Nong Nooch tropical garden close to Pattaya is the largest botanical garden in South East Asia.
Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden is a 500-acre (2.0 km2) botanical garden and tourist attraction at kilometer 163 on Sukhumvit Road in Chonburi Province, Thailand. It can be reached via bus, taxi or private land transportation. It is also a major scientific center dedicated to cycads, with its own Cycad Gene Bank.
Pisit and Nongnooch Tansacha purchased the 600-acre (2.4 km2) plot of land in 1954 with the intentions of developing the land as a fruit plantation. However, the owners instead decided to plant tropical flowers and plants as a wildlife conservation project. The garden opened to the public in 1980, and management was transferred to Pisit and Nongnooch's son Kampon Tansacha in 2001. The garden currently fills 500 out of the 600 acres (2.4 km2).
The garden focus on Southeast Asian, Tropical American and Central Africa species of Cycads, but a collection of almost every species can also been seen here. In connection with Conservation agencies the gardens cycad collections serves as an important ex situ conservation site for this endangered and ancient plant group.
On-going and continuing research at the garden concerning taxonomy and horticultural use has increased the knowledge about this plant group worldwide.The Cycad genebank is managed by Mr. Anders J.Lindstrom, a world-renowned expert in cycads.
In addition to examining the wildlife, tourists experience religious ceremonies, martial arts demonstrations, massages, and elephant shows. There are also two restaurants, a small zoo and a hotel with a swimming pool and Thai style rental houses on the grounds.
Photo by Aleksasfi
Equally fascinating are species-specific gardens, such as cactus and succulent plants, orchid nurseries, tropical palm gardens, bonsai and topiary garden.
The entire park is open from 8am – 6pm 7 days a week with restaurants open until 10 pm 365 days a year – including public holidays.
Due to its vast landscape, it’s unlikely that you will hit all the attractions within Nong Nooch Garden by walking alone. It’s a good idea to rent a bicycle and explore the garden at a leisurely pace. Don’t miss the orchid nurseries which house more than 670 native species and hybrids all in one place – the largest collection in the country. Showcasing exotic-shaped leaves and blossoms, the cactus and succulent plants garden is both educational and eye-opening.