The Beautiful Gardens of Bhubing Palace

Bhubing Palace

Looking for more activities to see in Chiang Mai, Thailand, consider visiting the beautiful gardens of the Bhubing Palace. This royal palace is one of the lesser-known attractions to visit in the Doi Suthep-Pui National Park. Located on the Buak Ha mountain, the palace is only a few kilometers from Wat Phra That Doi Suthep overlooking the city. Bhubing Palace is an oasis of fragrant, beautiful flower gardens waiting for you to explore. Flowering Garden at Bhubing Palace

Getting ThereSongthaew to Bhubing Palace

You can get to the Bhubing Palace by renting a scooter and taking Huay Kaew road past Chiang Mai Zoo and Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. The other option is to get a songthaew that will take you up to the palace and back. The cheapest option is to pick them up right before the zoo or by the entrance of the Chiang Mai University. Prices are reasonable and usually fixed (140 Bhat) depending on where you are going (Doi Suthep, Bhubing Palace, or the Hill Tribe Village). The unfortunate thing is that if you get there on an off time, you will have to wait for a minimum of 10 people to get the cheap rates for the songthaews. If you are in a hurry, expect to haggle with the higher price offered. The road is windy and steep and takes about 30 minutes to reach the palace entrance.

Palace EntranceBhubing Palace Entrance

The entrance fee is 50 Baht. Open hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. Although the ticket office is closed from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Double check before you visit to see if the palace is closed since this is the winter residence of the royal family especially January through March. As it is an official royal residence, basic etiquette must be followed. Everyone must have their shoulders and knees covered. If you show up and are not wearing appropriate clothing, you will be turned away at the gate. But, don’t worry! There is a clothing rental right across from the entrance.

Rose GardensRose Garden at Bhubing Palace

Once you enter, you will walk along a flower-lined path. Keep walking into the gardens until you come across the first intersection. Take a right, and it will give you the first glimpse of the amazing rose gardens named Suan Suwaree. Due to the cooler temperatures on the mountain, this is a prime location for growing roses. There is a total of 274 different kinds of roses from all over the world grown here. I was a little late in the season to see them in full bloom. But, I did see what was left of the roses, and they were beautiful. Plus, the gardens are lined with tons of other colorful flowers that I don’t know the names. Keep to the paths as going into the flower gardens or closer to the roses is forbidden.

Bhubing PalaceBhubing Palace

Bhubing Palace while being the official royal family residence during the winter, it is also the place where the family stays when visiting the northern part of Thailand. The main Palace building is called the Phra Tamnak Phuping Rajanives. This was the first structure to be built, which was completed in 1961 and only took five months. The palace buildings are off limits for visitors. You will notice numerous no entry signs keeping the visitors on the main garden paths.

Tropical Rain ForestSteps leading into the Tropical Rain Forest

This area is probably the only big shaded area throughout the grounds. Remember to wear or bring sunscreen as it does and will get hot with limited spots for you to be in the shade. For the couple of hours that I walked around the grounds, I did get burnt. This area has several steps and at times can be steep. Although there are some benches located along the paths for you to take a rest.

ReservoirReservoir at the Bhubing Palace

A large water reservoir with fountains provides water for the Palace during the dry season. There is also a musical fountain show called “The Fountain of Celestial Water of People” held at the reservoir. The reservoir is right next to a tiered flower landscape for one of the guesthouses. There are plenty of places to sit and rest and enjoy the flowers, fountains, and scenery but, there isn’t much shade in this area. A couple of sights to see here is the Royal Feast Pavilion and the carved totem poles.

Guest HousesPhrueska Wisuthikhun Mansion

The guest houses scattered around the grounds are in all different styles but, somehow look they all belong together.  The Ruen Rob Rong is the Royal guesthouse, a two-story building used as a guesthouse for visitors of the Royal Family or state visitors from abroad. The Phra Tamnak Sri Nagarindra is a two-story building on top of a small hill that was the Royal Residence of Princess Sri Nagarindra, who was known as “The Royal Grandmother,” the mother of the current King. There are also 3 log cabins build from eucalyptus wood. The Ruen Peek Mai is the Royal Residence of HRH Princess Chulabhorn. The Tamnak Payak Sathit is the Royal Residence of HRH the Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn. The third is the Phra Tamnak Siri Song Phuping. These are simply known as Eucalyptus Cottage 1 and 2, and the last one is the New Villa of the Queen.

Giant BambooBig Burmese Bamboo

If you walk up the very steep hill around the cottages, you will get a treat and see a large grouping of Burmese Bamboo. These giant bamboo stalks are the tallest bamboo that I have ever seen. It is eerie being the only person in this area and listening to the bamboo creak and sway with the wind. I stayed there a while to enjoy the sound and take lots of photos of the different colors of the bamboo stalks.

Outside the GroundsFood Stalls outside Bhubing Palace

There is a tiny village that caters to the tourists by selling food and drinks along with a variety of souvenirs, clothes (elephant pants), jewelry, and other crafts. This village is a great place to pick up a snack or a gift or two while you are waiting for your songthaew back into Chiang Mai.

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Further Reading

If you would like to see more of my nomad travels, check out my post on my first month of traveling full-time: One Month of Nomad Travel. If you are coming to Thailand for a visit, check out these posts:

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