since 2010. Recently I’ve started playing with some other search sites, but I haven’t found one I like as much as Skyscanner. Try out the Destination search function to “Everywhere.”
I only realized Uber existed in Asia this past summer, and it is AWESOME. I frequently used it on Penang to get out to Bao Sheng’s Farm, and was thrilled to find that it works in Singapore and Bangkok too. If you click here to use this link, you and I will both get a FREE ride!
What should I take with me to Asia?
As someone who lives and works out of my bag for most of the year, you can see what I just packed (Jan, 2016) to get back on the road. What’s in my bag?
If you’re long in durian-land, you may find yourself getting depressed about the state of the rainforest and the sad future for the animals and people who live there. Here are a few ways you can give back and use your durian powers to help the world become a better place.
Now wait, why is a vegan recommending a charity that primarily distributes livestock? Because Heifer International now distributes trees too to provide families with shade, food, and fuel. Now you can buy a family a small fruit or timber orchard for only $10. In Souheast Asia Heifer is active in Cambodia, Vietnam and the Philippines.
What I like about this organization is that they take a broad view of creating a healthy habitat for humans that acknowledges the role of forested areas and trees in human health and wellness. In addition to providing safe housing and sanitary conditions, in some areas they also provide trees for people to plant around their houses . They also replant trees to provide the timber needed to build the habitat for people.
You can donate your time, building materials, or money.
OFI offers short term (3 weeks) and long term volunteer opportunities to work in Central Kalimantan with the orangutans, but you can also help from home by volunteering to do website work, helping organize campaigns, and other online tasks. Here’s the Volunteer Page. They of course also accept Donations.
For the past few years I’ve nominated the Rainforest Trust for Project For Awesome, and last year I filed it under the “Health” category because to me protecting forested areas is a matter of human health — protecting us from landslides and flooding, water pollution, malaria-carrying mosquitoes, weather changes, and more. Learn more by watching the video I made with my friend Megan or checking out their What We Do page.