Durian Garden of Eden – Eating the King Of Fruits in Nonthaburi

 
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Our first glimpse into this beauty

You will always remember your first bite of durian.

(At least for those of us who tasted durian for the first time as adults).

I remember my first time…

I was in Malaysia, walking through a night market with a friend.

I had just finished eating 3 plates of marvelous Malaysian food, when we smelled (first), and then spotted a white truck full of spiky fruit.

Having your first bite of durian is a little frightening.

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Freshly picked durian fruit (ทุเรียน)

Everyone has told you how bad it is, and you’ve seen people on TV shows who just can’t stomach it.

Your first bite, you’ll probably be a little nervous (I was) – after-all, just look at the outside shell of a durian – it can, and has, literally been used as a weapon.

I scooped my first bite of durian, super ripe, yellow, and custardy; It was like picking up a small half-melted block of butter.

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A line of freshly picked durian fruit

My first bite was an eye opening moment of awe.

It was sensationally custardy, like all-natural pudding with a seed in the middle. It tasted like pungent vanilla ice cream, sweet, buttery, creamy, like blobs of frosting, only much better.

I fell in love, the type of unbelievable love, where you can hardly believe it.

How could a natural fruit be so unique and spectacular?

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Showing a freshly picked beauty (ก้านยาว นนทบุรี)

Nonthaburi Durian, Thailand

Living and traveling in Southeast Asia since 2009, I’ve been able to sample quite a few durians, and every single good durian is a sensational treat, and a moment to remember.

A friend of mine Lindsay from Yearofthedurian.com, is probably the most passionate, and knowledgable durian lover that I know.

When she invited me to go on a durian adventure to Nonthaburi, in search of the world’s most expensive durian, I couldn’t resist.

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She has some serious durian passion!

In Thailand durian is grown in a few different provinces, and there are a number of different varieties.

However, as all Thais know, one of the most expensive and best quality durian varieties cultivated in the country is a kanyao, or translated as a long stem durian.

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A flawless Nonthaburi Kanyao Durian (ก้านยาว นนทบุรี)

The most famous of them all is the Nonthaburi Kanyao (ก้านยาว นนทบุรี), the world’s most expensive durian.

You can’t even buy them at stores or in local markets in Bangkok (the authentic, best quality ones, you won’t even find at Bangkok’s upscale Or Tor Kor Market (video).

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It’s such a unique and beauty of a fruit

The best quality authentic Nonthaburi Kanyao durians are pre-sold, even before the season begins, the entire stock bought out by durian obsessed businessmen who can afford to fork out the 10,000 – 20,000 THB ($305 – $610) price tag for a single fruit.

Lindsay had actually been in contact with the farm, Suan Toorien Padoi (สวนทุเรียนป้าต้อย) for months, and the time had finally come to purchase and sample one of these high esteemed fruits.

I was actually surprised how small the farm was, just a small plot of land, where the owner could take extreme care of each and every durian tree.

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Canals growing durian in Nonthaburi

Growing durian in Nonthaburi

Probably the most interesting thing I learned about durian during this adventure, was the unique durian growing method in Nonthaburi.

As the tide of the Chao Phraya river rises and falls, it brings new waves of fresh water, mixed with just the right amount of salinity, and a host of other healthy growing minerals.

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Suan Toorien Padoi (สวนทุเรียนป้าต้อย) – Durian Farm in Nonthaburi

The durian trees at orchards in Nonthaburi are planted in mounds of dirt and mud, all surrounded by canals.

Every year, the canals are dug out, and scoops of mud and minerals are piled up onto the durian mounds to heap them up and ensure the soil is prime for durian nurturing.

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Nonthaburi durian farm, Thailand

Due to the canals, the durian trees have access to a year round supply of water and nutrients, while other durian orchards around Southeast Asia often go dry during the periods of dry season.

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These are the spikes of a monthong durian

Nonthaburi really is the durian Garden of Eden.

One of the things that Suan Toorien (Durian) Padoi (สวนทุเรียนป้าต้อย) is especially known for, is producing Thailand’s best quality, fully organic grown durian.

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Protection from the dangerous bugs and birds

Walking around the durian orchard, I noticed how all the durians fruits hanging from trees were covered in clear plastic wrapping.

This provided protection, especially from insects and bugs – I know for sure if I was a bug or a bird, I would definitely have eyes on an organic durian.

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Each durian tree is tagged

Every durian tree at the orchard was tagged with information, like a newborn child at the hospital.

The care of each and every tree at the orchard was amazing.

