Nong Nooch Gardens

By Annette Irish FAIH RH0008 (Photos: Annette Irish)

Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden is located an easy 163 km drive South East of Bangkok, outside the bustling older tourist destination of Pattaya Chonburi Province Thailand. It is not just a ‘garden’ but a vast themed Garden of 240 hectares opened to the public in 1980. One could say it is the Tansacha family’s ‘garden folly’, the matriarch Nongnooch having a vision to establish a botanical conservation precinct to match other world renowned gardens. 

Her son Kampon Tansacha took on that challenge in 1983 and surrounded himself with specialists to oversee the collections. He set up major research projects, a cycad gene pool and instigated conservation programs all of which are curated by Anders Lindstrom, respected Cycad researcher and author. He has developed long term ‘plant lovers’ partnerships with a number of Australian plant people including Stan Walkley of Plantation 2000 and Anton Van der Schans, Singapore ex-pat Cairns horticulturist.

Kampon has spent years collecting heritage and ancient specimens from around the world, often sending out horticultural scouts to find and purchase living collections to ensure they are kept intact for the benefit of other plant enthusiasts.



For the crazed botanically inspired horticulturist the collections, many touted ‘as the largest in the world’, include Cycadaceae, Zamiaceae, Heliconiaceae, Marantaceae, Zingiberales, Arecaceae, Cactaceae, Orchidaceae, Bromeliaceae, including a stunning Dracaena (syn. Sanseveiria spp.) collection and other rare and unusual species.


Left: Bromeliad Right: Cycad


Architecturally the gardens include features that are beautiful, quirky, interesting, sometimes replicas and many attractions to entice tourists, botanists, designers and horticulturists.

Collections of garden art, animal art, ants running up walls, pottery collections, dinosaur valley, animals wandering the grounds even a heritage car collection provides a garden destination and experience to satisfy all members of the family.


Amazing animal art.


The site houses a bustling community of specialist artisans who carefully produce most of the art and sculptures seen in the gardens.




A conference centre, accommodation and fabulous restaurants provide for a wonderful horticultural destination. If planning to go ensure you allow two days to really take in all that the gardens offer.



If you don’t think Pattaya is your sort of town other accommodation can be found close by, and this enables you to visit some of the beautiful temples, gardens and interesting fishing village destinations of the Chon Buri region.

The gardens can’t disappoint as they provide so many options to meet and excite the senses and certainly is a garden no-one can forget.


Annette Irish FAIH RH is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Horticulture,  Chair of Fellows and former President.

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