About Baan Mai Khed (ไม้เค็ด), a Prachinburi Durian Farmstay
In 2002, Khun Eed Chamnong built a large rambling country house on his wife’s 20-rai (7.9 acre) durian farm in Prachinburi province.
He was retiring from the government service in Bangkok and it was time to get out of the city. As the son of durian farmers in Nonthaburi who had sold their land to a housing development, he wanted a garden of his own somewhere. Somewhere without the pressure from housing developments.
The best option, he decided was to move to his wife’s durian farm in Prachinburi province, about 2 hours northeast of Bangkok, and build a lodge and homestay.
His adult children had lived in Bangkok all their lives, but when they found out about their parent’s plans, they decided to quit their jobs, escape the city life and follow him.
Today they all live together in the big country house, and the farmstay portion is run by son Golf, his wife Nok and their two teenage daughters, Tip and Top – who both speak a little English and are great with Google Translate.
“The air is better here,” Nok told me by Google Translate when I asked her how she decided to make the leap to the countryside over 20 years ago.
It seems like they’ve found a life that makes them happy.
The farm stretches on all sides of the farmhouse, tidy rows of longkongs, rambutans, mangosteens, kratons, and durians, swathed in plastic to protect them from squirrels and other pesticides without the use of chemicals.
The majority of the trees are older than the farmhouse. They belonged to Golf’s maternal great-grandmother, and some of the durian trees are aged up 70-years old.
There’s also some old oddities here and there around the farm, leftovers from another time.
Rambutan Ngok Gali เงาะ กะหรี่
One of the trees that caught my eye was ramutan tree covered in a golden cascade of fruits. They looked bright yellow from afar, but on closer inspection where blushed with yellow.
Golf cracked one open for us. Inside it was like a slim rambutan, a little bit dry and easily separating from the seed.
It wasn’t, to be honest, the best rambutan we’d ever had. Which is probably why the tree was still full of fruits instead of harvested for the market.
Kraton กระท้อน (Sandoricum indicum)
Some of the oldest trees on the property are 12 very old Kraton trees toward the back of the house. The trees were gnarled and squat, with fat trunks. Nok said they were around 40 years old.
Kraton is the same as Santol in the Philippines, but in Thailand they have several improved varieties.
While standing under the tree, Nok opened several Pui Fai variety (พันธุ์ปุยฝ้าย).
It was among the best of this type of fruit I’d ever had – like if Sweetarts ever invented a marshmallow. It was also fairly meaty, with enough flesh around it you could actually bite into it and chew on something instead of just sucking the fibers stuck to the seed.
They also grow E-la, which is rounder.
Having started to snack in the field, we headed back to the farmhouse to get our real fruit buffet started.
Prachinburi Durian & Fruit Buffet
The majority of visitors at Mae Khed Prachinburi. Durian Farmstay are actually day trippers there to wander the orchard taking photos, then settle into the cool shadow of the house to eat the famous quality of Prachinburi Monthong.
The eating area is set up in an open-air patio beneath the house. Even in the heat of the day, it’s shady and cool.
There Nak and Golf have set up a “Durian Bar.”
Here customers sit on bar stools on one side of the table, while Golf and Nok dish out durians on the other, chatting all the while like they were making sushi or cocktails instead of whacking open durians.
Customers have access to a free-flow of rambutans, mangosteens, and longkongs, so we helped ourselves.
The longkong was especially good, still warm from the pre-harvest sun.
Most people munch a piece or two of durian, then carry the rest away in boxes to share with family and friends.
Yours truly, as overnight guests of the Farmstay, ate everything on the spot. (Durian is not included in the overnight stay).
Since all the durian on their farm is cut-harvested (no tree dropped), I was hoping for some very late-harvested durian that would creamy, sticky and nutty.
We had spotted some of the other guests munching some Chanee that looked great, so we decided to ask for some to try. Nok pulled out a little bitty one that surprisingly had 6 sections instead of the normal 5.
They told us it came from 30 year old trees. It was definitely fully mature, the flesh creamy and sticky, but fairly mild and vanilla-ey for Chanee.
Monthong from a 70-year-old tree
I was already full of Chanee, but then Nok mentioned that their Monthong trees are 70-years-old.
Seventy- years. My ears perked up and we decided to go for just 1 more piece of durian. Plus, Prachinburi is famous for good quality Monthong thanks to the drier climate.
The Monthong was a nicer one, smoother and meatier (less stringy/uneven texture) than a lot of Monthong I’ve had in Thailand. If you’re used to eating durian in Thailand, you should be pretty happy with the quality.
Dinner at Mai Khed Homestay
As overnight guests, we were given the opportunity to order dinner. And not just any dinner – a fancy fruit-themed dinner using products from the orchard.
We had Yam Mangosteen Salad, a spicy Durian Red-Curry with coconut milk, and a side of Khanom Jeen (thin rice noodles) and vegetables.
Everything was better than really good. It was delicious!
Even though we were still full from all the durians, we cleaned the plates.
If you order the durian curry, do make sure to get the yam mangosteen as well. There is something about the slight acid from the mangosteen and yam dressing, almost like an acar or pickle, that balanced really nicely with the fiery curry and helped reduce the burning sensation.
Overall, it was a memorably good meal.
The Room at Mai Khed Prachinburi Durian Farmstay
The big house has an extra kitchen, living area and patio just for guests, and rooms are spacious with a small personal balcony looking out over the farm.
The bed is a mattress on the floor, and there’s no hot water, but the Wifi is fast and the Aircon worked well. Simple but quality.
How to Visit Mai Khed Prachinburi Durian Farmstay
Mai Khed Farmstay is located about 10km north of Prachinburi City in Mai Khed District.
From Bangkok, it takes about 2 hours by car. You can actually travel by train as well, as the Eastern Line passes the Prachinburi Train Station.
Book with Mai Khed Farmstay by Facebook or by calling 0952535982 (or add them on Line).
Donald YAP says
hi lindsay, left Hanoi 2/18/2020, to LIMA 3/9/2020– national lockdown 3/10-4/6 in ICA, the POM capital
of Peru. the municipal market was 90% closed but next-door mercado frutas sold 1-kg granada- 45cents/kg. juicy & sweet, 2-3/day.
now in Hanoi 4/27-7/25 — bought wet, overpriced Si6 durian from the south.
just returned from 10 days in Saigon– stayed in a govt. guesthouse and searched all districts for better and cheaper. cancelled MyTho trip. wife’s friend bought several kg’s skinned durian– drier, sweeter,
cheaper, from a reliable wholesaler…..for BF, L, D.
flying VietJet to KL in early JULY? will look for durian markets in the suburbs, not in Bukit Bintang.
read the May 20 Durian update in TheStar online.
red dragonfruit ripen June-August in my backyard.