11 Exotic Fruits of Thailand That You Should Try
Thailand’s tropical climate and fertile soil is ideal for growing some of the world’s most delicious and exotic fruits. You’ll see fruits stalls in every corner of the country. You’ll also see people walking along busy streets, chomping on colourful, and, at times, weird-looking Thai fruits.
Yes, some fruits of Thailand look strange – take for example the alien looking ‘Dragon Fruit’, the spiky ‘Durian’, and the enormous ‘Jackfruit’ – but they all are ‘aroy dee’ (delicious in Thai).
While many visitors rarely go beyond mango, pineapple, watermelon, and papaya at their hotel breakfast buffet, other rarer fruits of Thailand are well worth tasting.
(Though the main fruit season in Thailand is from April to July, you should be able to try most Thai fruits year round. They are easily available and inexpensive. Prices vary by season, location, and whether you buy them at a fruit market or from a street vendor – pealed, packed, and ready to eat).
1 – Mangosteen (Mangkut) – National Fruit of Thailand
Mangosteen – Thailand’s national fruit – is also known as the ‘Queen of Fruits’. The soft juicy white pulpy fruit inside the hard purple cover is an absolute delight to the taste buds. Locals often eat this refreshing fruit after meals as it helps get rid of bad breath and unwanted taste.
Mangosteen has a short shelf life and is therefore difficult to find outside Southeast Asia. In fact, legend has it that Queen Victoria had kept a reward of 100 Pounds for whoever could bring her fresh purple Mangosteen. Mangosteen’s sweet and slightly tangy flavour, and pleasant smell makes it one of Thailand’s most loved fruits.
Mangosteen Season in Thailand: May – August
Cost of Mangosteen:
- From Fruit Market: 45-50 Baht per kg ($1.5 per 2.2 lbs) in season, 100 Baht ($3) out of season.
- From Street Vendor: 50 Baht ($1.5) for about 8 pieces.
Top 5 Mangosteen Health Benefits:
Rich source of anti-oxidants and vitamins, boosts immunity, has high anti-inflammatory properties, helps regulate blood pressure, and is great for skin.
2 - Durian (Turian) – The Stinky Fruit in Thailand
The ‘King of Fruits’, Durian is the most controversial fruit on earth. It looks like a weapon and smells terrible. In fact, durian smells so foul that it is banned in some hotels, flights, taxis, and buses in Thailand. (Durian is banned in some countries as well so don’t try to take it back home).
The unique taste of durian is difficult to describe – you’ll either love it or hate it. Actually, there is a very high chance that you’ll dislike durian the first few times you eat it. You’ll need to develop a taste for it. And, this is why most foreigners hate durian while most locals love it. Here are some fun facts about durian.
Durian Season in Thailand: April – September
Cost of Durian:
- From Fruit Vendor: 250 Baht for 250 grams ($7 per 0.5 lbs). Overripe durians are much cheaper than raw ones. It’s best to try a little before you buy a big one from the market.
Top 5 Durian Health Benefits:
Great source of energy, acts as a natural anti-depressant, good for bones and teeth, delays aging, and ensures that your digestive system stays healthy.
3 - Mango (Mamuang) - Thailand’s Favourite Fruit
The refreshing, sweet and delicious Thai Mango is in a class of its own. No wonder it is Thailand’s most popular fruit. Thai people love raw green mango with sugar, salt and chilly as a snack, and ripe mango with sticky rice and coconut milk as a dessert.
There are many different varieties of Mangoes in Thailand. Generally, orange Mangoes are juicy and sweet, while yellow mangoes are not as juicy and their texture is drier.
Mango Season in Thailand: April – June
Cost of Mango:
- From Fruit Market: 35-40 Baht per kg ($1.2 per 2.2 lbs).
- From Street Vendor: 35 Baht per 250 grams ($1 per 0.5 lbs) – peeled, cut and packed.
Top 5 Mango Health Benefits:
Helps in digestion, boosts immunity, promotes eye health, lowers cholesterol, and aids weight loss.
4 – Pineapple (Sapparod) – Thailand’s Most Produced Fruit
Thailand is the world’s largest producer and exporter of pineapple. You’ll find pineapple growing across the country, especially in the sandy soil near the ocean. The tastiest Thai pineapple variety is called ‘Siratcha’. These have larger, flatter diamond patterns and are sweeter and juicier than the other varieties.
Pineapple Season in Thailand: April – June / November – January
Cost of Pineapple:
- From Street Vendor: 35 Baht ($1) for a big pineapple. No point taking pineapples from a wholesale shop and cutting them yourself – unless you know what you are doing.
Top 5 Pineapple Health Benefits:
Boosts immune system, improves bone strength, rich source of vitamin C, helps in blood clot reduction, and provides relief from common cold and sinus inflammation.
5 – Rambutan (Ngor) – Thailand’s Most Popular Fruit Overall
The name Rambutan is derived from Rambut, which means hair. Rambutan is very popular with Thais and foreigners alike. Spiky green fibres and red skin guard the soft delicious whitish fruit that is eaten. There are two varieties of this red hairy fruit in Thailand: Rambutan Rong Rien, which is sweater, and Rambutan Chompou, which is not as tasty but cheaper.
Rambutan Season in Thailand: May – September
Cost of Rambutan:
- From Fruit Shop: 35 Baht per kg ($1 per 2.2 lbs).
- From Street Vendor: 35 Baht for 10 pieces.
Top 5 Rambutan Health Benefits:
Decreases unwanted fat, rich in iron and vitamin C, hydrates skin and hair, improves heart health, and enhances bone health.
