Vanilla is an orchid and can nowadays be grown without problems in Thailand and Laos. Naturally we also have vanilla plants on display and for sale at Discovery Garden Pattaya and Nong Khai. Historically Mexico had a vanilla monopoly until 1841 when a 12 year old slave had a very simple but effective idea.
The growing of vanilla is not so terribly difficult in tropical countries like Thailand and Laos. You just let them climb up a tree, pole or wall and keep them moist. This is easily achieved by regularly spraying them with water and fertilizer.
But you should not fertilize your Thai and Lao vanilla heavily near the ground since the roots there are easily damaged. And when they reach a height of about 2 meters you should turn them around so they will to grow downwards again.
Mexico had a highly profitable monopoly for vanilla, but with the beginning of the 19th Century other tropical farmers tried to grow vanilla in their colonies. That was not so difficult, the plants grew well and flowered too. But there was no yield. The vanilla spice is produced from the namesake seed pods, but outside of Mexico the growers were not able to grow those precious seed pods.
There is only one specific bee native to Mexico that can naturally pollinate the vanilla flower. Only in 1841 Edmond Albius in Reunion, a 12 year old slave, developed a simple and effective way of hand pollinating the vanilla flower which flourishes only one day. I have seen the method in Mexico where nowadays the commercial growers also use that simple trick since it increases the yield considerably.
So if you want to grow your own vanilla in Thailand or Laos you just take a tooth pick and cut the flower open on the side. Thus you enable the pollination of your vanilla plant.
Since you need to hand pollinate your vanilla plants, hinder them to climb higher than 2 meters by reversing them.
Now you just wait a while and you can enjoy your own home grown Thai and Lao vanilla. We always have vanilla plants for sale at Discovery Garden Pattaya and Nong Khai.