I never thought I’d be visiting a durian farm in Langkawi, but I find that the best travel experiences are all about being spontaneous. It just so happens that it’s durian season here in Malaysia, and this summer yielded a great harvest of the infamously stinky fruit.
Before arriving last month, the only thing I knew was that “The King of Fruits” had been banned in hotel rooms and some public areas because of its strong odor. Besides that, the spiky exterior reminded me of something out of a Super Mario Bros. video game – a bit intimidating for sure.
I’m usually one to jump right into trying new foods, but maybe for all the aforementioned reasons, I crept slowly into trying this one. First there was that Durian flavored Portuguese Egg Tart at Jalan Alor Street Food Market in Kuala Lumpur, I wasn’t sure if I liked in, nor was I sure it was an accurate representation of what the fruit actually tasted like. The next time was in Penang – a few small bites of the actual fruit from 2 local Malaysian ladies at our guesthouse in Little India. I thought it was tolerable and realized that the tart was definitely a proper representation of the flavor – but at this point, still not sold on it.
When we arrived to Langkawi Island, durians were literally everywhere; every 2 minutes I was catching a whiff of that distinct odor. We’ve been here for over a month now and have stayed in multiple spots around the island. When we checked into our latest homestay, our local host family at Bidadari Langkawi (on AirBNB) told us how much they love it and gave us some to try. But when they offered to take us to a durian farm, here’s where the adventure begins.
Story continued after the photo gallery
Over the course of the 90-ish minutes we spent at the [VERY] local farm, we tried 12-15 different varieties and I have to admit, it kind of grew on me. Malaysia has about 135 varieties of this fruit that is so beloved by the locals, while Indonesia has over 100 and Thailand at least 300. I learned so much about the different colors, textures, aromas and flavors of durian just by trying it. The ones I seemed to like best were the creamier, bitter ones, which were a bit smaller, with a softer inside and a darker yellow color; they also had a stronger odor. Although you can never really tell 100% if you will like the durian until you open and taste it, there are a bunch of signs related to odor, color, size and more that help you to get a type that works best with your taste buds.
In the end, I loved the authentic local experience of visiting the farm – and meeting the beautiful Miriam (little girl from the photos who LOVED durian). Although I’m not sure I’d ever seek it out, I definitely have enjoyed it. They say that our sense of smell produces the strongest emotional connection, so one thing is for sure – anytime I ever catch a whiff of durian, it will bring back happy memories of my time spent here in Malaysia.
I am a photographer, Founder/Designer at TRVLR., blogger and full time “Slow Traveler”. I do not believe in speeding through a country to check it off of a list, I like to stay as long as possible to learn about the people, food, culture, religion, history and all the small details. The last year+ I’ve spent on the road has taught me so much and it has been a great source of inspiration. I hope to share some of my favorite parts of the world with you! I specialize in finding local food, authentic experiences and accommodations that are boutique style – cute, clean and unique, yet affordable for most budgets. Check out some of my favorite destinations and hotels and get the lowest rates from online sites like Expedia, Booking.com and Agoda. Get $20 back after you sign up with my link and complete your first stay – I get $20 too (at no extra cost to you) and can’t tell express how much I appreciate your support in helping me continue to travel and share my stories. See my full bio in the “About Me” section.