Escape to Chiang Mai

The Queen Sirikit Botanical Gardens just 45 minutes outside of Chiang Mai, near Mae Rim are always worth a visit. The gardens were opened in 1993 and cover a massive 2,500 acres. Three streams which run through the park eventually converge into one with lots of benches and shade for just admiring the view and the displays of flowers and plants. It’s a perfect site, cooler in the mountainous area and used for research, conservation and the study of plants.

We last came 2 years ago and were blown away by the size and spectacular layout of the big site. We arrived early and getting to the ticket booth the young Thai girl said ‘ how old you are’, I replied ‘very old’ and she said ‘over 60 free to come’. Woo hoo there are some benefits of being older. We drove straight up to the greenhouses at the top of the gardens and parked the bike.

Everything here is so big and healthy, I’m sure you could grow house bricks. The 12 glasshouses contain many varieties of cacti, succulents and other exotic weird and wonderful plants. Many biomes and different climates add to its appeal and it is the first botanical garden of international standard in Thailand.

There is an orchid house with many different colours and varieties from big and blousey to small and delicate, all lovely.

The waterfall with its enormous ferns and rainforest setting is amazing with fish in the pool and all the leaves glistening with fine water mists discreetly positioned around the building. It’s the tallest of the greenhouses with a walkway which circles around the waterfall.

There is an ethnic villagers medicinal plant section with some great photos of village life

And a constructed village house and garden

Leaving the greenhouses we took the bike past the lake with fountains and rows and rows of purple cabbages with hundreds of white caterpillars flitting delicately above them.

Further down are the walkways which run high above the forest canopies for about 500 m. The walkway is 20m above the rainforest below with a fine view of the surrounding mountains. Good photo opportunity. There were many ‘Thailand’s next super model’ photo shoots going on…I definitely need to practice

We left the gardens deciding to continue on the loop behind the Doi Suthep mountain to Samoeng. The traffic had been really heavy on our way to the gardens because of a Buddha Day at a large military school. There were thousands of people and a big traffic jam so we thought we would go the long way back. It takes an extra hour but the scenery is amazing, travelling through where all the elephant camps, zip wires and adventure tourism takes place.

We stopped at a viewpoint over the Samoeng Forest where there was a fruit stall. I had a punnet of prepared strawberries and Chris had some sticky rice. They cook the rice over a fire in bamboo sections sometimes with a few peanuts or in this one slightly sweetened; it comes out like a solid rice pudding. It was very tasty. Along with a kilo of avocado to take with us £1.50, bargain. Gave me time to stretch my legs and try and get some feeling in my rear end…..

A little further along we came across the same elephants we had seen on our last journey on this road heading back to their coral after being washed in the river and loved by tourists. You can normally smell their deeply earthy aroma before you see them, love seeing them. Not timed it right to get in for a free cuddle yet but we will.

2 thoughts on “Escape to Chiang Mai

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s