The Durian Tourist's Guide To Thailand - Review

There is a sensuous allure in the creamy, sweet, slightly bitter and undulating texture of  the durian.
There is a sensuous allure in the creamy, sweet, slightly bitter and undulating texture of the durian. | Source

"To eat durians is a new sensation worth a voyage to the East to experience."

This line by the famous 19th century British naturalist and explorer Alfred Russel Wallace caught my attention as I opened Lindsay Gasik's first-of-a kind book "The Durian Tourist's Guide To Thailand". Above this quote is a picture of a mouth-watering half-opened durian fruit that seems to invite you to join Lindsay and her husband Rob on an epic durian-eating adventure through tropical jungles, remote durian orchards, durian plantations, quaint villages, and bustling cities of Thailand. I was completely captivated. - hook, line and sinker with durian as the bait!

King of Fruits

Revered as the "King of Fruits" by millions of people of Southeast Asia.
Revered as the "King of Fruits" by millions of people of Southeast Asia. | Source

The Durian Tourist

Reading the guidebook is like being on the same durian adventure with Lindsay who constantly delights and enlightens you with her fresh insights and experiences on the durian popularly acclaimed by the local people as the "King of Fruits".

In my 36 years of involvement with the durian, first as an agricultural extension worker and then as a durian blogger, I can confidently say that Lindsay is one of the most enthusiastic and knowledgeable durian writer I have ever come across.

Formidable Army of Thorny Fruits

Tough and intimating outside, creamy and delicious inside. Heaps of durians to whet your appetite.
Tough and intimating outside, creamy and delicious inside. Heaps of durians to whet your appetite. | Source

Wallace Travels In Southeast Asia

A map from The Malay Archipelago shows the physical geography of the archipelago and Wallace's travels around the area. The thin black lines indicate where Wallace travelled, and the red lines indicate chains of volcanoes.
A map from The Malay Archipelago shows the physical geography of the archipelago and Wallace's travels around the area. The thin black lines indicate where Wallace travelled, and the red lines indicate chains of volcanoes. | Source

Modern Day Durian Explorers

In 2012, a young American couple from Oregon unintentionally followed Wallace's footsteps to the East. However, they landed in the Philippines instead of the Malay Archipelago. Here, they ate their first fresh durian and promptly declared:

"We were hooked after the first bite, because durian is that amazing".

This epic encounter by Lindsay Gasik and Robert Culclasure is similar to Wallace's journey to the Malay Archipelago to eat durians about 160 years ago. They were smitten with delight!

Lindsay and Rob were so obsessed with their new found love for the durian that they traveled through nine durian-producing countries in the region and spent 12 months subsisting on this delicious and nutritious fruit.

Since then, they have added four more countries to their impressive list. Lindsay and Rob are truly the modern day Durian Explorers of the world.

Durians All In A Row

In the common durian (Durio zibethinus), the tree bears fruits on branches which are big enough to support the weight of the fruits.
In the common durian (Durio zibethinus), the tree bears fruits on branches which are big enough to support the weight of the fruits. | Source

Durian Ambassadors On The World Wide Web

They share all their durian encounters and experiences with other durian lovers and travelers on their travel blog "yearofthedurian.com" and on facebook.

In doing so, they also entertain and educate those who are curious and new to this controversial "smells like hell but tastes like heaven" fruit.

Water Transport For The King and Queen Of Fruits

A Thai durian vendor selling his precious durian and mangosteen fruits from a small boat along one of the many water-ways of Thailand.
A Thai durian vendor selling his precious durian and mangosteen fruits from a small boat along one of the many water-ways of Thailand. | Source

The Durian Is The Most Popular Fruit In South-east Asia

The common durian - Durio zibethinus L. - is a major icon so central in the life of the people living in Southeast Asia.
The common durian - Durio zibethinus L. - is a major icon so central in the life of the people living in Southeast Asia. | Source

Introducing The New Tourist!

Taking the cue from their fellow durian lovers and readers, they came up with their first travel guide-book: "The Durian Tourist's Guide - Thailand".

Lindsay and Rob want to help "people with durian on the brain" to enjoy the sensations of this seasonal tropical fruit right at its door-steps in Thailand - the main durian producer and exporter in the world.

They want to help travelers plan and go on a unique durian adventure that combines eating durians and enjoying an exotic holiday.

It's a gastronomic and cultural adventure that traverses 16 durian-producing provinces in Thailand.

