Kosoom is one of the few lady durian bosses. She manages her own durian farm as well as her neighbor’s Koh Chang durian farm. During the durian season, you can find her sorting a big pile of durians, mostly Chanee, but also a few of the older varieties, planted by her grandfather more than 50 years ago.
About Suan Lung Jit Farm
The durian trees on Suan Lung Jit had a very long journey before they found their home on this small, 15-rai farm in Dan Mai Village.
Back then, there was no car ferry to Koh Chang. Most goods from Bangkok still arrived on a wooden junk with sails, which traversed the coastline all the way from Bangkok. Kosoom’s grandfather worked on the ship, while his wife and children — including Kosoom’s mother — stayed home on Koh Chang caring for what was then a rubber tree farm.
One day, he returned home with some grafted baby durian trees from Nonthaburi, the province just north of Bangkok that used to be the most famous place in Thailand for durians. In the old days, everyone who wanted good quality durians bought their trees in Nonthaburi.
The baby trees were packed in clay pots and loaded onto the ship. The ship traveled down the Chao Phraya River from Bangkok to the Sea, then along the coast of Pattaya and Rayong.
Kosoom’s mother remembers that the boat looked something like this:
Seven days after departing Bangkok, they landed at the old ferry pier in Dan Mai Village — walking distance from Suan Lung Jit Farm.
Kosoom’s mother remembers their arrival. She was just 18 years old, placing the farm’s start date at around 1963.
Her grandfather had ordered the durians then most in vogue — Sao Chom, Thongyoi Chat, a lot of Chanee — as well a lot of oranges, rambutans, and pomelos.
The oranges died.
Eventually, so did Kosoom’s grandparents. They are buried on the farm.
But within a few years the family was selling durians at that same pier, wheeling the durians down from the farm in a push cart. Men with large gloves tossed the durians from the cart onto the wooden barge and then, on the mainland, loaded them into trucks to send to Mahanak or Talad Thai Market in Bangkok.
Now, everything has changed.
In 2007, the first car ferry arrived to Koh Chang and the pier moved from Dan Mai to Centre Point.
Around 2010, Chinese durian export factories began popping up in Chanthaburi. So today, when Kosoom harvests durian from her own farm or her neighbors, she loads them onto her pick-up truck and delivers them to Chanthaburi herself.
The Durian at Suan Lung Jit Farm
Like most farms on Koh Chang, Suan Lung Jit specializes in Chanee Durians.
But she still has some of the older varieties once popular in Nonthaburi, like Thongyoi Chat and Sao Chom.
On the days we visited, we were lucky enough to feast on Sao Chom and tree-dropped Chanee.
Sao Chom is among the oldest durians in Thailand. The name translates as “Desired Lady,” which is maybe why back in 1884 a poet wrote, “It’s like she’s inviting you to admire her and taste her fragrant flavor.” (Translation credit to Valerie S.)
On the outside, Sao Chom is unusually spiny, more like a Nockrachip — although that’s a confusing durian!
The Sao Chom we ate had been cut, Thai-style, and we waited 3 days after visiting Kosoom’s farm to open it. I knew it was ready when I could smell the sweet, powder-sugar aroma coming through the spines and the skin indented inward when I put my thumb between the spines and pressed.
Inside, the flesh was a pale, slightly rosey gold. The flesh was still a little firm to the touch, but the inside was very smooth, giving it a texture like mochi.
The Thai nobility used to praise durians like Sao Chom for their light, floral aroma, slight nuttiness, and overall very flowery flavor.
It made me feel like I was eating some kind of tropical pancakes drenched in maple syrup, rather than a durian. There was no bitterness, no garlicky-kick, just a fattiness like eating a donut covered in — yes — flowers.
The day we visited, Kosoom had just finished cutting her durians. Among the pile, she had saved us a tree-dropped Chanee. She knows we like Chanee best super freshly fallen, before the fatty, caramel-cream flesh has developed the metallic bitterness so intrinsic to Chanee.
Her Chanee trees old, and have the intensity and numbing sensation we are always craving.
But like most people in Thailand, she cuts most of her durians off the tree. Just to compare, she opened a cut-Chanee for us as well.
You can see the difference immediately.
Whereas the tree-cut Chanee is soft to the point that in the riper areas (like where it hit the ground) flesh just sloshes off the seed, the cut one is firm. You can easily pick it up and not get cream all over your finger tips.
But the flavor of a *very* fresh tree-drop and Kosoom’s cut-Chanee is actually fairly similar. It has this mild, salty nuttiness that I’ve only experienced in Koh Chang Chanee, with that potency of flavor we love. I think it’s because she only cuts her durians after the first few fruits have begun to fall, which means most of her cut-durians were almost ready to fall anyway.
Where to Stay Nearby Suan Lung Jit
Dan Mai is a quiet, peaceful little seaside village. There are no beautiful white-sand beaches on this side of Koh Chang. The coastline is rocky mangrove, but you can still enjoy a sparkling seaside sunrise.
The lack of beaches and bars means there are very few non-Thai tourists here, but if you’re craving a quiet space with durians within easy walking distance, you can still find several hotels and ocean-front bungalows.
Our current hide-out is Baan Chid Talay.
Baan Chid Talay has 8 bungalows facing the ocean in a fruit garden. There is a jackfruit tree, 2 mango trees, a mafai tree, and a variety of local wild lychee.
It’s run by Radha, a fashionable Thai lady who speaks good English. You can contact her for a booking on Facebook.
From Baan Chid Talay, you can take a small walking trail through the back of Kosoom’s Durian Farm, past Kireebunchorn Organic Durian Farm, to the main road.
How to find Suan Lung Jit
Suan Lung Jit has a small concrete stall on the Durian Block of Dan Mai Village — a solid 100 meters with durian stalls on either side.
Their stall is just beside the Kireebunchorn Organic Durian Farm & Cafe and Suan Lung Jit Farm is just behind the stall.
Use the map below ↓↓↓ or download our *Free* App to find Suan Lung Jit Farm and other Koh Chang Durian Farms.