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Pha Tad Ke Botanical Garden

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As if visitors to Luang Prabang needed another excuse to get on the Mekong, the Pha Tad Ke Botanical Garden beckons on the opposite side of the river.

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With a stunning location at the base of its namesake cliff, the gardens are the first of its kind in Laos. Opened late 2016, Pha Tad Ke has been a huge undertaking, taking seven years to come to fruition. Now the 40 hectares of land (the grounds were the former hunting estate for the Lao royal family) require 50 Lao staff and a team of scientists and botanists. Though still in its infancy and developing its offerings, a full rainy season has unleashed the potential. Marked gravel pathways lead through thriving plots and habitats, from a ginger garden and limestone habitat, to an arboretum.

Listen to the dew drop. Photo taken in or around Pha Tad Ke Botanical Garden, Luang Prabang, Laos by Cindy Fan.

Listen to the dew drop. Photo: Cindy Fan

Not much is formally known about the flora of Laos. Only about 30% of the country’s plants have been catalogued and knowledge is key for conservation. When people speak of protecting heritage, they think of music, dance, crafts, dress and religion. Plants may not immediately come to mind but with Laos rapidly modernising, the study of plants and the local people’s traditional knowledge of them (ethno-botany) is just as critical.

Plant-based medicine is a large part of Lao culture, especially in ethnic minority villages in rural Laos where each will have a “medicine man”, the knowledge passed on orally. The centrepiece of Pha Tad Ke is the ethno-botanic gardens, helping to preserve the plant wisdom while teaching visitors about how each plant is used in every day life, handicraft, special ceremonies and medicine for people, and even for ... Travelfish members only (Around 500 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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Pha Tad Ke Botanical Garden
15 minutes by boat south of Luang Prabang.
Th–Tu: 08:00–18:00
Admission: Adults US$25 children under 12 $10

Location map for Pha Tad Ke Botanical Garden

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