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The farm

For the first part of our visit to Suan Toorien (Durian) Padoi (สวนทุเรียนป้าต้อย), we walked around the small orchard, taking a look at the durian selection.

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Mangosteen on tree

Polyculture farming

Another thing that was very cool, was the cross pollination farming technique used.

While many durian farms grow only durian, one of the things I loved about walking around here, was that there were multiple things being grown together, polyculture farming.

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Nonthaburi, where the soil is perfect for growing durian

Next to a durian tree there were mangosteen trees, banana trees, and even fresh peppercorn vines (which I couldn’t resist sampling right off the tree, tasted amazing by the way).

Ok, moving on, after we walked around the farm for a while, taking as many photos as possible, we then headed to the small entryway hut.

The owner had already picked a few durians for the day, and they were waiting and ready to be purchased by people who had already reserved them.

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Lindsay holding up her Nonthaburi Kanyao

Types of durian (and the famous kanyao)

There were two different kinds of durian to choose from, Nonthaburi Kanyao, which is the most expensive and highest grade, and then Nonthaburi Monthong, which is one of the most widely available varieties in Bangkok.

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Purchasing a durian at the farm

Lindsay came for the kanyao, and after some negotiating, she owned a beautiful, football (soccer) shaped durian, spiky, with a long stem, and as precious as ones own.

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We got a Monthong Nonthaburi (หมอนทอง นนทบุรี)

Eating our durian

Unfortunately, the kanyao was not ripe, it needed a few days to ripen up, but there’s always a back-up plan, and so we additionally got a perfectly ripened monthong (หมอนทอง นนทบุรี), to eat on spot.

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I could taste the naturalness

The monthong was nowhere near the price of the kanyao, and the entire fruit cost just 1,000 THB (though for a regular monthong in Bangkok during durian season you’d only pay about 60 – 80 THB per kilo).

Let me tell you though, 1,000 THB for this durian was a small price to pay for the quality, freshness, and natural taste (but I’ll explain this eating part more below).

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While a kanyao is usually nearly perfectly round, a monthong is more oval shaped, with random knobs, even sometimes sort of looking like a heart in shape.

The durian, though very ripe, hardly had a rotten egg smell like it sometimes does when you see durian on the street.

Instead, this one smelled of sweet honey.

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Fresh stem, fresh fruit

Judging from the stem, Lindsay guessed that the durian had just been picked that morning, so it was extremely fresh, and tree ripened (instead of being picked early to ripen).

This ensured it could nurse all the nutrients from its mother tree before its umbilical cord was cut for our consumption.

I get a little crazy taking photos of food, especially when it’s something so fascinating and amazing like durian. But finally after we had captured our durian in the garden in every angle we could think of, and it was time to dig in.

The durian was soft and slightly mushy (perfect), and just slightly golden yellow in color.

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Durian Monthong Nonthaburi (หมอนทอง นนทบุรี)

The durian flesh was incredibly creamy and smooth, and just absolutely packed with an amazing sweetness.

I think the texture and feel of durian can be compared to a very ripe avocado, but just bump up the creaminess one more notch, and decrease the firmness by one notch, and you’ve nearly go the texture.

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Bites of durian cream

Flavor-wise, in comparison to other monthong durians that I’ve eaten in Thailand, this was probably the best.

Eating just a normal everyday monthong durian on the streets of Bangkok, versus tasting this same variety, but grown in Nonthaburi and fully organic at the farm, was way different.

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Some dogs, high off durian

I could honestly taste the freshness and naturalness of the fruit.

It was extraordinary, surely the finest monthong I’ve ever consumed.

Like I mentioned before, at Suan Toorien (Durian) Padoi (สวนทุเรียนป้าต้อย), they not only grow durian (even though that’s the main thing), but they cross pollinate for the farming process.

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Jackfruit at Suan Toorien Padoi Farm (สวนทุเรียนป้าต้อย)

This means other delicious fruits too.

I tried a piece of their jackfruit, again, it was one of the most memorable pieces of jackfruit I’ve had in a very long time.

The seed was tiny, about 1/3 the size of a normal jackfruit seed, and the meat was thick, smooth, and tasted like banana cream dipped in honey. I only wish they grew cempedak (video) too.

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Delicious mangosteen to complement durian

Durian and mangosteen

Durian is commonly consumed with mangosteen, at least that is the case in Thailand and Malaysia.

Durian is a warming fruit, and you will actually start to feel a little warm when you eat durian, and mangosteen is a cooling fruit. As they say in Thailand, durian is the king of fruits, and mangosteen is the queen.

I thought the mangosteen at this farm didn’t actually look so good from the outside. There was a small basket, picked right off the tree, sitting next to the stock of durian.

