The Royal Flora Ratchaphruek Expo 2011-2012

As the Royal Flora Ratchaphruek Expo kicks off (Dec 14), Top Koaysomboon checks out the highlights at Southeast Asia’s largest horticulture exposition.

One of the grandest events of the year’s travel calendar, the Royal Flora Ratchaphruek honors the 84th birthday of HM the King this year, and HM the Queen’s 80th and HM Crown Prince’s 60th birthdays next year, while imparting awareness about climate change’s impact on plant life. In addition to national gardens and an entomology exhibit, this year’s Royal Flora Ratchaphruek, set at the 450-rai Ratchapruek Park in Mar Hia district in Chiang Mai, also has three new sections: the Imagination Light Garden, Giant Flora Wheel and Kid’s Eco Park.


Imagination Light Garden

Sat next to the main entrance, in front of the Haw Kham Luang Royal Pavilion, is this year’s most exciting addition. It sees artificial flowers and butterflies lit up by millions of lights at night, together with a colorful light and music showcase. All the lights are powered by solar cells, in accordance with the event’s eco theme.

Giant Flora Wheel

Next to the Royal Pavilion is a 40-meter-tall ferris wheel, offering an aerial view of the entire park.

Kid’s Eco Park

Perfect for families, the Kid’s Eco Park teaches children about the environment through interactive multimedia exhibition and animations.


The International Garden Zone features individual plots from 30 different countries. Here are our favorites.


Probably one of the most beautiful gardens, the Bhutanese garden resembles a temple, which in Bhutan are often situated on steep hills. The garden is surrounded by a high wall painted with traditional motifs. Sitting at the top of the garden is an altar housing a sacred Sri Sakayamuni Buddha image. You’ll also see the blue poppy, Bhutan’s national flower.


Imagine yourself in an old movie shot in a traditional Chinese mansion set among bamboo, willows and rhododendrons. Sweet osmanthus trees also help create a romantic ambience with their flowery scents.


Get ready for a mystical experience. On the bank of a pond, India’s garden has two main highlights: the sacred Ganesh statue housed in an outdoor red temple and a Bodhi tree, which is grafted from the original Bodhi tree in India.


Traditional house, bamboo, wooden bridge, sophisticatedly-shaped trees and colorful carps—we know they are all clichés but the photo ops are still endless.


Laos impressed us with a replica of the main ordination hall of Wat Xieng Thong in Luang Prabang. There’s also a Long Leng tree, Lao’s rarest and most precious wood, used only for the most luxurious items. Need a rest? There is also a Dao Coffee café offering fresh brews from the Bolaven Plateau.


Travel to North Africa with this lavish display of oriental refinement. Some trees and all the traditional décor items, from huge wooden doors to colorful mosaics, are shipped directly from Morocco.

Want more?

Iran, Netherlands, South Korea, Spain and Turkey also topped our list.


Orchid Exhibitions

You can spend a whole day wandering through thousands of varieties, ranging from the types you can find in the malls, like Cathaleeya, to what you could only discover in the deepest, darkest jungles, like Lady-Slippers.

Bug’s World

Hundreds of worms, beetles and butterflies are housed in a tropical glass house for amateur entomologists to go all giddt over. Check out the Atlas moth, which is found in the deep forest of Southeast Asia and is the size of your palm, as well as the Madagascar cockroach, which can feed a family of four.
There are also lotus, bonsai, herbs and tropical plant exhibitions, as well as cultural performances and a walking street selling flowers, plants and local products every Sat-Sun during 4-7pm.


Open: Mon-Fri 9am-9pm, Sat-Sun 9am-10pm.
Call Center: 02-610-2011
Tickets: One-day visit B200, unlimited visits B800. 50% discount for advanced booking until Dec 13 through
Official website:

Getting to the park

Ratchapruek Park is on Road No. 108 in Mae Hia sub district, Southwest of Chiang Mai town. Cars are not allowed within the park so visitors must park their vehicles at one of 18 parking spots around the town, such as Central Airport Plaza, Chiang mai Airport, Big C Extra, Kadsuankaew, Makro, Central Administrative Office and Chiang Mai Train Station, where a shuttle bus service is provided.

Getting to Chiang Mai

AirAsia (, Bangkok Airways (, Nok Air ( and Thai Airways ( fly direct from Bangkok to Chiang Mai daily from B3,220, B3,780, B3,680 and B4,850, respectively. A round trip bus ticket ( is between B644-B1,612. A round trip train ticket ( is B462-B2,906.

Where to stay

These days most Chiang Mai hotels are rolling out special Royal Flora Expo deals for flower lovers (or those pretending to love flowers while enjoying Chiang Mai’s other treats). Here are some of the more intriguing all-inclusive deals:
A two-night package at The Rim Chiang Mai (053-903-999, [email protected], ), featuring daily breakfast, roundtrip airport transfer, tickets to the Expo and free minibar, is B7,500 net for a superior room and B10,180 for a deluxe; through Jan 5.

Centara Duangtawan, Away Suansuwan and Khum Phaya Resort & Spa from Centara Hotels (02-101-1234 ext. 1, [email protected], are offering a room with breakfast, one khantoke set dinner, Expo tickets, transfer to the Expo and a roundtrip airport transfer. Two consecutive nights are required, and the rates are B4,990, B5,500 and B8,900 net, respectively.

If you book through, a one-night package featuring a choice of hotel room with breakfast, tickets to the Expo, the Chiang Mai Aquarium and Chiang Mai Zoo starts at B2,220 for double occupancy and B2,120 for single occupancy.

Bangkok Airways (, also has a two-night package covering roundtrip air tickets, hotel room with breakfast and tickets to the Expo at B13,400 for two people and B8,900 for single occupancy. Book through Dec 13 for travel until Mar 14, 2012.

Venue Details
Address: The Royal Flora Ratchaphruek Expo 2011-2012, Chiang Mai, Thailand
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