February 25, 2016
This quiet part of Isaan that normally has the feeling of being the stage for a spaghetti western border town, comes alive for a few days of the year, when it celebrates its best known home grown produce
When: Annually 6-15th April
Where: Aranyaprathet railway station. Sa Kaeo Province Eastern Thailand
The town of Aranyaprathet is ideally situated if you are planning to travel to neighbouring Cambodia, situated as it is 6 kms from the border and far larger, Cambodian town of Poipet (officially Paôy Paêt), famous for its strip of casinos, and which is frequented by many Thai’s as gambling is illegal in Thailand. The border town is also on Route 33, part of the route connecting Bangkok and Siem Reap, the city nearest Angkor Wat.
During April every year when melons are being harvested locally the town plays host to this agricultural fair. The event includes a host of agricultural contests and presentations, a wonderful colourful parade of floats decked in cantaloupe, a beauty contest along with a myriad of booths selling local handicrafts and produce. That’s not all during this 9 day event there are also a range of other entertainment shows and activities.
The town is also host to the huge Rongkluea Market located next to the immigration office at the border, it has a surprising range of goods that will interest those who like buying stuff and things. What is most interesting is the huge mass of designer goods that are on display, but as it is all Supposedly ‘Second Hand’ (nudge, nudge, wink, wink), it does not contravene and copy right laws so you could bag a bargain of sorts.
A word of warning for those going to use the border crossing, there are a good number of unsavory types that prey on tourists and will try to sell you a visa for 1,200 Bht yet since 31st October 2013, Visa-free entry is for 30 days so be careful.
The Humble Melon
Did you know the humble juicy melon has a range of health benefits, including improving immune system strength, promoting healthy skin and eyes, reduced chances of cancer, promoting healthy lungs, and decreased stress levels, as well as the prevention of arthritis and boosted management of diabetes’s. These attributes are mainly due to the high levels of vitamins and minerals that naturally occur in this popular fruit.
A little on the Province of Sa Kaeo
While Sa Kaeo is mid range in size compared to most provinces in Thailand, it only ranks 65 out of the total 76 provinces for population density, exploring this region can make you feel you have travelled back in time, to back this up part of the provinces slogan reads, ‘The frontier of the east’. While the north of the province is covered with the forested mountains of the Sankamphaeng Range and the Dangrek Mountains, the south lays at the foothills of the Cardamom Mountains, which are now mostly deforested.
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