But after a few logs of durian, I decided to go for a mangosteen. Though the outside appearance wasn’t that beautiful, wow the fruit was stunning.

Again, it was such a pure flavored mangosteen – I can seriously say I could taste the naturalness of it, in comparison to mangosteen I normally buy at the market.

It was sweet and juicy, and almost creamy milky.

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Our final wedge of durian

A few mangosteens later, and we dug back into the good stuff.

The final log of durian, looking like a small baguette nestled into the shell, included four seeded segments – a beauty of a durian chunk.

Can fruit get any more unique and beautiful?

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You have to cherish your last bite

I always like to savor and dream about my last bite, before I take it.

The final bite of any durian, or any amazing feast, is always something to cherish.

On my last bite of durian, I also like to usually suck on the seed for a while, to ensure all the flavor is completely extracted.

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The sad moment when it’s all gone

It didn’t take too long before our beautiful durian from the orchard was reduced to a thorny empty shell.

Another durian down, another round of extreme satisfaction and happiness.

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Dog’s like on the durian farm

It’s not such a bad dog’s life, hanging out at a Nonthaburi durian farm in Thailand, enjoying the peacefulness, and licking out durian shells.

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Fantastic time at the durian orchard (สวนทุเรียนป้าต้อย)

But all good things normally come to an end, and so is the case with eating a durian on the farm.

The owners of the farm were extremely kind, and what I really loved about them, is that you could just sense their passion, pride, and dedication to nurturing their organic Nonthaburi durians.

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Suan Toorien Padoi Farm (สวนทุเรียนป้าต้อย)

Conclusion

Watch the video of this amazing durian farm:

(If you can’t see the video, watch it here: http://youtu.be/dPnZP8_QjKE)

Durian is one of the most unique and amazing natural fruits on the planet.

The outer shell of a durian is spiky and scary, but the inside is warm and inviting, and tastes like honey custard injected with the creamiest whipped cream you’ve ever tasted.

You’ll find durian all over southeast Asia, and scattered throughout Bangkok, but there’s nothing quite like eating durian at the farm, in a peaceful garden.

I really enjoyed this Nonthaburi durian adventure, and would recommend it to anyone who is a durian lover.

Suan Toorien Padoi Farm (สวนทุเรียนป้าต้อย)

We went to a durian farm about 30 minutes outside of Bangkok known as Suan Toorien Padoi Farm (สวนทุเรียนป้าต้อย). This farm is not a tourist attraction like the Thai fruit farm I visited a while back is, but instead it’s more of a place to go if you’re serious about durian. It’s not just an open farm, so in order to go there you need to pre-order a durian and be ready to purchase.

For eating durian in Bangkok, check out my guide here.

Do you love durian, or would you love to try it?

 

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Comments

  1. says

    Again you’ve done a great job with the outrageous and delectable durian. We have a similar durian here in the Philippines that is grown in Davao. It has similar appearance but the taste is nowhere near the Thai or Malaysian fruits. Regarding price I have paid over 30 dollars for a single fruit in Malaysia and was rewarded for every cent spent. Keep up the good work. I envy you your passion.
    Hank

    • says

      Hi Hank, I would love to try the durian in the Philippines, I really hope to visit again in the future. Yup, I think a $30 durian can be well worth it. How’s everything at the Vesuvios Pizzeria?

  2. says

    This was so interesting, and I can’t believe some people would pay $300 to $600 for a single Durian?! I have a serious craving for some Durian now, and I regret not trying Mangosteen and Jackfruit while I was in SEA.

    • says

      Hey Ashley, yah I agree, it’s pretty crazy price. Most of the people who buy them are really rich businessmen and bosses. Mangosteen and jackfruit are both wonderful too, hope you can try them in the future.

  3. Mal says

    Great article and the pictures gave me a real understanding of durian. I’ve always been turned off by the smell of these but I recently tried one in a fruit shake in Chinatown NYC. It was excellent. Sorry I waited so long to try them. Yeah it’s interesting the prices they command all over asia. Like Kobe beef and the top tuna.

    • says

      Hi Mal, than you very much, and good to hear you enjoyed the durian shake. Yes, the demand and quality is similar to that of Kobe beef – good comparison.

