Botanical Gardens in Asia have been in existence for several centuries giving residents and visitors the chance to understand and learn about the diverse variety of plant species found on the Asian continent.
Visitors can find some of the most beautiful botanical gardens in the world in Asia. Featuring orchids, giant water lilies, century-old trees and Asian inspired landscapes they make a wonderful escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. A visit to a botanic garden in Asia is often a reprise from the otherwise dusty and hot city centres and a fabulous way to spend a day in nature.
Interaction with plants and flowers is proven to help with stress, happiness, and general well-being, so being in nature plays such an essential role in society. In Japan, “forest bathing” is an activity that promotes and proves this theory, and in India, ayurvedic medicine is one of the world’s oldest medical systems based mainly on plants.
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Frequently Asked Questions
How Many Botanical Gardens can be found in Asia?
There are over 425 botanical gardens in Asia, with China having the most (172) and Singapore with the least (3).
Which is the oldest Botanical Garden in Asia?
The Indian Botanical Garden in Jodphur is the largest and oldest. It was established in 1787 as an institution for botanical and horticultural research in India.
Which is the largest Botanical Garden in Asia?
Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose is known as “The Indian Botanical Garden” and is the largest in Asia. It spans over 273 acres home and is home to the 250-year-old Great Banyan Tree.
Which Botanical Garden in Asia displays the most species of orchids?
Singapore Botanical Gardens has the world’s most extensive collection of orchids and the world’s largest greenhouses.
Where is the Newest Botanical Garden in Asia?
Oman Botanical Garden in Muscat is currently under development and will combine the cultivation, study and conservation of Oman’s rich native flora. The garden will be situated on 430 hectares of land, surrounded by the Northern Mountains of Oman. When finished, it will be the largest botanical garden in the world.
I gathered facts about Botanical Gardens in Asia from BGCI (Botanical Gardens Conservation International)
With contributions from fellow travel bloggers, I can share with you the Best Botanical Gardens in Asia.
Each blogger has personally visited these 13 beautiful gardens.
They have given their insights into what there is to see in each one and their favourite parts of the gardens.
Enjoy your virtual trip through these Asian botanical delights.
Botanical Gardens in India
Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Botanical Garden – West Bengal
Contributed by Ruma of The Holiday Story
Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Botanical Garden is on 273 acres of land in Shibpur, Howrah and is the oldest and largest botanical garden in Asia. It was established in 1787 on the initiative of Colonel Robert Kidd, an army officer of the British East India Company. The primary purpose of these botanical gardens in Asia was to collect various plants and conduct various experiments on them.
Initially, this garden was known to be the company’s garden. During Queen Victoria’s reign in the nineteenth century, it was renamed the Royal Indian Botanical Garden. After independence in 1963, the government called the park the “Indian Botanical Garden”. On June 25, 2009, on the centenary of the birth of scientist Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose, the park was named after him as a mark of respect.
A visit to the botanical gardens will allow you to see over 16,000 trees of 1400 species, of which 500 varieties have been considered rare. Some of the valuable plants in this garden include 26 species of bamboo, 140 species of Gardnerville, 109 species of dates, several screw pines, and a great cacti collection.
I have seen many birds, including jungle babbler, golden oriole, Black-rumped flame back, Fork-tailed drongo, and green bee-eaters in the gardens. Some of the trees that attract my eye are Double Coconut Palm Tree, Phoenix rupicola, Century Palm, P. Unguifer, Breadfruit Tree or Artocarpus communis and Euryale Ferox Salisb. An incredible species is the 250-year-old Great Wild Tree; 330 meters long and 24 meters high!
Without a doubt, this is one of the best places for tourists to visit in West Bengal.
Ooty Botanical Gardens – Tamil Nadu
Contributed by Sandy and Vyjay of Im Voyager
On our first visit to Ooty Botanical Gardens, in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, it was love at first sight, and the beauty of the landscape completely enamoured us. We were intrigued by the beautiful Ooty Botanical Garden’s history going back more than 150 years to 1848. The gardens’ origins are unique, taking shape as a community effort by British settlers who subscribed three rupees every month to maintain the gardens.
What started as a community project now stretches over 55 acres and houses over 1,000 exotic plants, trees, shrubs, and bonsai. The garden comprises six sections; Lower Garden, New Garden, Italian Garden, Conservatory, Fountain Terrace, and Nurseries.
