Gardens of Thailand
HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Herb Garden
After arriving at the Exhibition Hall, the main entrance to the HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Herb Garden leads visitors to the Lotus Pond.
Just off Highway 36 southeast of Bangkok, on the way from Chon Buri to Rayong is a quiet sanctuary of botanical treasures. The HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Herb Garden is wedge-shaped property with 20,000 herbal plants grouped into 20 sections by their use. Many of the plants represented on the 24 acres are those used in traditional Thai herbal knowledge. The gardens are designed using an array of meandering walks that gracefully unfold section after section in a pleasing voyage of discovery.
The main entrance to the HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Herb Garden.
One of many interesting plants in the herb garden, Pagoda Flower (Clerodendrum paniculatum var. paniculata)
This garden was the first herb-themed garden in Thailand, having been planted in 1984 by PTT (Public Company Limited), a Thai state-owned oil and gas company. The property was the company’s maintenance center and staff residence. PTT, with an objective to conserve and develop natural resources for future generations, gathered and planted herbs in a garden setting. One year later, the garden was presented to HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn and further development continued. In honor of the Princess’s 50th birthday in 2006, an exhibition hall was built on the property.
A great way to get a preview of the garden for first time visitors is to take the garden tram.
The garden touring bus is a great way to get an overview of the entire garden before heading out on foot to see the plants more intimately.
Make sure to take note of the nutmeg trees that were planted as commemoration of the inauguration of the herb garden on April 18th, 1985. The nutmeg tree, Myristica fragrans is important for the two important spices, nutmeg and mace from the seed of the tree, and has been used as the emblem of the garden. All the plants in the garden are well maintained and situated for optimum viewing and have very informative signage.
One of the many intimate views in the Herb Garden.
Medicinal succulents like this Euphorbia have much to teach us at the Herb Garden.
The property has an interesting gift shop that sells dried herbs, oils, tinctures and products. A fascinating place to browse or shop. This is a fantastic place to shop for unusual gifts that bring home a flavor of Thailand. Don’t shortchange yourself on time here (or in the café for a cool drink).
The gardens are open from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm every day except Monday. For more information call (66) 0-3891-5213-5.
Powderpuff flowers decorate the earth.
Exquisite statuary can be found throughout the Herb Garden.
HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Herb Garden
Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden in Chiang Mai
Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden entrance, in Mae Rim, Chiang Mai, Thailand
In a beautiful location nestled in the foothills of Doi Suthep-Pui National Park, Mae Rim in Chiang Mai province, in the northeast part of Thailand, Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden is a relative youngster among botanic gardens, having been established in 1993, but the 1,000 hectares has been planned well and shows good diversity even in its teenage years. Thais are proud of this garden, the first one in the country of international standard.
Loading the tram at the Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden entrance
The tram ride from the front gate to the greenhouse complex was a delight (it also saved us an hour uphill walk) as we snaked up the hillside past ornamental gardens, paved walking trails and native woodlands.
The greenhouse complex at Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden
The glasshouse complex has 12 houses, the biggest one having a tropical rainforest theme. Others of particular note are the arid house with quite respectable specimens of cycads, Euphorbia, cacti and succulents. The foot stool–like barrel cactus were a delight to see. The aquatic house was interesting, not what was expected to see under cover. The water plants, lotus, Victoria water lilies and more, are presented attractively in stacked round pools. Particularly colorful are the mauve vanda orchids blooming profusely in the orchid and fern house. The variegated greenhouse was quite interesting as this house contained many exciting variations of everyday plants. Around the greenhouse are beds of ornamental flowering plants, pools of water plants, a floral clock, large skyrocketing fountain, and outdoor orchid displays decorating the edge of a valley overlook.
Wax rose, Pereskia bleo in bloom beside the rainforest greenhouse in Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden
Pereskia bleo, the wax rose is a tree that has flowers similar to a brilliant scarlet semi-double hibiscus, but a closer inspection will reveal needle-like spines and that this really is a plant that belongs in the cactus family. Wax rose isn’t a desert cactus, but a leafy one that grows in the shady moist forests of Central America. It was certainly growing and flowering nicely outside the rainforest greenhouse in the foothills of Chiang Mai.
Barrel cactus in the arid greenhouse at Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden
Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden is open daily from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. Don’t miss visiting the gift shop for a few seeds, books or QSBG hats for souvenirs. For more information visit the www.qsbg.org
An orchid display decorates the valley overlook at the greenhouse complex Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden