Royal Flora Ratchaphruek is a horticultural exhibition in the city of Chiang Mai where visitors can admire thousands of species of trees and flowers on 80 hectares of landscaped gardens. The park is named after Thailand’s national flower Ratchaphruek (Cassia fistula or golden shower tree) with its beautiful yellow blossom. One of the park’s highlights is the orchid pavilion with its countless species of orchids in many colors.
International flower festival
In 2006 the Royal Flora Ratchaphruek opened its doors when an international flower festival was held to celebrate the 60th anniversary of King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s (Rama IX) accession to the throne. Now open all year, the park’s well kept grounds feature a large number of beautiful botanical gardens each with a specific theme, indoor exhibitions, ponds with lotus flowers and the Ho Kham Royal Pavilion at the center of the park.
Ho Kham Royal Pavilion
The Ho Kham, meaning “gilded hall”, a beautiful teak wooden building with a multi tiered roof and golden chofahs adorning the roofs ends showcases the traditional architecture of the Lanna Kingdom, the empire that ruled most of present day North Thailand in previous centuries.
Visitors can get around on foot, rented bicycle or electric bus. The open busses drive around the park at regular intervals and stop at “bus stops”. Visitors can hop on and off at any time they want. Take an umbrella or wear a hat, as shady areas are limited. Another large botanical garden is Nong Nooch tropical gardens in Pattaya.
Royal Flora exhibitions
The first Royal Flora Ratchaphruek was held in 2006 to celebrate the 60th anniversary of King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s accession to the throne. The event featured Thai tropical gardens, international gardens from several dozen countries including Japan, Canada, South Korea and Belgium, cultural shows with traditional dance and music and the Ho Kham Royal Pavilion.
The second edition in 2011 was held to commemorate the King’s 84th birthday, Queen Sirikit’s 80th birthday and Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn’s 60th birthday. Apart from the horticultural exhibition the event featured a Kid’s Eco Park where children learn about the environment and climate change, a large Ferris wheel called the “Giant flora wheel” as well as an exhibition about the Royal Projects around the country set up to improve the living conditions of poor farmers.
How to get to Royal Flora Ratchaphruek
The botanical gardens are located near the Chiang Mai night safari in Mae Hia subdistrict, about 12 kilometers South West of downtown Chiang Mai. A tuk tuk ride from downtown Chiang Mai should cost about 200 Thai Baht.
Admission & opening hours
Royal Flora Ratchaphruek opens daily from 8 am until 6 pm. The park is best visited early morning or late afternoon to avoid the midday heat. Entrance fee is 100 Thai Baht per person. Visitors can rent a bicycle or use an electric tram at 20 Baht per person. During low season availability of food is limited.