A Month in Durian Heaven
The last four weeks as a volunteer have flown by here at the Bao Sheng Durian Farm. On the island of Penang in Malaysia, I am now preparing myself for the inaugural Dutch Fruit Festival!
Getting to Penang in Style!
There are plenty of options for getting to Penang. While flying to Penang airport may save time, I love taking the overnight sleeper train from Bangkok to Padang Besar. Not only is it cheaper at less than half the cost, but it has so much character. After clearing customs and immigration, the connecting train in Padang Besar left just a few minutes after I boarded. The next train wouldn’t have departed for another 2 hours!
A Surprising Conversation!
The train was quite crowded from Padang Besar to Butterworth but the time went by quickly as I observed strange faces, clothing, cultures and languages. While I don’t speak any Malay language, I guess my Thai has improved since first traveling there in 2006.
I recognized some Malaysian people speaking in the Thai language next to me on the train. As a caucasian in Malaysia I totally shocked them by starting up a very basic conversation with them, in Thai. To add to the surreality of the situation, they didn’t understand a word of the English language, so it was quite fun that we could effectively communicate via our common second language of Thai.
Traveling with Purpose!
On arrival at Butterworth train station I speed walked to the ferry and was the very last person let through before the ferry gates closed, saving me a 20-30 minute wait for the next ferry. Everybody else on my train missed the ferry.
After the 20 minute ferry and 2 short bus rides from Jeti to Bao Sheng via Balik Pulau, I arrived at the durian farm by 3pm as I had roughly planned.
After 6 or 7 years of traveling to Penang for the durian season, I was amazed how smoothly my travel connections had flowed, yet I also know my extensive travels have prepared me well for such trips.
A Durian Season to Remember!
It was to be an incredible durian season. I arrived on the 10th of June to absolute peak season. My guess is that over 400 durians per day were dropping on our farm. This was a unique season because the durians fell more rapidly than any year anyone could remember. We had absolute abundance for about 3 weeks from my arrival and then the durian supply slowed abruptly.
Thailand. Malaysia. Netherlands.
Following on from a wonderful 3 months (March to May) of the best of the Thai durian season, a month of hard farm work (collecting durians on steep hills, carrying compost and moving heavy baskets of durian around) at Bao Sheng Durian Farm has left me ready to leave the tropics for my next destination which will be my first visit to The Netherlands for the inaugural Dutch Fruit Festival from 13-15 July!
Heading to Holland
I’m excited to see a new country, culture and to make new friends. Fruit festivals tend to bring out the best in people and are often a significant catalyst for growth and personal development for those fortunate enough to attend. As one of the official presenters, I’m very keen to see this new festival beautifully unfold.
Dutch Fruit Festival Discount!
Looking for a discount for the Dutch Fruit Festival? Save yourself 19,95 € by using coupon code “GRANT”.