Yesterday, we did one of those things that often appears on lists of what to do with small children in Bangkok – take a day-trip out to Chokchai Farm. It's a dairy farm that is open to the public. The drive ought to be between 1.5-2 hours from our apartment, but it took more like 2.5-3 as a section of highway was closed (due to protesters, we gather) and we had to take a detour.
The first thing we did upon arrival at Chokchai Farm was get lunch – their burgers are excellent. They truly look just like they do in the pictures advertising the burgers at Chokchai Farm. Lunch was definitely a highlight, though Madeline wasn't overly keen on eating the hotdog she's ordered, but that's just because she was being Madeline. The second thing we did was sign up for the tour.
The tour is where things started to get interesting. There are no English-language tours, but one of the staff managed to tell us that there would be English subtitles for parts of it.
The first stop on the tour was about the history of the farm (the DVD shown did have subtitles), and we left that thinking that the tour was 40-60 minutes long.
Madeline, I think, spent the entire tour waiting for ice cream, which we'd promised at the end of the tour. So, she sat through that rather graphic DVD in the Artificial Insemination Center on how little cows are made (considering what the subtitles read, I was glad that the presentation was in Thai) and patiently waited while our tour stopped at the milking parlour. Madeline was a little excited to see how cows are milked, but since I am breastfeeding Sadie, the place made me a little uncomfortable. The next stop on the tour was a building where the milk is pasteurized and ice cream is made. After walking across the hot pavement a few times, it was nice to sit somewhere that was chilly. We'd been following along for about forty minutes at this point, so I was surprised to be herded out of the pasteurization facility and into carts drawn by large tractors.
The tractors took us around to see some cows in actual fields. It also stopped by a large field of sunflowers, which was very pretty, and Madeline grudgingly posed so that we could snap a few photos. Sadie merely chewed on the Chokchai farm souvenir pouch that was a freebie on the tour. So … we were finished up now, right? Sadie was getting progressively more hungry.
No! There's more! Our tractor pulled us over to another set of buildings, with a playground, a place to buy drinks/ice cream/souvenirs, Old West-style carnival games, pony rides, and a cowboy show. After about forty minutes to an hour, we were back on the tractors, heading back.
But wait. There's more – we were stopped at another venue. There was a farm history museum (really, a collection of antique fans, record players, radios, and telephones), and a stage for a show featuring dogs doing things that dogs don't normally do, like jumping rope. I groaned when I saw the petting zoo, but Madeline had a great time feeding bunnies and small deer beans, carrots, and leeks. The sheep, however, were not as cute. The mangy things must not get a lot of petting zoo attention because anytime anyone came near them with a carrot there were trying to leap out of their pen. And I cannot comment on why there were camels at a petting zoo. Thankfully, there was a place to wash hands on site.
At least three hours must have elapsed by the time the animals show was over. We were all really tired and sticky. Thankfully, the next time the tractor and it's carts stopped, we were back at the beginning, where our car was parked. Three-and-half hours, one detour, and one stop to feed a hysterical baby later, we were home.