Towards the end of our Thailand excursion, we flew to Chiang Mai, a northern city that is situated in the mountains. It was the part of the trip I was most looking forward to and turned out to be the city (next to Bangkok) that I would be most interested in revisiting to explore further.
Our second destination in Chiang Mai (after the Orchid Farm and lunch) was the Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden. Unfortunately, we were allotted a paltry 40 minutes to explore the gardens and greenhouses of this expansive botanical attraction. Note to media tour operators: garden writers require ample time to explore botanical gardens! Imagine a time frame and then double it. No, triple it. Actually, just give us the entire day.
The race was on to see as much as possible before being called back onto the bus. Because time was precious, I chose to focus on a few of the greenhouses and forgo the outdoor gardens. Before heading into the first greenhouse I took in a field of large bowl ponds. Each pond housed a different tropical water lily, in an astonishing array of leaf and flower shapes, sizes, and colours. I had no idea there were so many different types!
Sometimes the leaves were my favourite feature.
And then we were caught in an intense, tropical downpour.
Next, I stepped into a greenhouse that was filled to capacity with approximately 100 square, raised ponds. What followed was several minutes of oohing and aahing as I raced from one pond to the next, each with a water lily more fascinating and gorgeous than the one before.