8: organic farm Thailand

For almost three weeks we stayed at Kittichai’s farm, situated 100 kilometers from Bangkok in a nice green quiet area, close to a national park. Kittichai is a 39 year old Thai with Chinese roots that worked for years in a governmental office, but decided two years ago to make a switch: buy land and start an organic farm. He just recently got supported by the government with funds. He now can invest in his farm and give workshops in return.

 

 

Our welcome was really nice, we got lost in his street and he picked us up with bicycle and rascal doggy Decy. He and his father have created a beautiful place the last two years and planted a variety of plants: fig trees, mulberry trees, banana trees, mango, papaya, passion fruit, peppermint, melon, tomato, cucumber, beans, corn, ferns, all the green vegetable that are possible to eat seem to be represented at the farm, now or in the future. His father is a farmer of the older generation that uses chemicals and has sometimes trouble to switch to organic. He has a big pond, where Chris loves to take a swim, even tough snakes are just swimming on the surface. Okay it was only one, and we weren’t even in the pond then.

 

 

The first days Kittichai took us on some trips. Restaurants, the wonderful market in the village, the national park area, the great Buddha, the lake area, a Chinese family feast where all people gather with the same last name: Chai, and Qingming, a Chinese holiday to celebrate their ancestors, a religious theme park, a dinosaur park, and so on. And everyday he came home with a new sweet or dish to try for us. So lovely. We noticed it’s quite difficult to be a vegetarian in Thailand, because the Thai people just looove meat. But praise to the green vegetables at the farm.

 

 

Qingming is a very interesting Chinese holiday. There are around 9 million Thai Chinese people in Thailand, making them the largest minority of the country. They celebrate their own holidays like Qingming. This is a day to remember the ancestors, the parents and the great, greatparents. The whole family seven sisters and brothers gather with their family to the graves, with lots of delicious home made food. They pray and offer the food. And then it’s time to socialize and eat themselves. The children with parents decorate the grave and there is nothing sad about this day. Everybody is happy enjoying each other’s company and the food.

 

 

The work

The farm needs a lot of weeding. So we started. Weeding the ferns, the mulberry trees, the green vegetables. Sara one day was tired after hours of weeding, she stood up and by not paying attention smashed the weeding tool in her finger. She was so shocked of all the blood rushing out that she passed out three times and was surprised by loose motion. Chris caught her three times while running to the toilet and passing out again. He also did the cleaning. What a hero.

We planted plants, supported the tomato plants by robes, cut them, and so on. Chris was fasting the last six days. Every morning we did some yoga, making some herbal tea from the garden (lemon grass, peppermint, pendum) had afternoon walks and enjoyed the peaceful farm and surrounding. It was an awesome time to be welcomed by these two sweet people and to get an insights in Thai organic farm life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thailand

Arrival!

We flew 2 o’clock in the night from Kolkata India, to Bangkok Thailand. We left pretty early, so our 17 kilometers cycling to the airport would be an easy ride through the buzzing city of Kolkata. At the airport we rapped our bags in plastic foil and after a two and a half hour comfortable flight we arrived in South-East Asia! We arrived pretty early, Indian time 4 o’clock A.M and Thai time already 5.30. There was an extreme queue at the immigration and as half zombies we observed a different audience: Thai people.

 

Thailand versus India

We cannot explain how it is to switch from seven months India to Thailand. For us it felt like quite the opposite. India: plastic, Thailand: garbage bins, India everywhere crowd, Thailand: empty roads, India: staring people who stop to see how you breathe, Thailand: smiley people who continue walking after spotting you. We know this seems to bring India a bit in a bad light, and we don’t mean to do that. India is an experience that will never leave your hart. It seems like for the rest of our life we will always compare any other country with the mother of all countries India. The country is too big and divers to generalize and get into the obvious stereotypes. But you can generalize big Indian cities. After being in three big Indian cities the last three months Thailand felt from the first moment like heaven. Okay, the highway was not so pretty, we cycled wrong and India you just do whatever, because everything is allowed. If the cow can do it, you can do it. But Thailand is a different story, there is no turning back, left of right. There are rules. Hmmm.

But thank God, no rules for camping. The first two days we recovered from our mini jet lag in a hostel! The spinning bear hostel hosts cyclists the first night for free through warmshowers. So we decided to have a look. The cycling was awesome: empty, big, clean roads and NO honking cars! Nobody honked! We were so happy, we could cry. When Sara was standing in the middle of the street there was a car who just did a little whistle: psssss, can you maybe please go aside please, it would make me very happy. In India, you would already have been run over by a truck. The hostel was situated outside the center and that meant: no crazy traffic, green peaceful parks and beautiful lanes with houses and flowers, and palmtrees and smiley people, and sophisticated dogs, and thousands of supermarkets and food stands. This was not good for our diet. We met some nice Italian and Belgium cyclists we shared some interesting dishes with: a slimy egg, green vegetables dish. We all looked in horror at it. But the brave Belgium girls sacrificed themselves and decided the taste was way better than the look. The rest of the day we chilled in the awesome clean, quiet, green park, a place we forgot that exist.

 

The second night we had to pay for the hostel. We decided this would be our holiday treat for ourselves,  another day rest and chilling in the park. The next day we were forced to move on, because otherwise it would get too expensive. Luckily we had met the Italian Tomas at the hostel. He had just been woofing – volunteering on a farm- just 100 kilometers outside Bangkok. Because our workaway account had expired, we asked for the contacts, and the owner Kittichai was happy to welcome us! We took our time and after three days of cycling and camping we arrived at the farm. Thailand btw is camping heaven. You can just camp everywhere, no one that bothers you. Okay maybe a 80 year old farmer peaks in the morning in your tent, carrying a big smile..

 

Then we arrived at the organic farm of Kittichai. To see how this went, click here. After being 2,5 weeks on the farm, we had six days to come to Myanmar and we needed to cycle 700 kilometer to the border. So for these six days, we cycled, hitch hiked, camped on the nicest spots, made awesome coconut pasta dishes on the campfire, saw birds with funny hairs. Hitch hiking goes perfect in Thailand. Most people have a fancy pick-up, and most people are more than willing to help you out. Even though the pick-up is quite full, they make it work. We met a lot of very sweet families who fed us with fruits, took us to temples and did their best to converse in English.

Thailand, trip two..

To be continued..