Penang Tropical Spice Garden
Tucked alongside the winding roads of Batu Feringghi is the Tropical Spice Garden, a garden unlike any other found in Malaysia.
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The Tropical Spice Garden is made up of eight hectares of secondary jungle overlooking the shores of Batu Feringghi. Its founders, David and Rebecca Wilkinson, together with a team of four other individuals, took one and half years to transform an abandoned plot of rubber plantation into the breathtaking garden that it is now. The staff took great care to ensure that most of the original flora and fauna around the area was preserved and built the garden's features around the bigger trees in line with the preservation objective. The garden is home to approximately 500 species of flora which includes herbs and spices as well as ornamental plants.
The first thing that greets the visitors as they arrive at the registration counter at the Tropical Spice Garden is the aroma of citronella. The garden uses citronella as natural mosquito repellent and the friendly staff at the reception area urge all visitors to rub citronella onto any exposed area of the body. The entire garden was designed to blend in with the natural environment surrounding it, so no artificial insecticide or pesticide is used within its grounds.
Beyond the reception lies a beautifully tended garden beckoning to visitors, waiting to be explored. There are three different trails to choose from, as seen on the map before the entrance to the garden. There is the Spice Trail, the Ornamental Trail and the Jungle Trail. The Spice Trail leads visitors towards the right side of the gardens where they can see herbs and spices like the Torch ginger plant, Ceylon cinnamon, cloves, tamarind, pepper and nutmeg. The Ornamental Trail, which covers the middle part of the gardens, showcases some of the most unique and beautiful ornamental plants like the Devil's Bark Tree, the Silver Joey Palm and the Black Lily. Adventure lovers who would like to explore the gardens' natural terrain can opt for the Jungle Trail which brings them through the lush jungle. Some of the plants that can be spotted here are African oil palm trees and rubber trees.
One of the most lauded parts of the Tropical Spice Garden is its water feature. The creators of the garden have ensured that the sounds of running waters can be heard from almost every area, providing an air of calm. Feng shui elements were applied to the managing of the flow of water within the core of the garden to add to this effect. There are numerous gazebos, benches, gateways and bridges all over the garden, making it a relaxing stroll suitable for the young and the elderly. Guided tours are also offered to those who would like to know more about the spices, their history and uses. These tours, which last roughly about an hour or so, are informative and provide valuable insights about these everyday herbs and spices. The Tropical Spice Garden is a destination that should not be missed when visiting Penang.