The Lower Garden comprises lush lawns that seem like large expanses of green carpet. These lawns feature a grass known as Kikuyu, which has a soft and cushiony structure. A huge map of India designed using plants and the fossil of a tree trunk that is more than 20 million years old is the highlight here.
The New Garden has an exquisite array of tea roses, natural ponds, and other flower beds.
The Italian garden – laid by Italian prisoners of war stationed here during colonial rule – is beautiful. This section is a riot of colour as flowers like Aster, Balsam, Begonia, Dahlia, Zinnia, and many others prance colourfully in the breeze.
The Conservatory brings together a visual feast of different flowering plants like Germaniums and Chrysanthemums. The Nursery section consists of eight glasshouses used for the cultivation of exotic plant species.
Lalbagh Botanical Gardens – Bangalore
Contributed by Nikki of She Saves She Travels
If you love Botanical Gardens, you’ll love the Lalbagh Botanical Garden in Bangalore, India. It holds the most extensive collection of tropical plants in all of India and is over 240 acres. So bring comfy shoes to explore India’s “Garden City“!
Dating back to the 1700’s it’s in the southern part of the city. Lalbagh Botanical Garden is one of the best things to do when visiting Bangalore! It boasts trees as big as office buildings, a sizeable lake within the garden, water fountain displays and a 20-million-year-old tree fossil, to name a few things.
A must-see while at the gardens is the 130-year-old glasshouse, and particularly during the semi-annual flower shows. Every January and August, the glasshouse is filled with breathtaking natural blossom displays to celebrate Republic Day and Independence Day. It’s not uncommon to see over 2 million flowers on display, so it’s truly a stunning sight to see!
Also, be sure to climb the hill rock, also known as Lalbagh rock, a National Geological Monument. It’s a Peninsular Gneiss, one of the oldest rocks of the earth, dating back 3 billion years!
My favourite part of the Lalbagh Botanical Gardens was observing the 240-year-old trees amongst the beautiful flowers and plants. It’s a peaceful place to walk and immerse yourself in nature, which is a rare occurrence in a city as busy as Bangalore.
Botanical Gardens in Indonesia
Bogor Botanical Gardens – West Java Province
Contributed by Marya of The Beau Traveler
Bogor Botanical Garden (BBG) located in Bogor Regency, West Java Province, Indonesia. It is one of the most beautiful gardens I’ve ever visited and one of the oldest botanical gardens in Southeast Asia.
The garden was initiated by British general Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, the founder of Singapore, between 1811-1816, and the Dutch officially established the site in 1817.
Bogor Botanical Garden spans over 80 hectares, contains plants belonging to 3373 species, 1257 genera, and 218 families, as well as 13,983 different kinds of trees. It also adjoins the presidential palace compound of Istana Bogor.
Of course, with that many plants, you don’t have time to look at them all in a day. However, the garden has many specialist areas that you can enjoy, like Orchid House, Medicine Garden, Mexican Garden, and Citrus Garden. Bogor Botanical Garden also exhibits the largest individual flower in the world, the Rafflesia Arnoldi, commonly known as the “stinking lily” due to its strong odour of decaying flesh!
Today the garden has an essential role in developing natural science in Indonesia, functioning as an ex-situ conservation site and a research centre for taxonomy and plant utilisation.
Being Indonesian myself, my favourite part of the garden is the Orchid House, a unique greenhouse that collects 500 orchid species to protect them from extinction due to the loss of natural habitat. As a country with the most diverse orchid population globally, Indonesia is home to over 5,000 orchid species all over the country.
Botanical Gardens in Malaysia
Penang Botanical Gardens
Contributed by Jules of Outdoor Magnet
Penang Botanical Gardens in Asia is a place I have been going to since I was a kid. Located in Georgetown (Penang), Charles Curtis first curated the garden during the British colonial period in 1884. It is also known as Waterfall Gardens because of a cascading waterfall nearby. I still remember the days where my family and I used to play by the river while picnicking.
Gardeners transformed the area from an abandoned old granite quarry site into a lush green park. It now houses rare plant species such as exotic herbs, shrubs and trees. I love the circular road circuits designed to weave through the valley, offering magnificent views of the gardens.
Botanical Gardens Penang plays host to the International Floral Festival every year in May. The festival draws tens of thousands of local and foreign botanists and gardening fans around the world. Some of the fascinating flora you can find here are the Cannon Ball tree, Pinang palm (from where the island of Penang took its name), and Candle tree.
