The Ratchaphruek flower grows on the Golden Shower tree, Cassia Fistula Linn ; and is Thailand’s national flower. It’s a bright yellow flower and is grown throughout Thailand. The yellow is significant in Buddhism, and is also the color used to represent the King. This tree blooms between February and May.
What is now known as Royal Park Rajapruek, was originally built by the Thai government to house an international floral exposition, the Royal Flora Ratchaphruek. This event was hosted by the Royal Thai Government in honor of King Bhumibol -the world’s longest reigning monarch.
This expo lasted for 92 days, had international gardens from over 30 nations, over 2.5 million trees and 2,200 flowers and plants. This event was held between November 2006, and January 2007, and registered over 3 million visitors from around the world.
Even though the expo is long since over, the gardens are still maintained in immaculate condition, though now being known as “Royal Park Rajapruek.”
The Ho Kham Royal Pavilion is the centerpiece of this park. It is designed in the Northern Thai “Lanna” style of architecture with darker colors and gold leaf designs on the interior pillars. Large lions or “singhas” stand guard around the structure.
This is one of the largest gardens you will ever visit. In fact, they use trams here to help visitors get around. Despite this, it does not seem to have many visitors, and I doubt it’s much of a commercial success. That’s not surprising though, considering the entire park was only built for that single expo in 2006.
One thing that Thais do very well, is gardening and horticulture. I would rate this park, and the equally impressive Nong Nooch gardens on Thailand’s east coast -as the finest gardens I’ve seen anywhere.
If you’re into gardening and in the Chiang Mai area, a trip to Royal Park Rajapruek is only a cab ride away, plus an entrance fee (I don’t remember what it was).