Abundant yield

Almost everyday there are news of killings and bombings in the South. Though Betong is considered a green area, to be precautious, I tried not leaving too far from town if not necessary. This weekend, I decided to drive to the suburb with a friend to temporarily escape from the heaviness in the air.

As I had never drove a 4-weel drive, I was very excited when my friend allowed me to drive the rather new Fortuna 3000cc 4-WD. I reckoned I could handle it confidently, as it is auto-geared.

As usual, we passed by the rubber plantations, the orchards, the houses and other greenery and finally stopped by the factory in a very large Shogun orange orchard.

The orchards

Shogun orange or tangerine is a widely known and popular fruit in Thailand. Betong is popular for its quality tangerine. The different sized orchards cover a total area of more than 8, 000 rai of land. It is said that Betong produces more tasteful and sweeter tangerine because of its weather and natural water. In Betong, the quality tangerines are sold between 60 Baht to 80 baht per kilogram depending on the grading or season. However, it can fetch up to 120 baht per kg in other parts of Thailand.

Though Betong is famous for its tangerine, I only bought as a gift and received as a gift. I have never bought tangerine for self-consumption as it is known that tangerine are sprayed with a lot of chemical fertilizers. We were always advised to wash the fruits before peeling with hands. Today, after looking at the tangerine processing, it eased some of my worry. The whole process involves cleaning, drying, sizing and packing in plastic containers for delivery to other parts of Thailand.


Sizing/Ready to be delivered

Due to the geographical nature of Betong, most of the tangerines here are planted in hilly areas. After the factory visit, my friend and I started our orchard exploring adventure. The orchard is very big and the one way road is very bumpy. We stopped occasionally to enjoy the scenery and to take pictures.

As I drove higher and higher up the hill I was getting uneasy. I missed the place for turning around my car and I could only drive higher and further. When we finally reach a place where I could reverse the car, I had to ask my friend to take over, as I was too nervous and panicky because of the height. However, my friend kept saying there was plenty of space and encouraged me to try on my own…The encouragement and comfort was in vain, unbelievably I couldn’t even move my leg. I was just too scared and finally burst into tears…

The way uphill, it’s truly high 😛

That ended my virgin 4-wd tour and the experience became the source of much laughter for my friends!