As you walk around the park, if you are lucky, you can spot cheeky Dusky Leaf monkeys and Black Giant squirrels. With its cool refreshing air, especially in the early mornings, it is a favourite recreational spot for running, walking and jungle trekking or “Tai Chi” among the locals.
The gardens are free to enter, with guided tram rides around the park for a fee, which is a highlight, especially for the kids. Come and explore Penang’s Botanical garden; you will love it!
Botanical Gardens in Myanmar
National Kandawgyi Gardens
Contributed by Julie of The Bamboo Traveler
When I first stepped into the National Kandawgyi Gardens in the former British hill station of Pyin Oo Lwin, I was mesmerised. I never expected to see anything like it in Myanmar, and it felt like I had been teleported to somewhere in England.
Modelled on Kew Gardens in England, the National Kandawgyi Gardens were established in 1915 by Alex Rogers and amateur gardener Charlotte Cuffe. Just like its counterpart in England, there is a beautiful lake surrounded by a grassy, gradually sloping hill interspersed with colourful flower beds and nearly 600 different species of indigenous and foreign trees. The pine trees add to the park’s foreignness by giving it a more Alpine than tropical feel.
One of the highlights was sitting down on the grass near the lake during my visit, reading a book and people watching. There’s also an aviary, a butterfly museum, an orchid garden, a rain forest, and a bamboo garden. You can climb to the top of Nan Myint Tower and see panoramic views of Pyin Oo Lwin.
I visited the gardens during a day trip from Mandalay. My hotel arranged for me to take a shared taxi to Pyin Oo Lwin. It took one and a half hours. When I got to the hill station, I hired a motorcycle and driver to take me around the city to look at the Tudor and Victorian-style buildings. The last stop of the day was the gardens.
Botanical Gardens in Singapore
Singapore Botanical Gardens
Contributed by Angie of Where Angie Wanders
The Singapore Botanical Gardens and Gardens on the Bay are two of the most beautiful gardens in Asia; separate entities but deserving of featuring on any Singapore Trip Itinerary. Singapore Botanical Garden is also the only tropical garden in the world on the UNESCO world heritage site list.
Singapore Botanical Gardens provide a green space with an endless variety of plants and flowers. Wander down the tree-lined alleys and admire the three lakes and 50 heritage trees juxtaposed beside 315 species of plants; oh, and keep an eye out for the giant Asian water lizards and monkeys that call the park their home.
My favourite area is the National Orchid Gardens, sprawling across three hectares of the highest hill in the botanical garden. An additional fee is required to enter the orchid gardens, but it is visually beautiful once inside. Divided into four colour zones representing each season of the year, you should include it on your travel schedule. If you arrive at Singapore’s Botanical garden on a Saturday, you can join a free tour and learn about the fascinating plants that grow in Singapore and Asia.
Gardens on the Bay
The world-famous “Gardens on the Bay” are home to the incredible Supertree Grove. In this area, you will find two biospheres (The Cloud Forest and The Flower Dome, the largest glass greenhouse in the world), beautiful lakes and acres of lush gardens. Visitors can pre-book entrance tickets online to avoid the queues. At night the Supertrees light up, and music is played; make sure to check out timings and head to the area beneath Marina Bay Sands Resort to see something quite out of this world!
Botanical Gardens in South Korea
Garden of the Morning Calm
Contributed by Eunice of EuniceTan
Garden of the Morning Calm is located in Gapyeong county, just 2 hours from Seoul, South Korea’s capital. This arboretum is a hidden gem built in 1996 and designed by Professor Han Sang-Kyung to share South Korea’s beauty with the world.
It’s hard to believe that a private garden like this spans 30,000 square metres of land and houses about 5,000 different plant species. I only heard about this garden when I signed up for a day tour from Seoul that covers several sights in Gapyeong country and Nami Island, and I’m glad they included this in this tour – It was my favourite stop!
The garden is meticulously maintained, and the air is fresh. Besides its rising popularity as a destination for tourists, locals also frequent the garden for their morning walks. It is so scenic, so it should come as no surprise that the location is used in the filming of dramas. Fans of k-dramas should visit the pond garden to experience the place where ‘Love in the Moonlight’ (starring Park Bo Gum and Kim Yoo Jung) was filmed.
The Millenium Juniper in the arboretum is also not to be missed. The thousand-year-old tree stands in solitude on a gently elevated land and looks ever so elegant.