  4. fernando says

    very nice post Mark, congrats! Durian is an amazing and tasteful fruit, the best so far I had eaten in Asia. I just love this fruit. unfortunately I cannot eat more than 2 small pieces, what I take an hour to taste. ;D

  5. pierantonio says

    I am agree with u: it is a wonderful fruit , no words to describe its taste! In september i will be in ko samui to taste durian every day ( with my tshirt ” eat more tom yum ” of course) many greetings from me , Pier ; like u i love food everywhere inthe world and i hope to meet u in future :-)

    • says

      Hey Pier, glad you love to eat durian too. Awesome, eating durian in the Eat More Tom Yum t-shirt, thank you. Have a great visit to Koh Samui. How long will you be in Thailand?

  6. ameer says

    Glad u enjoyed my country national fruit.
    Just to share with you and other,Durian is a Malaysian word which means “thorns”. ( no wonder )
    There are many types of durian,many names to it,however will share with you one so called DURIAN GAJAH. (elephant durian)
    This rare durian gajah can be found in the wild,deep in the jungle.
    To get this durian,aborogines would go hunt for them and its not easily to locate the trees thus its quite expensive to buy.
    Whats so special about it?
    Believe it or not,this particular durian is so sweet,full orange/yellow is colour,its so rich that by just having one piece of it,you wouldnt want to eat for hours!! Yes,its that heavy in the belly.

    Bye!

  7. says

    This post just makes me so happy! I ADORE durian and cannot for the life of me figure out why some people say it stinks! :) Thanks for sharing your Nonthaburi adventure, Mark!

  8. Ian says

    Hey Mark, another great post. so did you have to pay for the Ganyao that wasn’t ripe enough? Also have you tried the infamous Musang King of Pahang?

    • says

      Hey Ian, thank you for reading. Lindsay, who invited me on this trip, paid for the Ganyao, but she took it with her because it wasn’t ripe… so didn’t get to try it. No, have never tried the Musang King of Pahang, is it amazing? Would love to try it.

  9. says

    What an incredible adventure! I’m a little jealous! I love durian, but I’m not sure I would be ready to dish out this amount of money on it though haha! So cool to see Linsday in motion as well ;) I’m currently in Penang, Malaysia and I will be going to Bao Sheng Farm to sample their durians, have you been? I cannot wait!

    • says

      Hey Amelie, great to hear from you and glad you love durian too, yah it’s a pretty steep price tag. I have eaten durian in Malaysia, but never gone to the Bao Sheng Farm. Hope you have a great time, sounds wonderful.

    • ameer says

      Hi Amelie,

      The best durians are from Penang.Most of the farms are in Balik Pulau.Buying from the farm directly shud be much cheaper.
      Here is a tip for durian lovers:
      After eating the durians,you can pour some water into the inner skin and drink it from there,it is said to cool ur body from the heatiness of consuming durians.

  10. says

    Dude. What a trip! Each bite made me jealous and man I forgot you told me bout the jackfruit too! Must have been a treat to just be in that place, such a famous place for the best fruit on earth.
    I should start a savings account right now for a future 20,000 baht-er…

  11. says

    Oh wow, what an incredible adventure! Going all that way and spending all that money on a single piece of fruit. As someone who lives for food, I love the whole idea! I’ve heard some terrible things about durian fruit, but maybe I’ve been mislead all these years. If given the chance, I think I’d have to try it now, Thanks for opening my eyes. :)

  12. says

    Growing up in Indonesia means I’ve got familiar with the smell and taste of durian since I was little. Then as I grew up I learned the fact that most foreigners couldn’t stand the pungent smell of the fruit, an idea I couldn’t really fathom back then. But then there are a handful of people like you who genuinely love durian. Your photos remind me that I haven’t had the fruit for quite a long time, and it’s about time to have it again soon. :)

  13. Mark says

    Hi Mark,

    I have passed many vendors in Bali selling Durian and was curious about the taste; I have heard good and bad comments from people who have tried it. From how you have described it I think I would like it as I like most of the food you like, it is on my bucket list for next trip.

    Kind Regards
    Mark

    Australia

  14. says

    For such an intimidating fruit, durian sure has a great payoff … I may have to pay this place (or another like it) a visit soon!

  15. Anh says

    Thank you for this article and the gorgeous pictures. My mouth was watering as I scrolled through photos of durian, jackfruit and mangosteens. I grew up in Vietnam and Thailand for 18 years and absolutely love durians! So glad to read an article about someone who was willing to try durians and then actually fell in love with the taste. I cannot convince my husband to give it a shot. His reasoning is if Adam Richman of “Man vs. Food” (the guy who will eat anything) think it’s disgusting, then it must be really, really bad.

  16. Thilina Makavita says

    Hi Mark!

    These days can buy a large single durian for 2-3 USD(200-300LKR) in Sri Lanka near Rathnapura,Horana,Awissawella,Galle.Sri Lanka have large harvest of durian on May to August.Come and tast durian in Sri Lanka.

