Imagine having a hearty lunch underneath a romantic pavilion in Indonesia and then walking your way at a leisurely pace to Bhutan by the afternoon, taking in the sights and sounds and society all around as you go. A lovely image? It’s one made possible by the Royal Flora Grounds, where entrance will get you the feeling of being transported into a botanical wonderland.
The Royal Flora Ratchaphruek, which means Golden Flower Tree in Thai, was originally a celebration of King Bhumipol’s 60th ascension to the throne. The celebration took place from November 1, 2006 up until January 31, 2007. The 3-month long festival drew millions to the floral grounds and also raised billions of baht. It was truly an ambitious festival that put Chiang Mai on the map. Although the festival may have ended, the garden is as immaculate as ever. It includes a spectacular showcase of 2,200 different species of tropical flora and 2.5 million kinds of tropical plants from all over the world. To this day, it is continuously and meticulously maintained so others will have the chance to marvel at its beauty.
The floral park is divided into different areas, some of which are the Corporate Gardens and the International Gardens known to be the Gardens for the King and the Ho Kham Royal Pavilion. The Corporate Gardens are actually funded by different state entities as well as private domestic and multinational corporations as a way to showcase growing techniques and green technologies. The International Gardens, on the other hand, were a present from 30 nations to the King. Not only did the celebration bring dozens of nations together that care for a common interest in tropical species but it also suggested good relations and trade ties with Thailand. Countries such as the Netherlands, France, Spain, Qatar, Iran, Trinidad, Tobago, Nigeria, Bulgaria, Kenya, and Vietnam are only some of the participating countries that put on a good floral show for this occasion. All presentations of the International Garden are simply spectacular, though few stand out from the rest. This includes the gardens of the Japan, Bhutan and Indonesia.
The Ho Khan Royal Pavilion is the centerpiece of the Floral Expo. Designed in the Lan Na or Northern Thailand traditional style of architecture, the gold leaf paint design is nearly blinding given just the right amount of sunlight. The Singha sculptures are all painted in ivory white, seemingly standing majestically as the guards of the pavilion. It is certainly a stunning tribute to the King and his accomplishments as a leader of the Thai people.
Entrance fees for foreign adults and children are at 100 and 50 baht respectively while Thai adult fees are 50 baht and Thai children are changed 20 baht. The Royal Flora Park is open from Tuesday to Sunday at 9:30 am to 6:00 pm. The Royal Flora Grounds is still very much an amusing attraction in Chiang Mai, what with its fascinating collection of plants and flowers not only from Thailand but from all over the globe. Make sure to stop by this magnificent piece of land and be mesmerized by its kaleidoscope of floral colors.