I would recommend at least 2 hours in the garden to take in all the floral and fauna. Trust me when I say there are many photogenic spots!
Botanical Gardens in Sri Lanka
Peradeniya Royal Botanical Gardens
Contributed by Joanna of The World in My Pocket
Visiting the Royal Botanical Gardens is one of the best things to do in Kandy. Located five kilometres outside the city centre, the Royal Botanical Gardens is one of the most extensive gardens globally, home to over 4,000 different plant species and 10,000 different kinds of trees.
The garden was landscaped initially in 1371, around a temple built by King Wimala Dharma, but it was later destroyed by the British. The gardens seen today were established later on, in 1843. The plants growing here were brought from all over Sri Lanka and also from Kew Gardens in London.
The garden is known for its collection of orchids and for the Giant Bamboo of Burma, which is 40 meters high. In 1901, King George V and Queen Mary planted a tree here which makes fruits that resemble cannonballs. As it is known, the Cannonball Tree is still alive and growing after over 100 years of life.
As one of the city’s main tourist attractions, the Royal Botanical Gardens are visited by around 2 million people every year. The gardens are huge, with different areas separated based on the types of plants being grown.
One interesting fact about this botanical garden is that in Kandy, it rains around 200 days a year, which makes the vegetation always look bright green. I highly recommend bringing an umbrella when you visit the gardens!
Botanical Gardens in Thailand
Queen Sirikit Botanical Gardens – Thailand
Contributed by Angie of Where Angie Wanders
Established in 1992 and named in honour of HM Queen Sirikit, this is Thailands first botanical garden. It offers the visitor a chance to explore 560 acres of lush mountainous vegetation and plants from around the world.
A highlight of the gardens is the glasshouse complex featuring twelve greenhouses, each with a topical theme. The Rainforest Glasshouse contains an abundant variety of tropical plants from Asia and is a favourite for visitors. Other greenhouses show off beautiful orchids, lotus flowers, carnivore plants and herb/medicinal plots.
A recent addition to the Queen Sirikit Botanical Gardens is Thailands longest canopy walkway called the Flying Draco Trail, named after the flying lizard that is only found in Chiang Mai. However, if you fear heights, you may not like the walkway as it has an entirely transparent floor so that the vegetation underneath can be viewed.
The garden also houses an organic farm and a museum displaying a wealth of plant information for guests to discover.
Botanical gardens in the United Arab Emirates
Dubai Miracle Garden
Contributed by Angie of Where Angie Wanders
Officially not a botanical garden in the scientific but still one of the prettiest gardens in the world!
Created in 2013 to cover 72,000 sqm of barren desert, the concept of showcasing 50 million flowers and 250 million plants in the heat of Dubai was no mean feat.
Tons of blooms were brought in from around the world and formed into aeroplanes, houses and animals. At that point, The Dubai Miracle Gardens became the largest natural flower garden in the world.
The Dubai Miracle Garden has become one of the best things to see in Dubai, and between mid-November and mid-May, millions of visitors pass through its gates (after these months, the heat is too intense for the flowers to be kept alive).
My favourite part of the Dubai Miracle gardens is the Mickey Mouse statue. Constructed with 100,000 plants and flowers and weighing a colossal 35 tons, it is the world’s biggest topiary structure! Tickets can be pre-booked and give entry to the Miracle Garden and the butterfly gardens.
Botanical Gardens in Vietnam
Hanoi Botanical Gardens
Contributed by Angie of Where Angie Wanders
One of the delightful things to do in Hanoi is to take some time out of your schedule and visit Hanoi’s botanical gardens. Amidst the polluted and noisy city, this green space offers visitors and locals a chance to immerse themselves in nature and is referred to as the city’s “green lung“.
The Hanoi Botanical Gardens cover the sprawling grounds around the Ho Chi Minh Presidential Palace with winding pathways and tropical flower borders lining the way to the garden’s centrepiece, a pond full of koi carp, a symbol of luck for the Vietnamese people.
Native trees account for two-thirds of all the species in the gardens with forty, 100-year-old redwood “sua” trees in situ that bloom in March with tiny white flowers and a beautiful fragrance. These are considered invaluable plant genetic resources for the whole of Vietnam and the Association for World Wide Protection in the conservation and development of biodiversity.
Check out this green oasis in the heart of the city for a reprise away from the hustle and bustle of Hanoi. I certainly enjoyed the peace and tranquillity in the Hanoi Botanic Gardens, just watching the local people go about their everyday lives.
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