For those wanting to go on a holiday where they are greeted with sunshine, flowers, blue sky, cool winter breeze, fresh air and get a glimpse of Thai culture in a natural environment, the northeastern province of Nakhon Ratchasima, a few hours drive from Bangkok, features a natural and culturally-rich region. Best time to visit is between November to February, when the weather is cool and pleasant with lush greenery around, displays of flowers are in bloom across the countryside and several unique local festivals to experience. It is only this time of the year that the Jim Thompson Farm in Pakthongchai and Flora Park in Wang Nam Khiao district of Nakhon Ratchasima province will be open for visitors. For flower and plant lovers, this annual cool season is an ideal time to be in Thailand.
The Flora Park Festival, open for visitors from November until February, showcases over 100,000 flowers of numerous plant and tree species, with five themed zones for visitors to explore. Zone 1 offers auspicious plants such as Pink cassia and Cassia fistula and winter plants like geranium, salvia, gazania, zinnia, petunia and begonia; a rose zone and rose garden; an orchid section; a flowering plant section; and plants for sale. Whereas, Zone 2 features over 400 auspicious plants and green grass area covering 1,500 sq m, and located next to the Flora Park’s flower seeding nursery learning centre for sustainable agricultural development.
There is an observation tower for taking in views of the festival and surrounding area of Wang Nam Khiao at Zone 3. Zone 4 features a 90-metre-long bamboo tunnel used for growing gourd plants, just like Snake Gourd which covers the tunnel on top and along the sides. Inside the tunnel New Guinea bean is being grown, while the rack is covered in Chinese rose. Moreover, Zone 5 offers a vertical garden-inspired display of colourful petunia, begonia and coleus, with beautiful rose fences.
Along with the Flora Park Festival, it is also recommended to experience the Jim Thompson Farm Tour which is an agro and eco-tourist attraction offering some unique Thai local experiences. Attractions and activities include the pink cosmos field, the giant pumpkin patch and colourful flower field, ‘Jim Village’ where visitors can get hands-on and try the silk production processes of the renowned Jim Thompson brand, and visit Jim Market for vegetable, fruit, pot flower and fresh produce shopping.
One can also head to PB Valley Khao Yai Winery which is the largest vineyard in Khao Yai that has professional guided winery tours. Besides the vast vineyards the PB Flower Park shows seasonal flower gardens and other fruit orchards such as dragon fruit, passion fruit, mangoes and Japanese Melons. The floral park consists of 9,999 marigolds in the shape of the Thai number nine to honour the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej. These marigolds are now gradually in bloom and there are more than 60 kinds of flowers and flowering trees that will blanket the 16-rai park with some of the prettiest colours. They also have an annual grape harvest festival in February, 2018.