Dubbed ‘The Burning Man of the East,’ Wonderfruit Festival brings a welcome break to the out-of-season festival drought.
There’s nothing quite like it in South East Asia with its blend of hedonism, escapism and global music. Attendees jet in from all around the world; it’s a mix of the fashionable Bangkok set, dance music lovers from across Asia, Hong Kong and Singapore ex pats and the international festival tribe.
Wonderfruit is a sustainable pop-up city, set over the fields of the Siam Country Club near Pattaya. The festivals founder, Pete Phornprapha, started the festival with the aim of changing the world primarily by creating a ‘sustainable creative experience’ for the 20,000 festival goers and influencing them to take this ethos home with them.
Wonderfruit’s carbon footprint is neutral and its impressive stages are built from sustainable materials such as bamboo and hemp. Even using the simplest local materials the festival has created a spectacular backdrop for the four-day party.
What to see
You cannot miss Polygon the spectacular 3D sound stage and with sound and visuals like you’ve never experienced before. The daily lineup begins with a beautiful and immersive sound bath followed by a range of live performances and underground DJ sets. Techno legend Be Svendsen will play at Polygon and will take you on a deep and experimental journey. Also keep an eye out for sets from Berlin’s Martha Van Straaten and London based DJ Hugo Heathcote and one of the founders of Polygon. You’ll find yourself continuously drawn back to this stage over the weekend and each time you return your experience will be completely unique.
The Quarry is a beautiful stage ‘where beats meet nature’ curated by tech house giant and founder of Houghton festival Craig Richards. Make sure you catch Craig’s own set as well as catching Sonja Moonear whose sets are often the highlight of any festival. Expect sophisticated minimal techno blended with deep, dubby house.
Packed up and sent over straight from the Black Rock Desert after its use at Burning Man, The Solar Stage is built using interlocking wooden panels which all balance perfectly with no need for screws or bolts. Still able to take the weight of hundreds of people dancing and relaxing on it, it’s the perfect spot for sunset and sunrise and has become the spiritual home of the festival. Don’t miss Four Tet’s set at the Solar Stage – it will be magical.
When you’re not listening to music or dancing there are endless activities. Open your mind and listen to perspective shifting talks at the Eco Pavilion or indulge in an alternative therapy session in the Wonder Ness, try Yam Khang also known as Thai Fire Therapy – not as terrifying as it sounds! You can also try an energy collecting session, a water ceremony, crystal gong bath, mystic meditation and so much more.
Where to eat
Each evening you can attend a special communal dinner in the stunning restaurant Theatre of Feasts. On the first night Michelin Starred Bangkok restaurant 80/20 will serve a sustainable seafood supper.
The following evening Internationally renowned Bo.Lan restaurant in Bangkok will present a sumptuous Thai-Sri Lankan Wonder Feast and on Sunday you can join a plant-based brunch with Haoma using all low impact home grown and seasonal ingredients. Each banquet comes with free-flowing wine to get you loosened for the remainder of the day. If it’s more off the cuff eating you’re after, you’ll find every form of street food stall from burgers, Sri Lankan curries, the best pad Thai you’ll ever try and other local treats.
Where to stay
There is general camping or you can park an RV. With soaring temperatures, you’re likely to bake if you’re going to sleep in during the day so boutique is a comfortable option so you don’t have to wake up early. The standard boutique set up is a bell tent similar to those found at UK festivals but with much welcomed set of fans or an air conditioning unit (depending on what you book) with two double beds, luxury showers and loos. You’ll stay cool and happy in the tropical surroundings with the bell tents dotted in between palm trees. The setting is stunning.
Camp Kerala, Glastonbury’s most luxurious campsite, is also an option although it will set you back £10K for two people. This includes a 24-hour bar and room service and you’ll be staying in a beautiful tent made from materials which have been handmade in India. The famous campsite is family run and these Brits will look after your every whim, including ferrying you around the grounds and making you ice cold cocktails to quench your thirst.
What to pack
It is boiling during the day and with so much going on at night (plus the jetlag) you may well become more of a night owl. Pack light clothes and comfy shoes for exploring the festival grounds. It’s a pretty relaxed and eclectic crowd, some people dress like it’s Burning Man, some like it’s Coachella and others in t-shirt and shorts. There’s no festival uniform as such.
A kimono is ideal for the evening. Save some room in your bag for the little shopping village, and head to the kimono store where you’ll find some amazing handmaid pieces straight from Japan.
Keep an eye out for Pearl & Celeste, a giant puppet ballet. You’ll find them dancing around the Solar Stage at sun set.
Have a ride on one of the stunning horse bicycles designed by Attaphol Sudawannasuk, which are made from recycled and culturally significant materials dedicated to the Great Thai King of Thonburi.
Find The Cheese Shack if you fancy a bit of karaoke, it’s inside a tree and based on Tokyo’s underground karaoke bars.
Wonderfruit Festival runs from December 12-16, 2019 at the Siam Country Club; 50 Moo 9, Pong, Bang Lamung, Chonburi 20150, Thailand.