Nong Nooch Garden: Pattaya’s World Famous Tropical Botanical Garden
About 20 km from Pattaya is the Nong Nooch Village, home to the world famous Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden. A caveat here – it is not just tropical, as you will see when you go through this article. Also, it’s not just a garden, it’s much much more.
Nong Nooch’s immense popularity can be judged from the fact that over 2000 visitors from around the world visit this 500 acre garden each day.
Nong Nooch Garden Timings: 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Entry Fee: 500 THB for adults (children under 90 cm height go free)
As top class gardens go, Nong Nooch Pattaya can compare in botanical splendour with the Kew Garden of London or the Longwood garden of Philadelphia. What actually sets Nong Nooch Cultural Village apart is the array of other entertainment offered apart from what can be expected from a world class garden.
Where else will you find spectacular traditional dance shows, animal sculptures, rock arrangements, Muay Thai shows, a small zoo, a wildlife conservation project, elephant shows, martial arts demonstrations, a section dedicated to exotic Thai fruits, and therapeutic massages.
Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden: Themes
The garden layout is focused on themes. Areas are set aside for separate development of each theme. The animals sculpture garden has attractive sculpture of animals like leopards, deer, camels and lamas.
Another section is based on the pattern of the garden at the Palace of Versailles in France and is spread over 10 acres.
The Italian Garden is tastefully divided into sections by short hedges (short so that the hedge does not obstruct the overall view). Scattered over the section are beautiful statues and domed structures, which brings to mind Renaissance Italy.
Then there is the Stonehenge Garden, which includes a circular arrangements of rocks similar to the ones at the Stonehenge in the UK.
There are also separate sections for orchids, palms, desert plants, bonsai and so on.
An elevated walkway has been erected to give visitors a birds eye view of these themed gardens.
The Butterfly Hill has different colored plants grouped in circles. These circles create an image of the wings of a butterfly.
Conservationists will be interested to know that there is another section earmarked for cicadids. These plants are an endangered species and differ from other plants in that their leaves grow directly from the trunk. The Nong Nooch Tropical Garden also boast of having a gene bank of the species.
The Elephant Show and the Thai Cultural Show are two highly entertaining and colourful programs. There are several performances during the day and the visitor can plan their trip to include these. The cultural show includes the graceful beauty of Thai traditional dances. The martial arts display is equally enjoyable – though at the other end of the spectrum!
Nong Nooch Pattaya: Getting there and Exploring the Garden
If you are coming from Bangkok, you’ll have to cross Pattaya. You can take a bus from Bangkok airport to central Pattaya, and then take a taxi. Central Pattaya to Nong Nooch is about 30 min by road.
The taxi fare from Bangkok to Nong Nooch is approximately 1400 THB (including toll). As in general, do negotiate the fare in advance.
The park is huge – over 500 acres in all. It is advisable to budget for at least a full day. If you are running short of time, you can consider a shuttle service in the park, and if you do so, you can see most of the park in about 6 hours.
Consider hiring a bicycle. If you are tired of walking, you can also take a break in the form of an elephant ride (though we do not recommend it), or rent a paddle boat on a lake.
The land on which the park stands was purchased in 1954 for a plantation. Subsequently in 1980, Mrs Nongnooch, one of the purchasers, decided to use it for a botanical garden.
Since then Nong Nooch Gardens have not only become a key attraction in Pattaya, but also one of the world’s best tropical botanical gardens.