Green + Eco-Travel

Green Retreats

by Stephen Anderton

The garden: Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden

A tree grows in: Chonburi, Thailand

First planted: Late 20th century

Roots: Think gardens are boring? (Or, at least, do your kids?) Here is a fantastical and fun garden that even a ten-year-old would dig (they've got elephant rides, after all). Located on the idyllic northern coast of the Gulf of Thailand, this garden is pure extravagance: a powerhouse of colorful display where money was no object. That's a rare thing in great gardens today, and we have Mrs. Nongnooch to thank. Her family fortune, made in Thai cinema, has single-handedly financed the elaborate undertaking. After originally intending the land to be used as a fruit plantation, she was so inspired by a trip abroad that she decided to turn it into a tropical garden. The displays of colorful bedding are jaw-dropping (terrifying, some would say) and there are jolly flings in several garden styles: the Italian villa and cascade, the topiary garden, and the sculpture garden. There is even a version of Stonehenge—and let's not forget those elephant rides. Subtlety is not the concept here, so prepare to be wowed; it's the horticultural equivalent of Disneyland.

Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden
Tel: 66 38 709 358

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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