Royal Flora Ratchaphruek
Royal Flora Ratchaphruek
Horticultural show in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Can you imagine the smell of over two million plants in one place? You won't have to if you visit northern Thailand's Royal Flora show this winter.

Calling all horticulturalists and plant enthusiasts! Royal Flora Ratchaphruek 2011 is a huge horticultural show taking place in northern Thailand to commemorate three important royal birthdays - the King of Thailand's 84th, the Queen of Thailand's 80th, and the Crown Prince's 60th.

Held over 99 days (9 being a lucky number in Thailand) between 14 December 2011 and 14 March 2012, an almost 200-acre site in the city of Chiang Mai - the 'Rose of the north' - will be in constant bloom. This centre, (originally built in 2006 to celebrate the King's 80th birthday and open all year around), will have a special display of over 2,200 species of tropical plants and flowers as the Thai government hosts this horticultural extravaganza in honour of the King, himself a keen botanist.

Highlights of the show include the Giant Flora Wheel, Imagination Garden and Kids' Eco Park. The Giant Flora Wheel will be one of the best ways to take in the sheer size of the fair, at a height of 40 metres. The Imagination Garden is designed to awaken the inner child in visitors and is festooned with millions of tiny lights and luminous butterflies. Visitors possessing both inner and outer child will enjoy the Kids' Eco Park, with its focus on caring for nature and the earth.

With 2.5 million plants in total on display, this show may put the Chelsea Flower Show to shame, but why don't you visit and let us know what you think! It is taking place during the cool season when the weather in the north of the country is normally a little bit more comfortable making it the perfect place to spend a pleasant few days and take in this spectacular flower and plant display.

Key Ratchaphruek facts:
  • The Ratchaphruek Tree, also known as the 'pudding pipe tree' or 'purging cassia' is a auspicious plant associated with royalty.
  • The tree's beautiful yellow blossom (the inspiration for the show's logo) is linked to the King because yellow is the colour linked to Mondays in Thailand and the King was born on Monday.
  • The shape of pollen of the flowers resembles the number 9 which is symbolic for the King of Thailand as he is the ninth ruler of the Chakri Dynasty.
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