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Farms and Orchards along Mahasawat canal

Round Trip Distance: 26km
Biking Time: 2 hours
Total Tour Time: 4-5 hours

The area between the Ta Jin river which flows in front of our house and the Chao Phraya river which flows through Bangkok is cris-crossed by hundreds of canals. The area is extremely fertile due to the overabundance of water and the ability of the farmers to control the water levels precisely by pumping the water in or out of their fields. Virtually all the area is used for agriculture and aquaculture. Some of the main products farmed in the area are rice, various fruits, orchid flowers and lotus flowers. The Mahasawat tour will allow you to explore four such farms. You will learn how these products are cultivated in Thailand.
This trip can be done by bicycle in its entirety or by taking a taxi/bicycle to Suwan Temple and then visiting all the farms by long tail boat.

The first stop on the tour is an orchid farm. Thailand is the biggest exporter of orchids in the world. The farm you will visit is about 30 rai (5 hectares) and is totally devoted to growing orchids. One corner of the farm is designated for tourists and it showcases several types of orchids. Orchids only require water to grow. They do not require any nutrients from the ground. This results in a very unusual plantation as all orchids are grown either suspended in the air in baskets with the roots hanging down below or in dried coconut/charcoal containers (the coconut shells and charcoal containers absorb water and reduce the required watering frequency). You can purchase cut orchids or a bottle with 100-200 seedlings from the farm if you like.
Mahasawat Orchid Farm Mahasawat Orchid Farm

The second stop on the tour is a fruit orchard and rice field. The orchard grows pomelos, bananas, jack fruit and 3 types of mangos. Upon arriving at the orchard you will be greeted by the owners and served a sampling of the fruits from the orchard. This area is known as the best area for growing pomelos in Thailand. It is believed that this has to do with the river being tidal during the dry season resulting in slightly brackish water. The jack fruits harvested are 5kg on average but the largest specimen ever harvested on this farm is an incredible 30kg! You will then climb on a tractor and will be given a tour of the orchard and rice field by the owner. The tractors used in this area are quite unusual as they have very long (about 3m) handle bars. This requires the driver to comically lean out very far out or even get off the tractor in order to turn sharply. The reason for the very long handle bars is that the tractor must be able to turn when plowing rice fields submerged in deep mud. The long handle bars enable turning in such a terrain by exerting a reasonable force over a long distance. If the handle bars were short an impossibly large force would be required over a short distance. The orchard also produces dried banana and jak fruit chips which can be tasted and purchased. They come in a variety of flavours includng natural, butter, barbecue and pizza!
Mahasawat Fruit Orchard Mahasawat Fruit Orchard Mahasawat Fruit Orchard Mahasawat Fruit Orchard

The third stop on the tour is a place manufacturing local snacks (Khao Tung Hna Tung) made of ricecakes covered with sugar, pork hair (really dried pork meat rubbed into fine strands) and sesame seeds. The rice cakes are dried in a special hot house with a solar powered ventilation system. The hot house gets so hot on sunny days that the doors must be opened for several minutes before going in as temperatures reach 60 degrees inside. You can apply all the toppings yourselves to try different combinations. Ready made snacks are also available for purchase. A video which explains how the snacks are prepared is can be watched if interested. This place was started under the One Tambon One Product (OTOP) program which encourages villages to specialize in a single or small selection of unique product(s).
Mahasawat OTOP Mahasawat OTOP Mahasawat OTOP Mahasawat OTOP

The final stop on the tour is a lotus farm. The lotus flowers are used as offerings when p[praying in temples. Two types of lotus flowers are cultivated in this area namely the white and the pink lotus. White lotus flowers are used in Thailand. Pink lotus flowers are exported to Singapore. The flowers are cut when harvested so they cannot be exported any further than Singapore as they have a very limited shelf life. The process of growing lotus flowers is described on boards at the farm. Several kinds of fish live on the farm. Catching them is forbidden as they play a useful role on the farm by eating the dead leves and stems essentially keeping the pond clean. Fish food is available for sale if you wish to feed the fish. There is also a boat available if you would like to paddle among the lotus plants. Note how the water rolls off the leaves when splashed.
Mahasawat Lotus Farm Mahasawat Lotus Farm Mahasawat Lotus Farm Mahasawat Lotus Farm

The map below shows our guesthouse and all stops on this tour. If you wish to take the boat to visit the farms then go to Suwan Temple and charter a boat there.
View Mahasawat agricultural bike tour in a larger map

Last Updated (Saturday, 18 May 2013 02:55)


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