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Garden tours

February 7, 2011

Here in Chiang Mai in northern Thailand people look at you as if you were mad when you hint there is a market for week-long garden tours. Such tours are common in Europe and North America, but are unheard of here in Thailand. The current mantra is that tourists come to Chiang Mai to shop and to look at elephants and temples. What we try to show the world, is that Chiang Mai has a multitude of interesting and very different gardens and national parks, which could attract new segments of tourists. The quality demands of such tourists would force an improvement of tourist destinations (guides, information, food, souvenirs, books) of benefit to Thai society.

Therefore yesterday’s meeting with learned guests and their educational visions was most encouraging. Wolfe Bonham from ‘Peace Love and Landscaping’ was scouting to make garden tours in Chiang Mai for North American guests, exactly along our plans. We were also happy to speak with someone who believes it is cheap to pay 300 Baht to share a million dollar investment and university level knowledge. The price is equivalent to a hair cut or two coffees and pastries at Starbuck’s or a day of golf in Chiang Mai. We hope investing 300 Baht with us gives the visitor a useful memory for life. In addition to drop-in tourists, we offer a one day tour.

Yesterday we also had our first visitor from the world famous Eden project in Cornwall, Mark Paterson. He came together with distinguished guests from The Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh. Needless to say we had a great time, exchanging knowledge about plants, ethnobotany and pedagogic teaching. We were also happy somebody noticed the hard work to create 500 aluminium signs with texts in three languages. The 600 000 Baht production costs and the one year spent without salary (a 3 million Baht sacrifice) to research accurate texts about the plants are facts most people are unaware of, but yesterday we had the right audience, and a happy audience is our best reward!

Ketsanee Seehamongkol

Pattaramol Seehamongkol

Eric Danell

Dokmai Garden

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 7, 2011 5:55 PM

    Mark Paterson – I could swear I saw his name today in the Natural History Bulletin of the Siam society, Vol. 49 No. 2 2001, but not quite – for the reference was “Photosynthetic Capacity in Thai Conifers.” by Rundel, Philip & Mark Patterson, Kansri Boonpragob, Santi Watthana .

    PS Have you written about Uvaria?

    • February 7, 2011 9:53 PM

      Dear Ricky,

      If you write ‘Uvaria’ in the search box to your right, you will see this genus has been mentioned in six different blogs.

      Cheers, Eric

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