Delicious To The Last Bite

Durians have different "flavors ranging from vanilla or butterscotch custard to milk chocolate, caramelized onions, or even a sulfurous egg-iness" . Quote from Lindsay
Durians have different "flavors ranging from vanilla or butterscotch custard to milk chocolate, caramelized onions, or even a sulfurous egg-iness" . Quote from Lindsay | Source

Writer With Unique Information On The Durian and Travel

Lindsay's durian stories are true encounters and experiences with this remarkable fruit, not only in the farms where they grow, but also in its natural surroundings - the hot and humid tropical forests.

She is a travel blogger, photographer, fruit and health devotee, eco-conscious advocate and an avid supporter of sustainable agricultural practices.

Lindsay and Rob have been featured in NPR's The Salt, The Smithsonian Blog "Off The Road", ABC Australia Radio, The Mail Tribune, The New Paper, and Phnom Penh Post.

Bringing A Fresh New Perspective To The Durian

Unlike the many regurgitated accounts of the durian on the Internet, Lindsay, as the principal author, offers a fresh new perspective on the durian and a genuine respect for this spiky fruit.

Lindsay writes with passion. Her writing style is that of the modern genre with "an element of geekdom, (and) a scattering of hippie remnants".

However, her text is direct and her observations are refreshingly candid, sometimes funny, always intelligent and engaging. She fills you with helpful details and tips that zoom in on the essentials and practicalities every traveler needs. And, along the way, she throws in some unique information on the durian and the local people.

Fruit of Sustenance

Durian is nutritious! Durian pulp or flesh is high in carbohydrate, protein, minerals and vitamins. Lindsay and Rob ate durians for one whole year and lived to tell their story.
Durian is nutritious! Durian pulp or flesh is high in carbohydrate, protein, minerals and vitamins. Lindsay and Rob ate durians for one whole year and lived to tell their story. | Source

Main Gateway To Thailand and Its Durian

A markerBangkok, Thailand -
Bangkok, Thailand
[get directions]

Bangkok is one of the world's top tourist destination cities. It is the main gateway through which visitors arrive in Thailand. Bangkok's multi-facete

Americans Love To Eat Durians!

Did you know?

Thailand exported 5493 tonnes of frozen durian in 1997 of which 60% went to the USA and the rest to Canada and other European countries.


Source:

Department of Internal Trade, Thailand
http://www.dit.go.th/agriculture/durian/situate.htm

Thailand - A "haven for tourists with durian on the brain"

Why Thailand?

The choice is obvious - Thailand is the main durian producer and exporter in the world!

It is also well-known among durian growers and durian scientists as the "cradle for durian cultivation and development".

Thailand has about 136,800 ha planted with durian and in 1996 produced about 950,000 tonnes or about 60% of the world's total durian production. The other durian-producing countries are Malaysia and Indonesia.

In Thailand, about 85% of the harvest is consumed locally as fresh durian with 10% exported as fresh or frozen durian and the remaining 5% processed into paste or powder.

Durians Multifaceted Forms

Durians of different shapes, sizes and flavors to tickle your senses
Durians of different shapes, sizes and flavors to tickle your senses | Source

Durian Domination!

Durian is a seasonal fruit with one (sometimes two) fruiting season lasting for about a month each year. The durian trees need a dry spell to initiate flowering. Flowers are usually cross-pollinated by fruit bats and other insects and It takes about three to four months for the fruits to mature. The fruits ripen just before or at the beginning of the rainy season.

In Thailand, almost all matured durian fruits are harvested by hand before they ripened and send to the big cities, especially Bangkok - the main gateway for travelers visiting Thailand.

During the harvest season, enormous heaps of durian dominate the road sides, water-ways, fruit-stalls, markets, supermarkets, bus-stations, etc. You will surely encounter "the king of tropical fruits" in every nook and cranny of the city.

But Thailand is a big country (198,115 square miles). So, when and where do you go to eat the best quality and most delicious Thai durian?

Lindsay has all the right answers! Let her be your durian guide!

Durian Flowers Are Beautiful and Fragrant

  Flower clusters appear on branches and it takes about 90 to 140 days for the fruit to develop and ripen.
Flower clusters appear on branches and it takes about 90 to 140 days for the fruit to develop and ripen. | Source

Watch "Thurian" In Thai with English Subtitles

"A sort of Lonely Planet for all the durian tourists out there"

The Durian Tourist begins with Lindsay introducing you to a different side of Thailand "left virtually untouched by the tourism industry and its vices". Here, in the lush countryside the durian grows best in its "diverse and multifaceted" forms.

Reading further you will get a feel for when and where to go and how you can plan a durian adventure that includes eating all the durian your heart desires as well as get to enjoy the sights and sounds of an exotic holiday in Thailand.

