Created in 1992, the Queen Sirikit Botanical Gardens are located in Amphoe Mae Rim in the Chiang Mai Province. A beautiful place burgeoning with exotic plant life, the facility conducts research and conserves Thailand’s extensive natural plant resources; it’s main purpose is not tourism, which means that there are fewer visitors here than in many locations in Chiang Mai. Named after Sirikit, who was Queen of Thailand in 1994, the queen donated considerable resources to bring the gardens to fruition.
The gardens cover more than 2,470 acres (1,000 hectares) and are best explored by foot. Follow the paths through huge collections of azaleas, rhododendrons and many other flowering plants. Though the grounds are extensive, the greenhouses are where the real treasures are, ranging from carnivorous plants and bromeliads to orchids and water lilies. Other structures emulate the feel of arid deserts or rain forests and have the flora to match.
The gardens are situated about 12.5 miles (20 km) from Chiang Mai in the Mae Sa area. The best way to get there is to charter a tuk tuk or other private transportation. The Queen Sirikit Botanic Gardens are open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and cost 100 Thai baht ($3 USD) for an adult and 50 Thai baht ($1.50 USD) for children.