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World Durian Festival 2005 (06/05/2005)
Thanks to Thailand?s fertile soil, Thai fruits are diverse, delicious, and popular among both local and foreign consumers. Some are available any time of the year, while many vary according to the season. Among those varying with the season is durian, which is often referred to as the ?King of Tropical Fruits.?

During this time, durian is flooding the market, especially in the eastern region. It is grown in abundance in Chanthaburi Province, about 290 kilometers east of Bangkok. Recognized as Thailand’s “Garden Province,” Chanthaburi is famous for many tropical fruit varieties, such as durian, rambutan, and mangosteen, which are in their peak season between May and July. It is known as the only province in Thailand, and in the world, where the majority of farmers are engaged in durian production.

To promote its fruits and tourism, Chanthaburi holds a fruit fair each year. This year, the name of the event has been changed from “Chanthaburi Fruit Fair” to “World Durian Festival 2005” to highlight the “King of Tropical Fruits,” which makes a name for Thailand.

The World Durian Festival 2005 takes place from May 7 to 15 at the Thung Na Choei area and the Chanthaburi Central Stadium in Muang District. The festival features contests of fruits and processed fruit products, and a bazaar of local products under the “One Tambon, One Product” program. Visitors will have a chance to buy fruits and seafood of good quality directly from farmers.

Durian is a cash crop in eastern Thailand and a favorite fruit in Asian countries, especially China, Singapore, Taiwan, and Malaysia. It has a heavy, spiked husk and mellow taste. This kind of fruit is high in vitamin A, calcium, and phosphorus. Because of its pungent smell, durian is usually banned from being carried on public transport. Apart from fresh durian, other forms of durian, such as chips and jam, are also available at the festival.

According to the Chanthaburi Agriculture Office, the most popular durian variety grown in this province is Mon Thong, followed by Chani, and Kradum. The Ministry of Agriculture has a plan to make nine Thai fruits better known in the world market under the campaign for “health fruits.” Durain is among them, while others include longan, lychee, mango, mangosteen, rambutan, duku ( or longgong), rose apple, and pomelo.

During the World Durian Festival 2005, an orchard tour program is organized to help visitors get to know the lifestyle of local fruit growers. They may consume an unlimited amount of fresh fruits at the orchards they visit and they will have an impressive experience to be in touch with nature.
Chanthaburi takes this opportunity to introduce its tourist attractions, especially eco-tourist sites, such as Khung Kraben Bay and Chao LaoBeach. The province has become Thailand’s gemstone trade center and one of the world’s most important ruby-producing areas.

The World Durian Festival will help promote the charms of Chanthaburi, known among Thais as “Muang Chan,” which is rich in fruit resources.