Most Valuable Commodity

Strong winds or rains can dislodged immature fruits from the branches. Immature fruits are tied to the branches to prevent them from falling to the ground .
Strong winds or rains can dislodged immature fruits from the branches. Immature fruits are tied to the branches to prevent them from falling to the ground . | Source

Getting Close and Personal With The Durian

The Durian Tourist is neatly organized into four main sections - Durian Basics, Durian Practicalities, Thailand Travel Tips, and Regional Guides.

1. Durian Basics

In this beginning section of the guide-book, Lindsay helps you get a better understanding of the durian situation in Thailand.

You will find a short history of durian in Thailand and read how the durian is embraced into local cuisine and culture.

One of my favorites is Thailand's Durian Varieties. Lindsay has done her homework well. With lots of dedication and diligence, she has put together a very comprehensive write-up on it's development. She also provides lots of mouth-watering pictures to bring the messages across.

Durian Varieties Aplenty

There are more than 200 durian varieties registered with the relevant Thai authorities but only 3 or 4 varieties are commonly found in the markets. The remote countryside offers more ancient varieties and a unique durian adventure.
There are more than 200 durian varieties registered with the relevant Thai authorities but only 3 or 4 varieties are commonly found in the markets. The remote countryside offers more ancient varieties and a unique durian adventure. | Source

It's Also A Reference Book.

To complement her work on durian varieties, Lindsay adds a useful Field Guide for identifying the different durian varieties found in orchards or markets. For the curious and adventurous travelers, she provides more "tasty" information on other Edible Durian Species found in Thailand. If you want additional information, you can click onto the many user-friendly links provided next to the item.

Finally, with the help of a detailed map of durian production areas and a colorful durian seasons chart provided in the guide-book, you can now confidently plan your next durian adventure in Thailand.

"A true king of the forest fruits".

This subtitle is a quote from a poem on durian by Pan Shou
This subtitle is a quote from a poem on durian by Pan Shou | Source

Durian Is One Of The Most Expensive Fruit In The World

Lindsay with her $300 (USD) Nonthaburi Ganyao durian. (Photo - courtesy from Lindsay)
Lindsay with her $300 (USD) Nonthaburi Ganyao durian. (Photo - courtesy from Lindsay) | Source

Walk The Talk

2. Durian Practicalities

Before you embark on your holidays, Lindsay has more helpful information to make sure your durian adventure is a fruitful and yummy success.

Unless you have a big fat wallet, it would be prudent to Budget For The Durians. Eating good quality durians can be an expensive affair for prices can range from $0.62/kg to $6.20/kg (USD).

You can also get ripped off if you don't know How to Select a Quality Durian from a mediocre one.

With some Durian Etiquette and Useful Thai Words and Phrases, you can communicate with the durian vendor and get what you want.

Lindsay finishes this practical section with another well-researched write-up on Health, Safety and Pesticides issues.

Caution! Hard Hats Required!

Don't stray directly beneath a bunch of spiky durians. The fruit is heavy with sharp thorns and can dash your brains out.
Don't stray directly beneath a bunch of spiky durians. The fruit is heavy with sharp thorns and can dash your brains out. | Source

Let's Find Out Whether You're A Durian Freak Or Not

How often do you eat durians?

  • I eat durians very often (10 or more times a year).
  • I eat durians regularly (4 to 9 times a year).
  • I eat durians occasionally (1 to 3 times a year).
  • I ate durians once and I don't like it
  • I don't like durians.
See results without voting

Travel Essentials

3. Thailand Travel Tips

These are the essentials every traveler would want to know - how to get there, how to get around and where to stay.

However, the Durian Guide has lots more to offer.

Lindsay shares all her experiences and gives suggestions on how to explore and navigate the back roads and countryside. Her notes on Being Green show her concern for the environment. Being Vegetarian or Finding Organic Foods in Thailand are some of her expertise. And finally, I was curious and tested the contact links in her long list of Travel Resources. I was thrilled to find everyone of them worked perfectly at the click of the mouse.

Tranquil Farms

Durian orchards- a peaceful and quiet alternative to the noisy and dusty city scene
Durian orchards- a peaceful and quiet alternative to the noisy and dusty city scene | Source

Thailand - World's Producer and Exporter of Durian

Durian production areas of Thailand
Durian production areas of Thailand | Source

More Specified Information To Finalize Your Travel Plans

4. Regional Guides - is another testimonial to Lindsay's passion for durians and an eye for details, accuracy and practicality.

She has had traveled through 16 provinces in Thailand which produce durians or have some durian-related interest to write this final section of the Durian Tourist. She frequently travels back to these places to explore and experience new sensations of the durian which she posts on her websites.

The durian production areas in Thailand are divided into four regions:

  • Central Region - Bangkok and around it,
  • The East especially Chantaburi,
  • The North, and
  • The South.

