Monday, December 4, 2006
Royal Flora Ratchaphruek
The Thai government has opened up the Royal Flora Ratcha- phruek 2006 not too far from where we live. Since it opened on November 1, it has already received over 1 million visitors. It's a world class horticultural event in honour of the country's highly respected and loved king, Bhumibol Adulyadej. As such, the government spared no expense spending at least 2 billion baht (approx. 52 million US dollars) on 80 hectares of land. Running up until January 31st, 2007, Ratchaphruek has managed to attract visitors from all over Thailand, as well as from countries all over the world. The time span of the event conveniently spans both the 60th Anniversary of the king's Ascension to the Throne, and his 80th birthday this upcoming year.
Today is the king's 79th birthday and the whole week of December 4-10, 2006 has celebrations entirely dedicated to His Majesty. Indeed, the whole floral show is a display of honor to the king from cultural performances from 39 provinces and 10 countries, 22 corporate gardens, Sculptures, Marching Bands, Nightscape Shows, Electric (laser shows) Parade, Lanna Markets, Indoor, and Outdoor Gardens. There are 108 venues to choose from once you get to Ratchaphruek. Some have chosen to go for several days, or stay the whole day from 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM.
To ensure that anyone who goes are wowed, satisfied, and comfortable, there are available tram rides, International Food Halls, Kids park, several Picnic Areas, and shopping stalls. Linda and our Malaysian friends had a mere 2.5 hours to spend at Ratchaphruek but they ran out of superlatives long before the 2 hours were even up. The flowers, fruit, vegetables, bushes, grass, gardens, even cacti, that they saw were all arrayed in splendour and beauty. The friends are seen below in front of a colourful profusion of bougainvilleas. We're sorry but we just couldn't do the place justice with our pics. You may want to check their website at www.royalfloraexpo.com Even better, if you can, why don't you come and see it for yourself? You'll love it!
One major downside to the Ratcha- phruek are the enormous tour buses that add to the traffic of Chiang Mai and the one time little road that we travel to school on. All around our used to be quiet neighbourhood, stores and restaurants materialized out of thin air hoping to cash in on the wonder that is Ratchaphruek.
The big question is, what becomes of all this after January 2007?
We hope to visit the Royal Flora Ratchaphruek before it closes next month. It will be fascinating to view such a vast array of God's beauty and nature in one place. Some day, we just hope and pray that it will all be for God's glory, the king of kings.