“This island has everything,” my friend told me. “You’re not even gonna believe it.”
I didn’t believe it. Which is why we waited until nearly the end of the 2020 Thailand Durian Season to cross the South China Sea to check out Koh Phangan Durian Farms.
And she was right. I still can’t believe Koh Phangan Durian is so good.
About Thong Nang Village
If you drive just 15 minutes up the hill from Ban Tai toward the intersection to Than Sadet Waterfall it’s a different world from the elephant-pants-pachouli-oil-vegan-cafe-hipster-farang hang out of coastal Koh Phangan.
A world that feels suddenly, authentically, small-village Thai.
Thong Nang is small in population, but sparsely spread out along the only road. You’ll find a few houses selling durian, a convenience shop, a small restaurant, and a single house where you can stay the night called the Thong Nang Villa.
Lung Jun’s Koh Phangan Durian Garden
Uncle Jun’s little house is just 50 meters from the intersection to Than Sadet Waterfall.
He’s is 81 years old.
His durian farm, with around 20 trees, sits just steps down a footpath by the coconut tree, down in a small valley below the house.
The land was purchased by Lung Jun’s father around 40 years ago.
When the family took over the property, they found a couple of mature durian trees are planted there.
So while they’re not sure how old these trees are, they think at least 60 years old because of how big the trees were when they bought the property. The family immediately planted more durians, meaning the trees on Lung Jun’s farm range from 60 to 35 years old. That’s some old trees.
And you durian lovers know what old trees mean 🤤
Today, the farm is managed by Uncle Jun’s nephew, Pi Tuk, who returned from working on Koh Samui to enjoy the simple village life of Thong Nang and help his uncle.
“The air is more clean here,” he said. “Here we have everything, why would I go back?”
Koh Phangan Durian Buffet
Pi Tuk used to work in tourism on Koh Samui, and gladly hosts groups for Durian Buffets on the farms. He charges 300-350 baht person for an all-you-can-eat durian experience, booked ahead of time by contacting him on Facebook.
Otherwise you can buy durian per kilogram, depending on availability. Some wholesalers usually come buy and clean them out around 10AM, so either be early or warn Pi Tuk you’re coming.
The farm has 4 varieties, shown below.
Durian Baan, 60-Year-Old Trees
The oldest trees on he property mystery trees on the farm, leftover from the original owners. These are durian baan, planted by seed.
We managed to taste the Durian Baan in the morning, when it was super fresh and green. It was milky and slightly bitter, with the gaseous spearmint aroma that I personally love in durian. However it wasn’t overly sweet, so if you like sweet durians this might not be your piece of durian.
The family sells both cut-harvested and tree-dropped Chanee, but being a Chanee-lover myself we of course went tree-dropped!
The Chanee was awesome. Big, luxurious pods that nearly fell apart while we carefully pulled them out of the shell. The taste was like honey mixed with something delightfully bitter. One of the most excellent Chanee’s I’ve had this 2020 season (and this season has been the Year of Chanee for us 🤣 It’s been a LOT of Chanee while we’ve been hiding out from the Pandemic in Thailand).
Ganyao Song Huat
But even if the Chanee was awesome, it was the Ganyao that stood out.
Holy Smokes. Holy Durian.
Holy Ganyao Song Huat.
With it’s thick, greyish-colored shell, slightly lop-sided heart-shape, and gorgeous yellow flesh, this was a a stand-out Ganyao experience that deserves another picture.
So here ya go.
The difference bin quality between this Ganyao and others we’ve had around Thailand was the smoothness and stickiness of the flesh. Whereas Ganyao is often powdery-dry, like trying to eat confectionary sugar, this was like full-on nut butter with a sweetness that was more caramel than powdered.
I will look for this kind of Ganyao every time.
Visiting Thong Sadet Waterfall
Uncle Jun’s Farm is just 50 meters before the turn-off to the Than Sadet Waterfall.
This many-level, rocky stream shooting down the mountain toward Than Sadet Bay has been famous for hundreds of years.
When King Rama V visited in July of 1898, he docked his steam ship in the Than Sadet Bay and was rowed ashore to meet with villagers from Thong Nang. He swam in the Than Sadet waterfalls and left his initials carved on a rock nearby.
Did he also eat durian here? The royal chronicles don’t say (we definitely checked).
But July would be a good time for durian, so let’s just imagine the King of Thailand was once here munching epic quality Chanee too (July would be early season 😉).
Visiting Haad Than Sadet Beach
From Uncle Jun’s Farm, it’s a 3.2 km drive down the winding hill to the Haad Than Sadet Beach.
This is technically a National Park, so you’ll need to pay a 100 baht per day entrance fee to access the beach.
Here you’ll find a quiet lagoon with gentle turquoise waters and a few Thai fisherman boats bumping against the white sand.
There are two resorts on this beach to spend the night.
Where to Stay Nearby Uncle Jun’s Durian Farm
If you want to stay inThong Nang Village, ask Pi Tuk about the only house for rent.
Otherwise, your closest options are on Than Sadet Beach.
- Plaa’s Than Sadet Resort is on the far right of the beach, with bungalows on the cliffs overlooking the bay
- Mai Pen Rai Bungalows are a more budget option next to Plaa’s.
Getting to Uncle Jun’s Farm
Uncle Jun’s farm is on the right-hand side of the road, just 100 meters before the round-about junction to Than Sadet Waterfall.
It’s a small house with a tree out front, and the durians piled on a table. It’s difficult to miss if you’re driving by.
If you want to make any bookings, you can do so by contacting Pi Tuk on Facebook.