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Primlarp Chukiatman Photo by Byoung Sup Ghill

Five Days at
Royal Flora Ratchaphruek 2006
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Part 1
by Squadron Leader Primlarp Chukiatman
Click images to enlarge


The biggest umbrella at the main entrance


^ Ticket zone | Indoor exhibition >


My father Dr. Slearmlarp Wasuwat and I went to Chiang Mai to participate in a seminar about waterlilies and lotuses, and were able to visit the International Horticultural Exposition for His Majesty the King or "Royal Flora Ratchaphruek" 2006 in 15-20 November 2006. I planned to write an article about the experience especially for WGI members. I underestimated the scope of it and that I could write it in only one article. For the real picture of this huge Horticultural Exposition in northern part area of Thailand, I plan to write about this grand event in separate parts as follows:

  • The history of the Ratchaphruek 2006 and overall High Light landscape.
  • The Corporate Garden, International Garden, and Nymphaea & Nelumbo Garden
  • Orchid Pavilion, Shade Paradise, and Tropical Dome
  • Temperate Greenhouse, Desert Plant Greenhouse and Biotech Greenhouse
  • Another Exhibition and Revolving Indoor Exhibition.


Hill from main entrance

The International Horticultural Exposition for His Majesty the King, "Royal Flora Ratchaphruek" 2006, according to www.royalfloraexpo.com, is one of the grand celebrations being hosted by the Royal Thai Government in honor of His Majesty King Bhumipol Adulyadej (Rama IX), the ninth ruler of the illustrious Chakri Dynasty and the world's longest reigning monarch. His Majesty is "Father of the Nation" and "Beloved King" to the Thai people. This exhibition started on 1 November 2006 and continues until 31 January 2007, 92 days.


Royal Pavilion


Holland Garden


Outdoor Theater

I started my visit to "Royal Flora Ratchaphruek" walking through the 80 hectares (198 acres) on the 7,200 meter (4.5 mile) walking track around the area. There are so many places to stop by, such as the Corporate Garden in which 22 corporations in Thailand decorated, the 23 International Gardens, the different greenhouses, etc.

Site plan from
www.royalfloraexpo.com

< Biotech Greenhouse

^ Shade Paradise ^ 


Foothills rubber forest


Royal Pavilion Zone


Homage Garden
For the overall picture I recommend that you start with the Royal Pavilion Zone which is decorated with small shrubs on the long open court, separating "Royal Flora Ratchaphruek" into two zones. This garden decorates a flat area and extends to the foothills. 


Sculpture in Homage Garden
In the Royal Pavilion Zone you see an Homage Garden decorated with sculptures designed by many artists from all around the world. In the background you see a two story building called the Royal Pavilion or Haw Khum Luang in Thai. It is designed in the Thai Lanna contemporary style (Lanna - the northern Thai style). The first floor exhibits are the agricultural works conceived by our beloved King; the second floor shows frescos painted about His Majesty King Bhumipol Adulyadej's work and other art and crafts.  

 

Friends in front of the Royal Pavilion

< The Royal Pavilion from Homage Garden


^ The Royal Pavilion >

 

Between Royal Pavilion and Homage Garden is the Bhodi Tree for the King. All people who would like to share the celebration of the beloved King can sign their names on a copper leaf and hang it on the tree to show their loyalty to the King.


Leaves of our Loyalty to the King

 

 
< Bhodi Tree for the King ^

When you stand on the second floor of the Royal Pavilion you can look back at the Bhodi Tree for the King, and you can see most of "Royal Flora Ratchaphruek" area. At the left are the outdoor exhibitions of the International Garden and the Corporate Garden. In this area you can visit the Orchid Pavilion that shows beautiful orchids from all around the world. 

< From the second floor looking back to the Bhodi Tree


Left side of the Exhibition

Rare orchids in the Orchid Pavilion

The right hand side is the foothill area which displays a lot of different styles of gardens. State of the art in horticulture includes the Thai Tropical Garden, Grower House, foothills vegetable garden, Shade Paradise, a cluster of greenhouses (Biotech, Desert Plants, Hydroponics and Temperate), Tropical Dome and Waterlily Garden*. After passing these areas you come to the lake side, which features the fountain of light and sound 18.00 - 18.45 every day. Then you return to the Homage Garden again to go to the exit area, which has the indoor exhibitions, garden shop and souvenir shop.


View from foothill garden


^ Flowers in Temperate Greenhouse


Lake side area


Night time in the Corporate Garden

< Twilight in front of the
Royal Pavilion


The images above show the overall physical landscape of "Royal Flora Ratchaphruek" 2006. I will go into detail about the High Light area with pictures by Mr. Pairat Songpanich and other friends in the next issue. 

* At the time I visited, the waterlily garden had few flowers. Some were still in winter dormancy. Even 'Mohiren', the Japanese lotus (displayed in the Japanese international garden zone) was not blooming. I think that it cannot adapt to the hot climate.


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