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Revisiting Ratchaphruek Royal Flora
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  1. #1
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    Revisiting Ratchaphruek Royal Flora

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    I don't think I ever blogged or posted about Ratchaphruek back in the cool season of 2006-2007, even though it was one of the defining events of my second year in Thailand. A little bit like being a witness to history being made. Also, it was my first cool season on a motorbike, when I started going out and exploring.

    Back then, I visited Ratchaphruek a couple of times during its three months, even braving the massive crowds on HM the King's birthday on December 5, 2006. Way beyond expectations, the exhibition attracted 3 million visitors, less than 10% of which were foreigners.

    However, not many people know that after a period of de-construction, Ratchaphruek opened its gates to the public again. Occasionally, it hosts an OTOP fair, or some other event, but most of the time it is very very peaceful and quiet, you hardly see a handful of people in the extensive grounds. Entry is free. The corporate gardens are gone, but most of the international gardens are still standing, with ethnic buildings from China, Bhutan, Laos, Kenya, etc., as well as the bromelia house. That cone-shaped floral sculpture at the top of my post was the Belgian "garden". Most of the totally out of place modern sculpture seems to be around as well. New additions are two seated Buddha images, one of them totally white, near the old main entrance (the gate with the elephants). Somehow I missed taking a photo.

    The grounds are maintained painstakingly, new formations of colourful flowers are planted in all seasons, the grass is perfect. I don't have a garden, but from my back window, I see my neighbour battling with his: every 2 or 3 months, he needs to bring in workers with equipment to cut the human-height vegetation. It must be lots and lots of working hours to keep the huge area of Ratchaphruek impeccable, on the foot of mountains covered with jungle.

    Ratchaphruek is currently hosting a series of events to commemorate HM the King's birthday and to celebrate royal projects all over Thailand. There are quite a few pavilions dedicated to these versatile and successful experiments and model farms. In the evenings, there are performances, dance, traditional and contemporary music shows, and fireworks in the evening. It closes on December 10 (Thursday), open until well beyond sunset every day. There are lots and lots of people, parking is totally disorganised and more of a nightmare than it was in 2006.

    Whenever there is an event, orchid growers always come together for a competition. This is always my favourite area. I also took a little stroll around the well-known gardens (I have been here about ten times in these 3 years), and enjoyed reading a book in the sun. The weather is so warm and gentle, my British colleagues say it would be an exceptionally hot summer day in England, that kind of weather. I didn't stay for the fireworks because the crowd was getting thicker and thicker, and I don't like driving in the dark anyway. Plus, surprisingly, I couldn't find anything to eat.

    Always strange to return to a place like this, no more sense of urgency to explore and see everything and take all the pictures, I can take my time, linger or just turn around and leave if I feel like, and I can pick my favourite parts.

    Here are some photos taken today. (I did not dare to take on the crowd yesterday. Too old for walking 20-30 mins for parking!)

  2. #2
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    Re: Revisiting Ratchaphruek Royal Flora

    If you are around, this may be a good time to visit Ratchaphruek! Just keep an eye open for the hippo that has disappeared from the neighbouring Night Safari grounds and is being searched for in the area.


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  3. #3
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    Re: Revisiting Ratchaphruek Royal Flora

    I love Thai gardens - even some of the large hotel ones are good-have also been to Queen Sirikit Botanical Gardens several times and have literally a hundred or so pics of plants etc.
    In fact the first digital photo I ever took in Thailand was of a plant!
    Just wish I could get to this one as the buildings etc look so great as well.

  4. #4
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    Re: Revisiting Ratchaphruek Royal Flora

    it's more like a theme show with a garden topic, always was, first it was a big disappointment, then I got used to it and like it for what it is very different from Sirikit Garden or all these botanical gardens or parks. but my photos of stuff always tend to be biased and avoid all the ugly bits and pieces that make up a significant part of the overall picture very often.

  5. #5
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    Re: Revisiting Ratchaphruek Royal Flora

    I think I would still go if given the opportunity! The nice bits do look very nice!

  6. #6
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    Re: Revisiting Ratchaphruek Royal Flora

    definitely - it was just a word of warning

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    Re: Revisiting Ratchaphruek Royal Flora

    Quote Originally Posted by Betti View Post
    If you are around, this may be a good time to visit Ratchaphruek! Just keep an eye open for the hippo that has disappeared from the neighbouring Night Safari grounds and is being searched for in the area.


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    Re the hippo-it has been found. Not good news.

    http://www.nationmultimedia.com/2009...l_30118111.php

  8. #8
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    Re: Revisiting Ratchaphruek Royal Flora

    sad.
    wondering what is going on there - there was a hyena that escaped a while ago, what will be next, lions??

  9. #9
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    Re: Revisiting Ratchaphruek Royal Flora

    It seems it has never has been up to much from when it opened, lot of controversy generally, and trouble over alleged unpaid feed bills in particular. I am surprised it has not been closed down

  10. #10
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    Re: Revisiting Ratchaphruek Royal Flora

    weather's cool here.
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