The Big Bee gets under your bonnet
You’ve decided to take a weekend in Pattaya from Bangkok and figure you’ve seen just about all there is to see in the seaside resort. What about just outside, on the way in to Pattaya? Well, if you’re coming down in the direction of the Regent’s School you’ll start seeing signs for something called the Big Bee Farm. Follow them because it’s worth a few hours of your time, especially if you happen to be getting into Pattaya two or three hours before midday and the kids are starting to get restless.
The Big Bee Farm is, as the name might suggest, a farm containing bees. It opened in early 2010 and is operated by the Thepprasit Honey Shop. Spread across 10 rai, the Big Bee Farm is both a conventional business selling honey and an educational centre, the largest of its type in Thailand. The Thepprasit Honey Shop itself was founded in 1999, concentrating on bee products from the north of Thailand.
Apart from the beehives, there is a museum dedicated to the history of Thai bees and honey collection and production as well as what they term a honey-bee ecology garden. The captions are rendered in Thai and English.
If you’re hungry there’s a restaurant selling Thai food with honey-based items including, believe it or not, chocolate and rice crackers, all with honey as an ingredient.
The main reason to get here early, or later in the afternoon, is for the hourly show. A man with little respect for his body and safety does a ‘show’ which consists of him placing a Queen Bee on his chest. This attracts literally hundreds of other bees which cling to him, and before it gets too hot, he allows them to congregate on his face. During the heat of the day the bees can get too agitated for him to allow them to use his face as landing zone, so he restricts them to the rest of his body. So, if you want to see what a man looks like with his face covered in bees, get there in the morning. It’ll wow the kids.
You can, should you wish, book a do-it-yourself honey class where you can collect the honey from the hives, or let yourself undergo some bee acupuncture therapy, known as apitherapy. Its adherents claim it can help with arthritis and gout and does wonders for the endocrine system.
For more information, look up their website: www.bigbeefarm.com or call them on 038 172 001.