Ever wanted to get a bird’s eye view of a durian orchard? Now you can fly through a commercial durian orchard on a durian zipline adventure!
In 2020, I drove by Durian Land every day on my way from Chanthaburi City to EcoFarm in Makham, where I was staying. The park was new, having opened in 2019 while we were away in Malaysia.
The giant lettering right off the main highway popped out, screaming intrigue: DURIAN LAND.
I knew I had to wait. In 2020, everything touristy was very much closed. In 2021, it still wasn’t open for visitors. But finally, in 2022 Durian Land re-opened and we were able to find out what promises lay beyond the lettering.
About Durian Land
Durian Land is an adventure park set on an enormous commercial durian orchard. It’s one of the largest commercial farms in Chanthaburi, extending 1600 rai or 632 acres throughout the entirety of the Khao Phra Mae valley.
It’s an incredibly scenic place, with sweeping views both west over Chanthaburi City and east over the durian lands where a fresh breeze from this side of the Sabab Mountain kept us comfortable.
Durian Land includes an Airbnb-style accommodations (seen here on the far distant hill), a Durian coffee shop and cafe , and a Durian Zipline and obstacle course.
But we didn’t know that yet. And as we embarked on our Durian Land Adventure, we really had no idea what we were in for. There just wasn’t that much information online about Durian Land.
I signed us up for the short course, although afterwards we wished we’d done the longer course because we were having too much fun.
We were the only guests, and after suiting up in harness, helmet and gloves in the office we hopped in a durian-stickered tourism trolley to roll deeper into the valley and up the hill into an overwhelmingly huge orchard.
Tree after tree after tree passed, an unending column of Monthong. Then suddenly our driver trundled off the paved road and into the durian orchard.
I’d never actually seen a tourism trolley off-road before, especially not on a hillside.
We’d arrived to the durian zipline course, a series of cables strung between, over and through the durian trees. In one case, a tree had been partially hacked out so we didn’t crash directly into the spiky durians hanging on all its other branches.
I could see that this was going to be a fairly tame flight compared to a zipline course I did once in Hawaii, but the setting was beautiful and there were nearly ripe Monthong and Chanee on all the trees.
I’d never flown through the durian tree tops before!
We had 2 guides even though we were just 2 people – one in front and one in back. They clipped our harnesses into a central leader cable before we’d even left the ground.
I felt very safe. Then our guide winked, jumped off the platform, and dangled upside down as he careened through the trees.
This was going to be fun!
As novices to ziplining, we definitely did not have the confidence to turn upside down, but our guides played tricks and showed off their skills.
At one point, the lead guide paused, dangling in mid-air, to check the ripeness of a swelling Monthong. I was hoping he would harvest it right there on the spot, but it wasn’t quite ready and he continued on. If he had, it really would have been a Durian Zipline!
We were done in about a half hour, having had a good time.
After handing back our harnesses, we climbed into the durian trolley and expected that the experience was over.
As our guides didn’t speak English, we were surprised to continue trundling up the winding hill toward the golden statue of Phra Mae. I assumed we were going there to take some pictures from the hillside. Then we rounded the hill and discovered a durian cafe on the other side.
I was even more surprised to find out they were selling Musang King durian.
Fresh Musang King durian and Thai coffee? What had started as a “Let’s find out what’s behind the signboard” was becoming a very pleasant Durian Date.
The price was also really good. Musang King can sell for 400-500 baht per kilo, so we were excited by the 250 baht/kg ($15.92 USD/lb) price tag. To put that in perspective, Musang King in Malaysia usually sells for at least Rm40 ($20.90 USD/lb).
We quickly picked out 1 small fruit for 300 baht and headed inside to the Durian Cafe.
Did you catch that? We went INSIDE. To eat our durian.
And yes, they do have air conditioning. This may be the only air-conditioned building in all of Thailand were durian is 100% okay.
In fact, at the counter they were selling chilled Monthong and Musang King on plates as well as a menu of smoothies, lemonades, Frappucinos, Americano, and espresso.
There were several “durian” items on the menu, including Durian Waffles and Durian Ice Cream Affogato, but nothing vegan. Richard went with an espresso.
The cafe was spacious with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the vast orchard and its neat rows. We settled at a table by the window and looked out with awe.
It was one of the most beautiful and comfortable places I’ve ever eaten durian, looking out over the the tidy green rows of healthy trees with the hilltops rimmed in natural forest.
We’ve seen a lot of durian farms, but few on this scale. It was a grounding moment, seeing that forever march of trees and remember that, 150 years ago, tigers and Asian rhinoceros roamed free around feet of the Sabab mountains.
But as durian grows in popularity around the world, so too must durian orchards grow to keep up with the demand.
The presence of Musang King is another sign that the global durian market is shifting. Musang King originates in Malaysia and is both the most popular among Malaysians and also the main export variety.
At Durian Land, the Musang King had been cut-harvested, rather than being allowed to tree-drop. It gave it a more firm texture and a peanut-buttery sweetness. Since the durians were from young trees anyway, I don’t think the cut-harvest method really affected the flavor at all.
It was still fatty and rich tasting, with a pleasant chocolate nuttiness. It actually paired nicely with the espresso, which lent a deeper bitterness.
For any Malaysians questioning whether this was truly Musang King, check out the seed! It had the same flat, darker, strangely ridged seeds that we always see from Musang King in Malaysia.
Although it’s a little bit weird to see a Malaysian durian in Chanthaburi, I can’t say that we’re unhappy about it all! 😋 So yums.
With durian under our belts we walked up the hill from the cafe to have a look at the golden statue we’d been seeing from a distance ever since entering Durian Land.
It’s the image of the Buddhist earth goddess Phra Mae Thorani, wringing her clean hair to bring water and fertility to the land and chase away demons of temptation.
We don’t have any idea who the owner (or owners) of Durian Land is, but having the presence of Phra Mae Thorani overlooking the farms gives a sense of soul, and a sense that this farm is not just a financial investment by a board of bankers but a place where a dream is forming.
If you’re coming to Chanthaburi, we would definitely recommend visiting Durian Land to have a fun adventure on the durian zipline, to eat good durian in a beautiful place, and most importantly at all, to get a sense of what commercial-scale farming looks like and feels like when done with a good intention.
How to get to Durian Land
Durian Land is in Makham, just north of Chanthaburi City on Hwy 317. Those huge durian letters on the highway make it unmissable.
For now, the park is only open on weekends and Thai holidays from 10AM to 5:30PM, however they may open every day in the future.
Contact them on their Facebook Page.
For more things to do in Chanthaburi, check out our Chanthaburi Page.