My experience of trying out a Thailand farm stay.
The more I travel, the more I find myself looking for alternative types of travel. It’s not that getting lost and exploring the city back streets aren’t as appealing, or even as exciting as they once were.
It’s just sometimes, like most of us, I feel the need to ditch the city every now and again and escape to the countryside. There’s a part of me that enjoys the quieter areas and natural aspects of the places I visit.
This year it has taken me to the rainforests of Tasmania, the of tip Northern Scotland, and now to a farm stay in the mountains of Thailand.
Thailand Farm Stay
The idea of travelling to Thailand for a farm stay is something I only found out this year.
It’s a unique a type of travel where you lodge on a farm, and while you’re there, you get to learn all about the various crops they produce such as vegetables, fruits and herbs.
When I first found out about the concept, I was curious for my own reasons. I have been fascinated by the idea growing food for myself for a while but never pursued it any further than beyond reading a book.
While reading books is nice, it’s impossible to argue that learning with a hands on approach is way more fun!
During a Thailand farm stay, you are taught everything on a one to one basis by the farmer, their family and farm workers.
They teach you how the farm operates including all the basics required for producing the various types of crops.
All the tips and tricks you would need to know if you planned on growing Avocados or Lettuce back at home.
It’s a little different from volunteering or WWOOFing as you’re not working on the farm as such. Although you will get dig around and plant things, it’s more focused on the learning side.
Think of it as more an induction on learning to grow and prepare your own food combined with a rural Thailand getaway.
I had arranged my stay through Farm Stay Asia, so my host family from BaanRung farm (Baan Kong Hae) picked me up at Chiang Mai airport.
My flight arrived in the early evening, and once they collected me, we drove an hour or so to the farm.
At the farm, all the work had finished for the day, so we settled for an evening meal and welcome ceremony from local villagers.
“In the city, we work until quitting time. On the farm, we work until the job is finished.”
– John Bytheway
To say the food was delicious would be an understatement. There was a selection of local ingredients cooked in the Thai style I love.
In addition to the food, there was a wrist wrapping at the ceremony followed by some local village children and adults dancing.
Coming into the trip, I wasn’t expecting anything like this, and it was an absolute honour to be the guest.
Another surprise was the spacious room with a balcony overlooking the farm. The comfortable bed combined with the tranquillity of mountain life allowed me to fall asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.
The next day at BaanRung focused around the various vegetables, fruits and herbs the farm grows. We also learnt about the health benefits they can provide.
There was plenty of free time to wander around the farm and explore the various crops they have.
It was interesting to see they also had a profession water purification set up at the farm.
Then during the afternoon, we collected various ingredients from the farm and the other side of the village for dinner.
As we would be cooking tradition open air style, I was told to go and catch a fish to eat. Armed with only a home made wooden rod it look me a while to progress up from the little fish and settle for something more substantial in size.
Like my home made fishing rod!? The fish absolutely loved it! #farmstayasia #chaingmai #northernthailand #thailand #thai #thailandtrip #fishing #fish #travelasia #travelblog #travelblogger #instratravel #picoftheday #travelbug #travelingtheworld #asia #farmstay #digitalnomad #lumia950 #workingremotely #friday #fridayfeeling
Patience and persistence do eventually pay off. Finally, a big fish came up from the bottom and snagged on the bait around the same time I saw a snake!
What surprised me the most was just how much work goes into preparing an evening meal like this. Sure I did some collecting and fishing. Then again so did everyone else and it took up most of the afternoon.
Then there was the cooking which I helped with a little but mostly “cough” supervised.
There’s plenty of work involved in preparing the food but it’s also fun when you’re on the farm and others are involved.
My first full day at BaanRung farm truly was an experience for me.
Even though the day wasn’t any longer than any other, I went to sleep that night feeling like I’d learnt and done so much.
Hiking and Wilderness Eating
If the second day was educational, then the third was a day of getting out there and having fun.
I’m a big fan of hiking, and one of the highlights of my Thailand farm stay trip was the hike we did. The originally planned casual forest walk turned into a full blown affair with others from the village joining with on the fun.
Along the forest track running through the mountain, we gathered various mushrooms, bamboo and created one massive forest buffet.
After lunch, my host explained her concerns about the local trees and how they are being cut down. To do our bit, we did some tree ordination to try and help prevent illegal logging.
To read more about the hike check out my post:
After the hike, we had time to relax before visiting the local temple.
Most people would imagine that not a lot goes on in a small mountain village in northern Thailand on a Saturday night. But I saw first hand they like to celebrate after a long week at work and let off some steam like everyone else!
I always seem to struggle when it comes to eating enough fruit – but not during my Thailand farm stay.
At BaanRung farm we created juices from many local fruits.
It was great to see how these can be used not only as a refreshing drink but also to give something back to the body we often abuse.
Sticky rice is a popular snack not only in Thailand but throughout many parts of Asia. I was shown by my farm stay family how to take this simple snack to the next level with a few nuts and a slice of banana mixed in.
The result is a slightly sweet treat.
[bctt tweet=”Making sticky rice treats during a Thailand farm stay” username=”toolsoftravel”]
Would I Recommend a Thailand Farm Stay?
If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of Chiang Mai or Bangkok and try something different – then yes?
Logistically it’s not a complicated as you might think, especially if you go through a company like Farm Stay Asia.
Those who are interested in learning to grow their food and be becoming self-sufficient (or a least a partly) will have a particular interest in this type of travel.
Even if you love city life and live in 7/11 convenience stores, it’s still worthwhile to try a Thailand farm stay a least once.
The worst that’s going to happen is you might get a little dirty, see a few insects or maybe a snake!
The whole concept of travelling to a Thailand Farm Stay is a relatively new one that’s only just starting to catch on.
Which also means now is probably one of the best times to try it out. The thing I liked is each farm stay is different and can be tailored suit individual tastes or requirements. It all depends on what you want to achieve from the trip.
Did I mention that the food was mind-blowing? I could just write a whole blog post about that but I won’t.
Let’s just say it was some of the best I have tasted in Thailand.
My host family was more than happy to have me stay and welcomed me with open arms. It was great to be able to chat with the farm owner and family so openly like this.
While I had fun participating in the activities and adventures, what will be remembered the most is the genuine hospitality they showed towards me.
If you are interested in the farm stay concept, I used Farm Stay Asia to organise my trip. At present they have over 20 different farm locations around Thailand that you can stay at.
Thailand Farm Stay My First Experience images created by toolsoftravel.com.