Amazing DURIAN at a Fruit Farm in Nonthaburi, Thailand (นนทบุรี)

My Dream Durian Adventure

My wish list is to visit The East or Thailand's durian breadbasket which grows more than 50% of the durian in the whole country.

I would love to..

  • visit the Horticultural Research Center in Chanthaburi,
  • eat as many of the Thai varieties as possible,
  • explore durian orchards and plantations,
  • visit durian-processing factories,
  • join in the revelry of the World Durian Festival,
  • tour Talad Nam Phuu market,
  • visit Talad Mamuang market, and
  • shop at the Little Green Corner Shop.

The Durian Is Not The Only Fruit

For each durian-producing region, Lindsay first describes the durian highlights - places to go, durian varieties to eat, and best time to visit. Then she suggests some of the other cultural attractions so that you can have a richer, more rewarding travel and eating experience.

This section also has all the useful information on the essentials of transport, lodging, contact resources, etc.

However, one of the most interesting features of this regional guide is a list of "Fruitless Things To Do" , with workable links, for those in your group who do not like durians so that they can be entertained.

Chanthaburi, Thailand

A markerChanthaburi, Thailand -
Chanthaburi, Mueang Chanthaburi District, Chanthaburi, Thailand
[get directions]

Chanthaburi - the durian "breadbasket" of Thailand!

Your Guide and Reading Pleasure Anytime Anywhere

A PDF copy of The Durian Tourist in my Nokia Lumia phone - PDF format, 14.1 MB, 182 pages
A PDF copy of The Durian Tourist in my Nokia Lumia phone - PDF format, 14.1 MB, 182 pages | Source

D e-Book That Can Save You Time And Money

Getting a copy of "The Durian Tourist's Guide To Thailand" eliminates time and space constraints.

You can plan your durian adventure right now or at your leisure. You can even do it while holidaying in Thailand right now!

Just download a copy, read the relevant page, click the links for more specified information, and it shows you where to get your fix of the durian! Saves you a lot of time and money!

The Durian Tourist has 237 pages and is published as an e-Book.

You can immediately download the e-Book onto your mobile phone, iPad, Kindle, Nook, Kobo, or computer and read it in e-Pub, mobi, or PDF format.

The King, Queen and Concubine

According to popular SE Asian culture, the durian is The King of Fruits, the mangosteen is The Queen, and the rambutan is The Concubine.
According to popular SE Asian culture, the durian is The King of Fruits, the mangosteen is The Queen, and the rambutan is The Concubine. | Source

A Valuable Resource To Add To Your Purchase

FREE guidebook to more delicious Thai fruits. Courtesy of Lindsay Gasik
FREE guidebook to more delicious Thai fruits. Courtesy of Lindsay Gasik

Benefits Galore!

Other benefits you get when you buy the Durian Tourist -

  • Full color maps, charts, photos, and mouth-watering durian pictures
  • Embedded links to recommended websites
  • Links to interactive Google maps so you can get specific directions to farms, markets, and home-stays
  • Effortless navigation between maps and sections
  • Bookmarks to effortlessly shoot back to key pages
  • A bonus guidebook to "The Fruits of Thailand"

Durians grow on trees and not on vines as many people wrongly believed.
Durians grow on trees and not on vines as many people wrongly believed. | Source

Invitation From The King

The Durian Tourist's Guide To Thailand Author  - Lindsay Gasik ; Editor - Leanne Jewett ;  Published - June 1, 2014
The Durian Tourist's Guide To Thailand Author - Lindsay Gasik ; Editor - Leanne Jewett ; Published - June 1, 2014 | Source

This Book Has It All.

I received my copy of "The Durian Tourist's Guide To Thailand" from Lindsay and I strongly recommend that you get your own copy.

It is a must-have for the serious durian connoisseur looking for an extraordinary adventure in Thailand.

Even if you are just curious about this remarkable fruit and want to learn more, this is an excellent book to deepen your durian knowledge.

It is a treasure-trove of unique information on the durian in Thailand - history, development, durian culture, cuisine, varieties, edible species, durian growers, production areas, seasons, durian markets, durian processing, agro-tourism, home-stays, etc.

The Lure Of The Durian

Let's Go And Eat Durians!

Would you like to go on a durian adventure to Thailand?

  • Yes. I can't wait to go.
  • Yes. When I've save enough money for the trip.
  • Maybe. I like to eat durian but I don't like the smell.
  • No. I don't like durians.
See results without voting

Note From Author

Thank you for reading this hub. Let me know what you think about this review.

Your comments are greatly appreciated.

There's A Magical Feeling When You Eat Durian

Can't Get Enough Of It? Then, Go On A Durian Adventure!

Source

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