Massive durians become popular tourist attraction

A man tries to lift two giant durians, weighing 12kg and 13kg, at an orchard in Wang Nam Khieo district of Nakhon Ratchasima. Prasit Tangprasert

Nakhon Ratchasima: Tourists have flocked to an orchard to see a couple of giant durians -- weighing 12kg and 13kg -- in Wang Nam Khieo district.

News about the giant durians attracted many visitors including Chatchawal Wongjorn, chairman of the Nakhon Ratchasima chamber of commerce, and Phongthep Malachasing, president of the Wang Nam Khieo tourism promotion association, to the orchard owned by Sunant Puethongthong.

The durians are significantly larger than an average durian, which weigh around 5-6kg.

Visitors posted pictures and selfies taken with the giant durians, making the Hong Sri Thong orchard in tambon Thai Samakkhi an instant crowd-pulling destination.

Mr Sunant took visitors around his orchard, which also grows other fruits including lychee, longgan and mangoes.

He said giant durians of the monthong variety had developed from average-sized fruit, and they "did not stop growing".

Mr Sunant said he bought the 12-rai land near Khao Saladdai mountain where he set up the orchard 15 years ago. But it was three years later that he planted the first batch of durian trees which only yielded the fruits this year. He now grows about 120 durian trees.

However, his orchard is not producing enough durians for sale on the spot as the fruits for the current season have been pre-ordered.

Orders have also been placed for next year's harvest, he added.

Mr Phongthep, meanwhile, said tambon Thai Samakkhi is home to many agro-farms and orchards due to its fertile soil. They are known to produce quality organically-grown vegetables and fruits.

According to some experts, durians were not native to the district. They were brought in from other provinces to cater to increasing demand.