‘Edible Mountain’ in Laplae, Uttaradit, Thailand

Uttaradit bordering Lao

In Thailand’s northern province of Uttaradit bordering Lao, villagers in Laplae district call their local mountain the ‘Edible Mountain’. The residents say they earn extra income from it by leaving it to look after itself.

The mountain surrounding a village in Mae-Pool sub-district is deemed a magical mountain by locals, as fruits there can grow well without fertiliser or being watered by man. Nature looks after itself and when the harvest season arrives, locals just go there and collect the crops.

“Fruits and vegetables here in the Mae-Pool area grow by themselves. We neither give them fertiliser nor any other chemical substance,” said Tong Homtun, a source of local lore and traditional knowledge.

“They’re all trees that just grow. It’s so amazing. Even for vegetables, we can gather them from here for our cooking,” said village head, Jamnien Gawi.

As the ‘Edible Mountain’ is comprised of mixed orchards, local agriculturists also use the site for agro-tourism attraction. Trips are organised for visitors to closely study orchards of fruits like durian, mangosteen, other tropical fruits, and even coffee, of which the crop yields are all year round.

The villagers also have a particular technique of transporting fruits across the hill by applying a sling wire and sliding baskets of fruit down the mountainsides to save time and labour.

Some fruits are specially bred in the area. ‘Langgong’, a local delicacy which fruit lovers cannot find elsewhere, is an example of a mixed tropical breed between ‘Langsat’ and ‘Longkong’.

Two signature durian breeds of ‘Long Laplae’ and ‘Lin Laplae’, widely celebrated for their distinctive sweet, creamy, bright yellow meat with a delicate texture and slim seeds, are varieties that are only found here.

Due to their high quality, the durians produced are always in short supply, while their seedlings are always in high demand among durian growers in other durian breed.

Somboon Kerdtoongyang, a local agriculturist and owner of a technology training centre for durian’s produce development, has searched for a new way of reproduction, where an original durian breed is mixed with a seed of other breeds elsewhere and then cultivated in a plant breeding field until both are integrated and strong enough to be moved and planted in land.

As the name of the district itself means a ‘hidden city’ in Thai, it’s no wonder why ‘Laplae’ district in Uttaradit province is full of hidden surprises.