Nong Nooch Tropical Garden
Even if you have zero interest in farming, gardening, horticulture, and all things related to botany or the science of growing greenery, you won’t be disappointed when you acquiesce to allow family members or your newly minted Thai friends to drag you kicking and screaming to Nong Nooch Tropical Garden – one of Pattaya City’s most popular attractions
By Brian Stewart
World renowned Nong Nooch Tropical Garden is best described as the biggest, the best and the most beautiful botanical garden in all of Southeast Asia. Residing on nearly 2.5 square kilometers, or some 600 acres of Pattayan real estate, the visitors will encounter innumerable varieties of exotic and rare plants and flowers. Whilst roaming the immaculate footpaths that meander amongst the well kept grounds, guests will pass through areas inhabited with species of flora and fauna that are specific to a single theme of growing things, like palms, orchids, Cacti and Succulents, which are sometimes known as “Fat Plants”. Other sections contain shrubbery and perennials that are unique to a single region of the world, such as Stonehenge or a French Garden to name a few. It’s also possible to get a bird’s eye view of the immense garden, as there are a number of elevated walkways which bisect the park offering one and all an amazing vista from above.
Sowing the seeds
Noon Nooch came to life over half a century ago when Khun Pisit and Nongnooch Tanscacha purchased a plot of land near the sleepy fishing village of Pattaya way back in 1954. The couple did this with the notion of developing the land into a fruit plantation. Somewhere along the way their plan went astray as the duo instead started a conservation project that was dedicated to tropical plants and flowers. In 1980, their life’s work in the form of a vibrant, flourishing garden was opened to the public. Since then, an impressive array of spectacular live shows, entertaining wildlife exhibits, exciting martial arts demonstrations, and educational seminars on all thing Thai, such as its culture, its history, its religion and its cuisine have been strategically added to the lush beauty of the botanical garden.
Shows and exhibits
Two of the most popular attractions at Nong Nooch Garden are the live shows; one of which takes place in a large indoor auditorium, the other outdoors in a small stadium. Viewers of the Thai cultural show are awed by the mesmerizing crash course given on just about every aspect of Thai culture and history. Performed four times every day, nothing has been omitted from the extravaganza that features hundreds of musicians, athletes and performers. During the hour and a half performance the audience gets a glimpse at a traditional Thai wedding ceremony, an earful of ethnic music and an eyeful of native dances from across the nation, a demonstration of Muay Thai kick boxing and a recreation of one of Thailand’s most historic battles. Visitors who catch one of the three daily outdoor elephant shows never fail to be amused by Thailand’s revered elephants as they portray footballers, dancers, artists, and comedians.
Hotel and houses available
If you wish to extend your stay at the garden, a variety of accommodations, ranging from a lakeside hotel with a swimming pool to Thai style houses are available right on the grounds of Nong Nooch Tropical Garden. When your stomach informs you that it’s time to eat, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a day tripper or in for the long haul as you can satisfy your hunger at one of the garden’s many restaurants and cafes that serve both Thai and Western specialities. When you’re not exploring the garden, you can pedal across the garden’s lake in a swan shaped boat, or experience the relaxing touch of a traditional Thai massage, after shopping for gifts and souvenirs at the park’s shopping mall.
Nong Nooch Tropical Garden is situated approximately 19 kilometers south of Pattaya City proper. It is easy to navigate to Nong Nooch Garden by heading south on Sukhumvit Road and then turning left at kilometer marker number 63. Nong Nooch is open from 8 am until 6 pm every day. The admission price includes entry to all of its shows.