  17. christian beetz says

    hi mark,

    another great article about one of the best fruits i ever tried.
    my first durian experience happened last November at or tor kor market in Bangkok, where my friend from Thailand said – if i havn#t tried durian i havn#t been to Thailand..so..we bought some nice pieces..and..i was from one Moment to another absolutely amazed about the texture, taste and Beauty of this fruit – we also bought some mangosteen to go with it.
    love your article and the great picutes.
    unfortunately i will visit Bangkok this years November…some months after durian season…

    • says

      Hey Christian, thank you for sharing your experience about eating durian. Glad that you loved it your first bite as well – so unique and so incredibly delicious. Even during off season, you should be able to get some durian at Or Tor Kor.

      • says

        Hi Christian,

        In November it is durian season in Southern Thailand. Mark’s recommendation is good. You can also always find durian on Yaowarat road in chinatown, or at Siam Paragon or Emporium Malls.

  18. says

    Mark you are one lucky person! So much durian .. And straight from the farm too! That’s as fresh as it’s going to get! Awesome post!

  19. says

    Thanks for the awesome content – I have always wanted to try Durian and this has now inspired me to take the decisive step. I love the food in Asia, and particularly in Vietnam. I have just written about my experiences with Vietnamese cooking after I did a 12 course cooking class in Hoi An. Fantastically complex flavours that are done in such a simple way…I can’t wait to get to Thailand to see how it compares. From reading your blog, it seems like I will be blown away!

    • says

      Hi Ray, it’s great to hear from you, glad you love Asian food so much too. Awesome about a 12 course cooking class, that sounds wonderful. Hope you enjoy durian.

  20. David B. says

    My first sample of durian probably wasn’t very ripe because it didn’t have much flavor or for that matter odor. So I sort of wrote it off as overhyped (neither super-tasty nor revolting), but years later I found myself just craving the sort of oniony zing it had towards the end of each bite and the next sample I had was both very pungent and I loved it. Maybe someday I’ll travel to Asia and try it fresh, which has got to be way better than frozen (the only kind you can get in the USA).

    Buying durian in an Asian market here is almost always amusing for me because the sales clerks typically have a hard time believing that a white guy likes it and is buying it.

    • says

      Hey David, thank you for sharing your story about durian, that’s awesome that you love it too. Hope you can visit Asia to taste some fresh durian in the future.

    • says

      Hi David,

      Fresh durian is much, much better than frozen! Not only is the texture better (it can be quite slimy and rubbery at the same time when frozen) but you can get other, more delicious types than Monthong. I hope you get a chance to travel to Asia someday!

  21. lindsay says

    Hey Mark!
    Thank you so much for this post!! It’s incredible!
    My boyfriend and I are going to Thailand in November and I would love to visit Suan Toorien Padoi Farm. WE LOVVVVE DURIAN! I cant seem to find any information on the farm online other than your post. Any information you can pass to me on how to contact them would be extremely helpful. We really hope to be able to visit a durian farm. It’s one of the main reasons we’re heading to Thailand! :)
    Thank you

    • says

      Hi Lindsay, thank you very much for checking this out, good to hear you love durian. This place is only open from June – July, I think, only during a few months of the peak of the season. You might try Suan Supatra: http://migrationology.com/2012/05/fruit-buffet-suan-supatra-land-thailand/ but not sure if it will be open due to the season again. Otherwise Or Tor Kor market is a great place in Bangkok to get good durian during off season. Hope this helps.

    • says

      Hi Lindsay,

      This particular farm isn’t open to casual visitors, but there are lots of other farms you can check out. In November you’ll want to be in Southern Thailand, as it’s the season there. Northern Thailand (Rayong, Chanthaburi, etc) has a short season between April and July.

      If you have any more questions feel free to hit me up at durianyear@gmail.com – I’ve also written an entire guidebook on the subject of traveling to eat durian, so that might answer your questions as well :)

  22. says

    Dear Mark and Lindsay,
    You can come to the city of Medan in North Sumatera Indonesia … in Medan looking for Ucok Durian Stores, Durian fruit which provide all year round. You can feel the taste of Durian like Durian Cannabis and Durian Coffee there is even a scent and taste incredible …
    Do not miss out … in Indonesia is rich in all of the varieties of Durian in each province by a variety of different aromas and flavors and you will get new sensations and experiences.

    • says

      Hi Yehu, wow, thank you for sharing. I visited Medan a few years ago, and really loved it, but I think it wasn’t season when I was there – so next time will hope to visit when it’s durian season.

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