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Bangkok Travelbug Mar 2021 Suan Sampran – back to nature
March 09, 2021

Dear friends and readers, welcome back to the Bangkok Travelbug 2021. With the pandemic affecting our travel plans, we're not visiting enough places to keep up with writing monthly issues. So, it is with regret that I have to reduce my ezines to quarterly issues, every March, June, September and December.

Luckily, we still managed to visit a place in our neighbourhood recently that gave us something to write to you about.

Sometime in January 2021, we passed Suan Sampran not far from where we lived. I thought it was a public park. When I referred to the map, I found out that there was also a riverside resort and a market in in the vicinity.

The following weekend, we decided to visit Suan Sampran. It turned out to be more than what we expected. Besides the riverside resort and market, the place has an organic farm set in a traditional Thai village that provides the foundation for an organic farming movement and other cultural and eco-friendly activities.

Let's take a closer look at Suan Sampran and explore this natural wonder.

The greenery in Suan Samphran

Contents (click on the link to go directly to the topic)

About Suan Sampran

In the early 1960s, a man and his wife were taking a boat ride along the Tha Chin River in Nakhon Pathom. They passed an area called Sampran and saw a 100-year-old Pikul* tree that was about to fall into the river owing to erosion of the river banks.

This scene of nature's gradual destruction spurred them to buy the land and build a vacation home in an attempt to preserve nature. In 1962, they started a rose garden and welcomed visitors from Bangkok wishing to take a break from the hectic city.

That garden soon became known as the Rose Garden, a popular tour in an itinerary for visitors to Bangkok.

The project started by Dr Chamnan and his wife Khunying** Valee Yuvaboon has now grown in a huge enterprise within 50 acres (20.23 hectares) of land consisting of a resort, facilities dedicated to the preservation of Nature, organic farming, a market selling organic produce and a traditional Thai village to promote eco-friendly activities.

Traditional Thai house in Suan Sampran

The management of this family enterprise, Suan Sampran has now gone into the third generation of the family.


*Pikul – Mimusops elengi or Bulletwood tree an evergreen tree known for its timber, scented flowers and edible fruits with medicinal value.

**Khunying – an aristocratic title awarded by the King to women. There are two such titles in order of precedence; Thanpuying and Khunying.


Riverside resort

The riverside resort consists of a hotel in a conventional concrete building, teak chalets in the form of traditional Thai houses and a Chinese pavilion for weddings and other functions on the banks of a huge lake.

The resort and its food and beverage outlets form an integral part of the organic and eco-friendly projects of Suan Sampran. Organic farm products for the kitchen are produced by the organic farm on site and the farmers engaged in an organic farming project started by Suan Sampran.

Rice mill in the organic farm

Waste from the resort is recycled into organic fertiliser, animal and worm feed. Used vegetable oil is recycled into biodiesel for use in the resort and its facilities. No foam or plastics are used in Suan Sampran.

The resort and its F & B outlets were closed during our visit owing to the pandemic.


Organic farming and food products

In 2014, Suan Sampran started the Sookjai Foundation to initiate the Sampran Model, a business model to foster organic farming. This model consists of 16 groups of 170 farmers who engage in organic farming.

Suan Sampran buys the organic produce from these farmers for use in the food and beverage outlets in the resort. This amounts to about 70% of their requirements. The rest are met from, the Patom Organic Farm their own 12 acre (4.84 hectares) organic farm within the grounds of Suan Sampran.

Rice fields in the organic farm

I almost mistook this for a real farmer

Buffalos are used to till the fields and their dung is used to produce fertiliser

Hay to feed the buffalos

The food and body care products made from this organic farm are marketed under the Patom Brand.

Co-located with the organic farm is the Patom Organic Village a traditional Thai village where there are workshops for visitors to learn the various aspects of organic farming. These workshops include clay pottery, garland making, banana leaf weaving.

Activities within this village will also help visitors understand the process in the production of these organic products. Unfortunately owing to the pandemic, these workshops were not conducted.

Empty workshops

Traditional Thai house in the village

In the space under the traditional Thai house there is a traditional rice mill and rattan trays for winnowing, the traditional way of separating the chaff from the grain. There is also a very interesting snippet of information on nutrition.

