We had a nice family vacation in Pattaya, Thailand the first time but we didn’t really get to see the town since we stayed the whole time in the sprawling Royal Cliff Beach Hotel which was quite far from the rest of civilization.
I visited Pattaya again to say hello to 2017 and was finally able to feel the lively pulse of the place. Absolutely loved the cheap eats, the accessible transport and the beaches very near the hotel where one can commune with the rest of the sunbathing tourists.
But perhaps the highlight was the day trip to Nong Nooch Botanical Tropical Garden which was beautiful, lush and definitely Instagrammable in all directions. This night as well be Asia’s version of the Keukenhof Gardens which I had the good fortune of visiting while in the Netherlands.
Japan also has the Hitachi Seaside Park near Tokyo and Dubai has its Miracle Garden but I think Nong Nooch has more plants rather than flowers compared to these places. Still, it doesn’t disappoint.
The tropical garden is all of 500 acres and one would be well advised to get a map at the entrance to save time. In town, a trip to Nong Nooch can be easily booked through a travel agent (more expensive) but if you are doing the trip yourself, here are the entrance fees (in Thai baht) –
For an extra price, tourists have the option of including the Thai cultural and elephant shows, but I thought seeing the gardens was enough. Food is also affordable around the venue, at only 50 baht per delicious Thai dish 🙂
Before entering the compound, I saw these giant replicas of fruits (which I forgot to take a picture of) and life-size figures of giraffes. Welcome to Africa.
The first part was the Pottery Garden which showed exquisite Thai craftsmanship in making figures and structures out of pots.
Rock formations and the heart-shaped Happy New Year 2017 topiaries ….
These designs reminded me it will soon be Valentine’s Day…
The London-style telephone booths back to back with palm trees in the European Garden was quite ironic, but the sight was overall refreshing. If only the weather wasn’t a bit humid, this would be the perfect place to take a stroll or walk….
My favorite part was the French Garden. I just found it breathtaking. The Asian influence was present because there were temples surrounding it.
The StoneHenge Garden looked very nice as well. It would have been more imposing if the stone structures were bigger.
Part of the Mammoth Garden…
The Flamingo Garden…
Butterfly Hill. This was the area most populated with flowers.
You may not opt to watch the Elephant show, but you can always catch a live crossing of elephants…
The Car Garden located in a separate building was a bit out of theme for Nong Nooch, but sports and luxury car lovers will surely find this a treat. There are 60 cars in there, in the category of unique, vintage, expensive from Cadillacs to Porsches, Mercedes and Bimmers. They are part of the substantial collection of Nong Nooch owner Kampon Tansacha.
Four hours is enough to visit Nong Nooch, though you can easily spend a whole day in here. It has a lot of food and souvenir stalls as well as coffee shops, so no chance to get bored. Don’t forget to greet these piggies….
You can also do a live feeding of animals….
I highly recommend this place as a stopover or an alternative to the usual shopping trip in Bangkok. Pattaya is about 1.5 to hours by bus or car from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport.
On the web: www.nongnoochtropicalgarden.com
Najomtien District, Sattahip, Chonburi, Thailand
Opening hours: Monday to Sunday – 8am to 6pm