The best durian homestay experiences make you feel like you just went home for Christmas. There’s a big warm smile to greet you, a sense of tradition, and an Auntie who feeds you continuously on the best local foods and durian in Thailand.
Welcome to home-away-from-home at Baan Mai Hom.
About Baan Mai Hom Durian Homestay
The 61-year-old wooden house stands in the oldest part of Khiriwong Village, the part that survived the floods of 1988.
The house was built in 1959 by Pa Tin’s grandparents, fruit farmers who lived in a smaller house on the same property and saved up to build something new and bigger.
The name Baan Mai Hom literally means “the old wooden house that smells nice.”
And it does smell nice. The house is breezy compared to the stifling sun outdoors, wind wafting through the wooden cracks and open door and across the cool cement floor.
The rooms smell like old wood, clean sheets, and something cooking in the kitchen.
If you stay at Baan Mai Hom, there’s a fair chance you’ll end up in the kitchen with Auntie Tin and her antique pots and pans, making her famous Sour Mangosteen Curry.
Pa Tin is a pro at local traditional cuisine. She learned everything from her Mom and Grandma, who were durian and mangosteen farmers who made sure nothing on the farm was wasted.
When she opened the homestay in 2018, she quickly became famous as one of Khiriwong’s best local cooks. When we told her we were vegans, she didn’t even bat an eye before whipping up an epic local-style Gaeng Som.
Gaeng Som Mangkut Dip Pak Ruam
Sour curry made of unripe mangosteens and mixed vegetables
Pa Tin’s specialty is the classic southern curry with a twist — not one, but two species of mangosteen!
The star of the show is green, unripe mangosteens (G. mangostana). These mangosteens are so hard you have to use a knife to cut away the peel, and plenty of water to wash away the thick, bitter-tasting latex that oozes out of the peel.
Pa Tin chopped them into halves, seed and all, and since we are vegans she added some more local specialty vegetables – Sataw beans (Parkia speciosa) and
Gaeng Som is a spicy, brothy curry made sweet and sour with the addition of some kind of souring agent – usually lime or tamarind. But in Khiriwong, the souring agent of choice is Garcinia pedunculata.
Khaek Som (Garcinia pedunculata)
The thick peel of this fruit is shaved into thin chips and then dried in the sun.
You can see them shriveling on black tarps all around Khiriwong, especially in the flat spaces along the river bank.
Pa Tan started with the Gaeng Som curry paste, then dropped a handful of the Khaek Som mangosteen into the pot. After they’d softened, she added the green mangosteen (mangkut dip), the sataw beans, and the vegetable and cooked until they were a bright green and the mangosteen had turned sort of yellowish with the broth.
Nothing was overcooked. The mangosteen had done a lovely job of absorbing all that delicious spice, while staying crunchy, juicy, and slightly sweet.
I do love cooked Sataw, which is dense and a little crunchy, and the turmeric stem is porous, crunchy, and really absorbed the juices of the curry too.
Pa Tin’s green mangosteen gaeng som is probably the best rendition of this Southern Thai curry I’ve ever had.
She also served us one of the first truly bitter, alcoholic durians we’d tasted in Khiriwong.
This durian baan came from a tree over 100 years old, planted by Pa Tin’s grandparents.
One morning she took us out to the farm, a short motorcycle ride away (you could also walk), to show us the huge old trees. The farm is now cared for by her brothers, but Pa Tin loves to bring homestay guests.
There was not one, but many 100-year-old trees on the property.
They loomed above us, their immense trunks making us feel like elfin munchkins.
As we walked, we heard a resounding “thump!” out in the bushes, and Pa Tin hurried off into the trees after it.
She had a durian from one of the old trees!
We opened it on the spot, under the trees, as Pa Tin tried to fill our hands with mangosteens.
It was like Christmas morning with an Auntie who had too much candy to give away. Everyone was beaming.
Rooms at Baan Mai Hom Khiriwong Farmstay
The little house has 3 quaint rooms to choose from.
The only one that is air-conditioned is downstairs, the biggest room with a private sitting area (with couch).
Upstairs, you’ll find two more bedrooms.
The rooms upstairs are cooled by a fan. Though clean and neat, they are small and you’ll need to be cozy with your neighbor.
There is only one bathroom downstairs by the kitchen for the whole house to share, so if you have difficulty in the night with steep stairs you may need to ask for the ground-floor room.
How to Find Baan Mai Hom
Baan Mai Hom is down a narrow one-way alley in the old-town part of Khiriwong Village, on the opposite side of the river from the market.
It’s set back off the main road and away from the more touristy main drag, but just a 2-minute walk away from the bridge where all the Instagrammers take selfies.
Pa Tin’s rooms cost . The best way to make a booking is on the Baan Mai Hom Facebook Page, which is managed by Pa Tin’s daughter PJ. PJ is fluent in English.
Check out this post for Durian Waterfall Hikes nearby.