Bangkok Butterfly Garden and Insectarium
Wachira Benthat Park
Kamphaeng Phet 3 Road
Opening hours: Tue-Sun 8.30am-4.30pm
Chatuchak is best known as a shopping mecca with the weekend market and nearby malls, but also features a welcoming expansive stretch of greenery away from the concrete jungle that is central Bangkok. The area is dominated by three large parks combined – Chatuchak, Queen Sirikit, and Wachira Benthat – in which its gardens, ponds, and fields surrounded by untouched forest provides a more natural setting for locals and shoppers to relax and play in with an abundance of space to explore and enjoy. Not only it is a convenient retreat after a retail session, but one can partake in various recreational activities such as running, boating, or cycling in a tranquil and picturesque environment.
To the north of Queen Sirikit Park and on the opposite side of Kamphaeng Phet 3 Road from Chatuchak Park is Wachira Benthat – or Suan Rot Fai (Railway) Park, a former golf course before its current transformation as a public urban landscape covering 150 rolling acres of grass and trees. Its winding 3 kilometre track is best suited for cycling which is the preferred method of travel around the largest of the area’s three parks, and about a 15-20 minute walk from the BTS and MRT stations on Phahonyothin Road.
In the middle of it all is Bangkok Butterfly Garden and Insectarium, the only one of its kind in Bangkok. This educational facility comprises of a 15 metre tall open air greenhouse with trees, plants, flowers, rockeries, and waterfall feature filling up the 1,100 square metre space, providing a peaceful sanctuary for many types of butterflies to roam freely around, even in the flower gardens outside. Some of the species found here include the Siam Tree Nymph, Chocolate Albatross, and Plain Tiger varieties.
Racks under a covered area outside the dome enables visitors to park their bikes by the exit door. After going through the reception area (entrance is free), there is an exhibition room showcasing the life cycle of insects prior to entering the main enclosure. One is able to wander around the garden at leisure, taking great care not to disturb the butterflies and other creatures residing there including fish and squirrels. These provide ample photography opportunities for groups of friends, young families, and nature enthusiasts, though some patience may be required to spot some of these winged creatures up close when they are not flying about.
The various pathways winds around the space with steps leading up to the upper levels towards the back of the enclosure behind the waterfall section. Butterfly and insect-related decor such as tiled flooring and metal framework are dotted around the area along with hanging ornaments and feeding stations of dried fruit and sugar water. Several benches are available to sit on to relax in this hidden oasis of calm with only the sound of the waterfall flowing in the background. Although the sanctuary appears a little worn around the edges with faded paintwork and information posters, the garden itself is well maintained by the staff seen on the premises.
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