Traditional rice mill in the background and winnowing tray in the foreground

In the traditional method of milling rice, the harvested rice is placed in the mill together with the husks. The wheel is turned to separate the rice grains from the husks. The process to separate the grains from the husks is called milling.

The grain and chaff are placed on flat rattan trays and tossed gently in the wind which will blow away the lighter husks and leave the rice grains behind, a process called winnowing. Slow and tedious but more nutritious than the modern methods of rice milling and processing. Why?

Curious, I checked with someone familiar with the modern methods of rice milling and processing. I was surprised to learn that there are five stages to this process and each stage uses a different machine.
  1. Milling is the first stage when the freshly harvested rice grains are loaded in a machine to separate the grains from the husks. The milled rice is not white but yellow.

  2. In the second stage, the milled rice is then placed in another machine to be polished white.

  3. Thirdly, the polished rice is placed in another machine to be polished into shiny grains.

  4. Fourthly, the shiny grains are placed in a sorter to sieve out the broken and smaller grains from the bigger whole grains.

  5. Lastly the rice is placed in a colour sorter to get rid of the black or blemished grains, sand and small stones. At last, we are left with big whole grains of white shiny rice, the famous Thai fragrant jasmine rice.

  6. But all the polishing and grinding have removed most of the nutrients from the rice as compared to the traditional way of doing it.


    Organic food market

    The Sookjai Market within the grounds of Suan Sampran was started in 2010 to provide a retail outlet for the organic farmers participating in the Sampran Model to sell their organic agricultural products. It was the first facility we encountered during our visit to Suan Sampran.

    The market located in an acre of land consists of about 70 vendors selling rice, vegetables, fruits, freshly cooked food and processed food. Turnover amounts to about 3 million baht a month (about US$100,000). The market is managed by a committee elected from the vendors annually.

    The fresh fruit section

    The cooked food section and dining area – note the greenery facing the diners

    After your meal, stroll across the garden path to the Pathom Organic Café for an organic brew and desserts.

    Patom Organic Café


    Recycling and waste management

    This is a critical activity in the organic food production cycle. All food waste from the F & B outlets in Suan Sampran is made into organic fertiliser for the organic farm or used as animal feed and earthworm breeding.

    Used vegetable oil from the resort's kitchen is converted to biodiesel for use within Suan Sampran.

    Earthworm breeding is an interesting activity we came across in Suan Sampran. Earthworms are bred in soil mixed with organic food waste, cow manure, dead leaves and roots.

    Earthworm breeding

    The waste from the worms and the decomposing bodies of dead worms add to the nutrients of the soil making very good fertilisers.

    Furthermore because of the burrowing by the worms, the earth is very fine, porous and improves the drainage of the soil. The earth in which earthworms are bred is sold as fertiliser. There is also a liquid version of the fertiliser.

    Fertiliser made from earth breeding earthworms

    We bought a packet home and just a small amount did wonders to our plants in the garden.


    Preserving nature

    All the facilities in Suan Sampran are set in a huge ground filled with lush greenery. Of the 50 acres (20.23 hectares) in Suan Sampran, this huge and beautiful garden takes up 35 acres (14.16 hectares). There are flowers, fruit trees, bamboo clumps and a host of different flora making it a pleasure walking through this greenery.

    Lush greenery

    The current management of Suan Sampran have not only inherited their grandparents' love for nature, they have preserved the legacy of their grandparents as well.

    Peaceful and scenic Suan Sampran


    Map to Suan Sampran

    If the map doesn’t appear, click on this link


    Suan Sampran
    32 km Phetkasem Road
    Amphur Sampran
    Nakhon Pathom 73110


    Tel: +66 34 322 588-93
    Fax: +66 34 322 775
    Instagram: suansampran

    How to get to there

    From Bangkok – cross the Taksin Bridge – Krung Thonburi Road – Ratchapruek Road – turn left to Petchkasem Road at Bang Wa – continue on Petchkasem Road till you get to Suan Sampran

    Opening times

    Suan Sampran is open every day from 0900 – 1600 hours


    Next month

    I'm keeping the topic open to see what comes along. I'll think of something.

    See you then.

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    Eric Lim
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