Melons and Mellow Take Root on Thailand’s ‘Watermelon Island’

TRANG — On an island filled with watermelon farmers, be the one that plants seedless ones.

Koh Sukorn, a lesser-known attraction off the coast of Trang province long known for its watermelons, Tawatchai Kaimusik has been multiplying profits with his first harvest of a new breed: large, red and devoid of seeds.

“I’m the very first one to plant this type here,” Tawatchai said. “Unlike normal watermelon plants, which can be harvested once, this one can be harvested three times.”

Sukor n island is home to about 2,500 people, including 40 watermelon farmers who work on a 150-rai (24-hectare) stretch of land. Among foreign tourists, it’s a place one can enjoy the rural lifestyle while snacking on fresh farm-grown melons – quite unlike the loud touristy vibes found in places such as Phuket.

Tawatchai planted a breed of watermelons called Happy Family, which weigh 6-12 kilograms and sell for about 20 baht per kilogram, as opposed to regular watermelons which sell for about 35 percent less.

Tawatchai says the watermelons have better yields, use less water and fertilizer and take up less space on his farm than normal watermelons, which all combined has taken his profit yields up from 6,000 baht per crop to 50,000 baht.