A trip to Nong Nooch gardens makes for an excellent half-day or full-day excursion for those staying in the nearby beach resort of Pattaya. With its scenic setting, the family-friendly Nong Nooch tropical gardens have enough attractions to keep visitors of all ages happy. The Thai cultural and elephant show can be cheesy or fun depending on your point of view, but the star attractions at Nong Nooch are the beautiful plant and flower displays put together by the award-winning Nong Nooch team.
Photo credit: Mika Stetsovski
History of Nong Nooch
In 1954, a couple named Mr Pisit Tansacha and Mrs Nongnooch Tansacha bought some land (approximately 600 acres) with the idea of turning it into a fruit plantation. However, Khun Nongnooch had a change of heart following an overseas trip where she was said to be inspired by the various flower gardens she saw and instead started to develop her own land in Thailand as a tropical garden with ornamental flowers and plants. Known in Thai as ‘Suan Nong Nooch’ (suan means garden), the gardens were formally opened to the public in 1980. Khun Nongnooch helped with the design and layouts of the gardens which bear her name, but management has since been handed over to her son, Kampon Tansacha. Nong Nooch Botanical Gardens pride themselves on their work in the fields of research, education and conservation and they were recently awarded their fourth gold medal in as many years for their displays at the world-famous Chelsea Flower Show in London.
What to see
There is certainly a lot to see at Nong Nooch with a range of themed gardens including the Roman Garden, the French Garden and the Cactus Garden as well as the largest variety of orchids in Thailand and what is claimed to be the world’s largest palm collection. The formal arrangements of plants are complemented by some quirky displays like the giant metal ants and the representation of ancient Stonehenge. Nong Nooch has been designed to appeal to people of all ages and there is plenty going on to keep the children entertained with a mini petting zoo (goats, rabbits and other small animals), a butterfly enclosure, reptile display, pedal boats on the lake and the chance to feed the fish. Elephant rides are offered at an additional cost.
Photo credit: Swami Stream
The Thai cultural show (pictured below) and elephant show gets mixed reviews. It’s very touristy, but if you’ve not been to Thailand before or not seen a similar sort of display you don’t lose much by giving it a try. There are currently four shows a day commencing at 09.45, 10.30, 15.00 and 15.45.
Photo credit: Swami Stream
Visitors can walk around the gardens or take advantage of the shuttle bus service. It’s recommended to allow a minimum of 3 hours for a visit (not including any shows), but to see everything at a more comfortable pace you should allow 5 or 6 hours here. There are a number of options for food and drink at Nong Nooch with Thai, Chinese, Indian and Western food all available. There is also the chance for visitors to stay overnight at the Lakeside Resort with the room rate including entrance to the gardens.
Opening times: daily 08.00-18.00
Entrance fee: Non-Thai adult 500 Baht (includes entrance to shows). Discounts for children.
How to get to Nong Nooch
Any tour operator in Pattaya can arrange either private or shared transport for you. Nong Nooch also provide their own transport service from Pattaya with an 08.30 and a 14.30 departure. If you want to arrange your own transport you can book a songthaew or taxi for private hire, but you will have to negotiate a rate. If you hire a car or motorbike, take the Sukhumvit Road south out of Pattaya towards Sattahip and you will see the signs for Nong Nooch. The journey from Pattaya to Nong Nooch takes approximately 30 minutes. From Bangkok the journey time is approximately 90 minutes. Travelling by taxi from Bangkok to Nong Nooch has a one-way fare in the region of 1,500 Baht.
More information for visitors to Nong Nooch here »