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The Royal Chitralada Projects are in a class by themselves and have become almost a legend in their own time. They are now 35 years old, and the Royal Palace compound is about to burst its fences!

Thai people have become accustomed, after more than three decades, to have a farm within their King's palace grounds, but foreign visitors are sometimes surprised to learn that the King of Thailand "lives on a farm" in the heart of the capital city.

Year by year the palace grounds change as old projects are relocated to different parts of the compound to make room for new ones growing plants and trees, or buildings to accommodate research or simply to expand - as the interesting tissue culture laboratory has done several times. It just keeps growing!

Oddly enough, despite all the many workers tending to assorted jobs, the project area is usually a peaceful and relaxing place - except, perhaps, for the crows who find a safe haven there and loudly boast about it! The air smells fresher there. Even with traffic almost constant on all four sides of the compound - perhaps the many huge old trees now sharing space with younger and smaller ones and the several ponds help in this.

Some of the older projects located there are forestry, rice planting, rice mills, a dairy farm. and fresh and dry milk processing plants. Newer ones include a cheese factory, the already mentioned tissue culture laboratory, juice and vegetable canning plants, mushroom culture, composting, and Sa paper and beeswax-candle making plants. New buildings have been added for the Golden Jubilee.

Every year thousands of people visit and tour the Royal Chitralada Projects. Some are farmers who come to learn. Most are excited about being inside the Palace grounds.

Other groups of visitors include bus-loads of teachers and children in school uniforms. Long lines of blue and white follow the paths leading to different parts of the projects - all of the students busily taking notes. for they know they will be questioned about what they have seen, and perhaps be assigned essays to be written about their tour.

For whatever reason one is privileged to enjoy a tour of the Royal Chitralada Projects; it is an occasion to be amazed, to wonder. to learn. and to enjoy the beautiful surroundings - truly a home "fit for a King".