03.05.2015 - 03.05.2015 34 °C
Pattaya is a beach retreat city full of activities which need no extensive introduction. I had mentioned previously that this capital city of Chon Buri province of Thailand, not far away from Bangkok deserved very much attention from travellers as a place for a decent, fun, interesting, adventurous and exciting holiday destination. Pattaya has long been tagged as a city of sins like its southern counterpart in Phuket but in recent years, the situations had seen to changed for something good and fresh with the support for such image transformation from the interim army government in Thailand. The current government was said to be working up to get Pattaya being cleaned up from its range of legacy problems including but not limited to flesh trade and mafia activities. When I first came to Pattaya, its iconic and largest shopping mall in Chon Buri province, Central Festival was way under construction. Today, it has become one of the most contemporary entertainment and shopping experience outlet within the Pattaya tourists centre providing not only locals but also holidaymakers as a one-stop hub for amazing fun and dining as well as great entertainment. I had been to Pattaya several times since I first visited about 7 years ago. Each of the visits were filled with different kind of activities including attending the infamous ladyboy cabaret show of Alcazar and Tiffany, visiting the awesome Thai wooden temple of Sanctuary of Truth, had island retreat at Koh Larn, touring the Mini Siam, a miniature park with wide numbers of exhibits of mini-size famous and important buildings, architectures and landmarks within Thailand as well as other countries, chilling out at Pattaya Floating Market for food and souvenirs shopping and had meals of mouth watering seafood dining. All these fun-filled and adventurous activities seemed not enough to cover each time when I visited Pattaya and surely a repeated visits would able to fulfil the desire to discover this beach city famous also for its football club, Chon Buri FC which fared quite well in the Thai Premier League. My recent visit to Pattaya, I had the opportunity to visit Mimosa, The City of Love - an establishment for visitors to admire European style traditional buildings, to chill out, shop and eat as well as for cabaret show entertainment and whole lots of fun and nice photography. The other tourists outlet with its theme centred on nature, which include a huge display of flowers, plants and trees as well as gardens named Nong Nooch Botanical Garden was also included in the itinerary. Though Nong Nooch was named as a botanical garden which was located about 18 kms away from Centre Pattaya with vicinity within South Pattaya, visitors were also feed with other great entertainments including a Thai cultural show in a wooden structure hall (according to announcement, the hall was going through a facelift & renovations) and the thrilling and sometimes funny elephant show.
PETTING ZOO @ NONG NOOCH BOTANICAL GARDEN
The cultural performance showcase the multi talents of the Thais such as traditional dances which also include those from the Muslims in the south of Thailand, Muay Thai kick boxing which modified as a show match that include some comedy act from the performers, Thai traditional fightings (similar to Chinese kung fu), art of war which include the ride on the elephants while advancing towards the opponents. This culture show performance was educating, entertaining and useful in getting tourists to understand the Thai culture of the past which built the Thais of today in a quick and in a summary version.
The elephant show was another not to be missed activity while visiting Nong Nooch Botanical Garden. Though such show which was said to be exploiting the animals in general and the elephant in specific as for this category, its really a matter or issue to be debated on. As for me, it depends on how these elephants were being procured from their original natural sanctuary, whether this was by force or by way of protection due to the destructions of the forests by the culprits. Why just blamed solely on those who were involved in using the animal for the purpose of decent entertainment business made available to tourists, who in turn spent their money for the betterment of those in the travel industry? What about if such elephants were obtained from a very noble way which was to save them from extinctions due to the extensive damage to the natural forests? What about those who had or involved in the clearing of the forests for the sake of profiting on only selective people such as property developers, politicians, businessmen, tycoons and other rich yet tricky communities? Can we condone to their acts but yet not for those who are doing proper business such as the elephant show and to help people to secure jobs in this show industry? Its not something which can easily be identified on who is who in how this elephants being exploited. Whether forests being destructed legally or illegally, the authorities' responsibilities are to ensure strict and discipline enforcement being adhered to so that such issues would be under full control. The elephant show at Nong Nooch Botanical Garden was somehow spectacular and amazing showcasing how well they had been trained by their coaches. The skills paraded by the elephants include dancing to the tunes of musics played, football match on penalty shoots, basketball game include slam dunk using the trunks and also penalty shoots, lawn bowl game, darting, cycling and art draw. Items such as t-shirts and shopping bags with drawings done by the elephants were also made available for visitors to purchase at the end of the show. Visitors can have photography sessions with these elephants and their respective trainers before, during and after the show. During the show, visitors were also invited to participate in the show which include being "massage" by the elephants as well as some funny acts performed by the elephants on the participants. As a treat for good show, visitors could purchase bananas from mobile vendors to feed the elephants as a show of appreciations for a good show. This is one of the most awesome show I experience in Thailand and thought it should not be missed when touring Nong Nooch Botanical Garden.
The highlight of the Nong Nooch Botanical Garden is no other than the botanical garden itself. This colourful garden was set under range of themes such as the French Garden, Bonsai Garden, Butterfly Hill, Pottery Garden, Heart Shape Garden, Mammoth Garden, Flamingo Paradise, a mini zoo, a small sports car exhibition hall and several other gardens including Palms, Orchid, Italian and Orchid Gardens. The grandest among all the flower gardens in Nong Nooch was the French Garden and it was also one that was the most splendour and colourful of all. Nong Nooch Botanical Garden can be summed up as a huge garden combining a variety of natural flowers, trees and other specific plants combined these with related links such as the flower pots which were creatively being used to built many kinds of characters and items, variety of life size animal sculptures within an exclusive theme garden zones such as the flamingo paradise, man-made lakes, heart shape gardens where its about love when it comes to flowers and a mini zoo because wildlife were naturally close to the forests which have plenty of trees, plants and flowers. It should take a few hours to fully cover the Nong Nooch gardens and to admire the beauty of the available numbers of natural wonders, not forgetting getting snapped with these wonderful species plants and flowers. For a good view of each of the gardens and for comfort of visitors from the hot weather or during downpour, there were covered walkway bridge where visitors could easily disembark from whenever they wanted to have a close tour of each garden at the available disembarking points. There was also elephant ride tour available for those interested to have a try on such ride. Also available was a photography session with the uncaged tiger supervised by employee of the garden management. Just be very careful with the treatment on the tiger when engaging the photography act so as not to provoked any negative reactions and listen to instructions from the staff on what to do and what not to do. The tiger though being uncaged was being chained. The most surprising encounter over at Nong Nooch Garden would be the car exhibition hall which display some of the most exciting and beautiful sports cars and also vintage racing cars. Overall, a tour over at Nong Nooch Tropical Garden can be summed up as fascinating and interesting with such a creative flowers, trees and animal sculptures being themed together to create a great natural wonder and masterpiece.
BONSAI GARDEN @ NONG NOOCH TROPICAL GARDEN
Elephant ride @ Nong Nooch Tropical Garden
Covered walkway @ Nong Nooch Garden
Visitors to Nong Nooch Garden enjoying elephant ride
BUTTERFLY GARDEN @ NONG NOOCH TROPICAL GARDEN
SOME OF THE WILDLIFE REPLICAS @ NONG NOOCH GARDEN
FRENCH GARDEN @ NONG NOOCH GARDEN
SPORTS CARS GARDEN HALL @ NONG NOOCH GARDEN
POTTERY GARDEN @ NONG NOOCH GARDEN
HEART SHAPED GARDEN