6 - Dragon Fruit (Gao Mungorn) – Strangest Looking Fruit in Thailand
Originally from Central America, the tennis ball size dragon fruit (also called Pittya) grows on a cactus tree. Dragon Fruit doesn’t have a strong flavour but its appeal – at least to us – lies in its rather strange appearance. The exterior rind is bright pink, with green scales protruding from it. The white flesh inside with hundreds of black polka-dots is the part that’s eaten. While the white fruit is most common, you can also find purple and yellow dragon fruit.
Dragon Fruit Season in Thailand: May – August
Cost of Dragon Fruit:
- From Fruit Market: 60 Baht per kg ($1.8 per 2.2 lbs).
- From Street Vendor: 35 Baht per 200 grams ($1 per 0.4 lbs) – cut and packed.
Top 5 Dragon Fruit Health Benefits:
High in nutrients, loaded with fibre, promotes a healthy gut, strengthens immune system, and boosts iron levels.
7 – Thai Banana (Gluay) – Cheapest Fruit in Thailand
Over 20 different types of bananas are grown in Thailand. They vary in size, colour, and sweetness. Thai people have bananas dried, boiled, fried, served in coconut milk, and raw. Thai bananas are much sweeter than those found in most countries and they are often used in desserts.
Banana Season in Thailand: All year round
Cost of Thai Banana:
From Fruit Market: 30 Baht ($0.90 for 12-15 small bananas).
Top 5 Thai Banana Health Benefits:
Rich in potassium and fibre, helps control blood pressure and reduces risk of stroke, aids in digestion, powerhouse of nutrients, and helps cure hangovers.
8 – Guava (Farang) – Our Favourite Thailand Fruit
Thai guavas are unbeatable in taste. You’ll see raw guavas – Thai people don’t care much for ripe ones – being sold in streets with a packet of salt, sugar and chilly (used as a dip). At times, you might notice that some guavas are unnaturally bright green. They have probably been soaked in a sugar dye solution. You should avoid them. Instead, buy normal looking guavas from a fruit shop.
Guava Season in Thailand: All year round
Cost of Guava:
- From Fruit Market: 35 Baht per kg ($1 per 2.2 lbs)
- From Street Vendor: 20 Baht ($0.65) for a large guava
Top 5 Guava Health Benefits:
Great source of vitamin C, boosts immunity, lowers risk of cancer, improves eyesight, and alleviates toothache.
9 – Jackfruit (Khanoon) – Largest Fruit of Thailand
Thailand’s massive jackfruit can cross over 35 kgs (77 lbs) in weight and 2.5 feet in length. Jackfruit has a distinctive aroma and succulent taste. Pealing the fruit can be quite a task, and, for this reason, it’s best to buy packed and ready to eat jackfruit. The yellowish edible part is usually eaten raw, although some Thais like to fry it in batter.
Jackfruit Season in Thailand: October – May
Cost of Jackfruit:
From Street Vendor: 40 Baht per 250 grams ($1.2 per 0.4 lbs) – cut and packed.
Top 5 Jackfruit Health Benefits:
Cures skin diseases and is great for wrinkles, replenishes energy, prevents anaemia, helps build muscle, and aids in digestion.
10 – Rose Apple (Chom Poo) – Thailand’s Prettiest Fruit
Thailand’s rose apples look beautiful (just like the Thai actress by the same name) and smell like roses. Most rose apples are bright red, but you can find orange, pink and green ones as well. Rose apples are extremely refreshing and have a slightly sweet taste. They are eaten fresh, with a salt and sugar dip. Rose apples spoil very quickly so you’ll have to finish them in a day.
Rose Apple Season in Thailand: December – September
Cost of Rose Apple:
- From Fruit Market: 60 Baht per kg ($1.9 per 2.2 lbs)
- From Street Vendor: 40 – 50 Baht ($1.5) for 3 pieces.
Top 5 Rose Apple Health Benefits:
Helps detoxify the liver, improves digestion, boosts immunity, lowers cholesterol, and eliminates fungal and bacterial infections.
11 - Coconut (Mapraow) – Healthiest Fruit of Thailand
There is nothing quite as refreshing as cold coconut water in Thailand’s hot and humid weather. Thai coconut juice is amazing. And, once you have finished the juice, you can request the vendor to split open the coconut to enjoy the soft white fruit inside.
Coconut Season in Thailand: All year round.
Cost of Coconut:
- 25 Baht ($0.80) per coconut.
Top 5 Coconut Health Benefits:
‘Superfood’ and ‘coconut’ are two words that are often used together in the health lexicon. It is believed that if you were stranded on an island and had only coconut water to drink and coconut pulp to eat, you should do fine (health wise).
Coconuts support immune system, quickly energises and hydrates the body, improves digestion and absorption of nutrients, is great for the skin and hair, and helps with overall health.
Other Popular Thai Fruits
Watermelon is another very popular fruit of Thailand. If you haven’t tried it yet, you’ll get to taste this refreshing fruit in your breakfast buffet.
You’ve probably tried lychee. This sweet fruit grows in Thailand from August to October.
A less popular sibling of lychee and rambutan, longan is a sub-tropical fruit that grows in Northern Thailand. Nearly 95% of Thai longan is exported, making it Thailand’s second most exported fruit (after pineapple).
A great thirst quencher, native to Thailand.
Custard Apple (Noi Na):
This fruit tastes much like custard, and is best split in half and eaten with a spoon.
Snake Fruit (Sala):
The name comes from the hard, brittle shell. The fruit is sweet and sour at the same time.
In addition to trying all these mouth-watering tropical fruits, you’ll also be able to enjoy a variety of fruit juices in Thailand. Orange juice is the most popular.
The fruits of Thailand make a refreshing snack and keep you hydrated. So enjoy them when you can.
If you are looking for more information on fruits, here are 2 interesting articles:
More things to do in Thailand.
What’s your favourite Thai fruit? Do let us know in the comments section below.