Sunday, May 4, 2008

Phak Phanang - a swiftlet city like no others

Or more appropriately phrased - there is no other farming towns I've seen that comes close to Phak Phanang! Imagine you are accustomed to casinos the size in Macau, Genting, Sydney & Melbourne; awe struck by the sheer scale (both in size and numbers) of casinos in Las Vegas the first time you arrive! That was my feeling upon arrival.

Driving into the main street of town. Turn your head in any direction, you'll find bird houses in sight!

This is said to be the first house populated by swiftlet some 85 years ago! All it's windows & shop front must have been permanently closed for a long, long time! If that being true, then Thailand has a long history in swiftlets farming; may even predates Indonesia.

Every house worth converting must have been turned into a bird house! Practically all multi-storey buildings are converted.

This looks like a hotel of "yester-years" converted to a bird house.

I like the small town atmosphere here, casual and relax without hurry.

Market alley between the main street and the river.

Enjoyed a 'cafe yian' (iced coffee) & desserts by the side walk.

Fried chicken southern style are tasty too!

Gateway leading to a temple ground within. Oops, forgot to check if any birds in there.

I was told this farm (within town) produced 40kg/month 4 years ago! It's only a medium size farm in neighborhood. Your guess how many tons this town is producing now!

Bird houses gets bigger and bigger from edge of town. These are only a small sample!

Many newer farm houses are 7 storeys high. An Indonesian handbook claimed swiftlet has memories to 4 levels of nesting areas. Has it been proven wrong here?
This 7 storey farm house built by my friends P'Moo & P'Jiap from Ban Laem.

Mega size bird houses are found around outskirt of town.

The town appears thinly populated now. Many must have cashed in and moved out over the years. Land price is said to be B30,000,000 per rai here! (1 rai = 1,600 m square or 40m x 40m)

A Google satellite picture of the feeding grounds around Phak Phanang. It must be enormously rich in producing insects to support such a large bird population!

In conclusion, I don't feel able to convey my full impressions adequately here, you just got to be there to appreciate its scale & magnitude!

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