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From the garden to the plate – Penang’s Spice Garden combines expert education on flora and fauna with fascinating cooking classes

News aus Malaysia: ITB Berlin Partnerland 2019

News from Malaysia: the partner country of ITB Berlin 2019

It is no coincidence that the Malaysian island of Penang is famed for its spices. The Tropical Spice Garden is an excellent reflection of this and offers visitors a wealth of knowledge about the island’s plant world. Covering more than eight hectares of jungle, the enclosure is a habitat for more than 500 species of exotic flora and fauna.

Visitors can explore paths and terraces in the Spice Garden while listening to audio guides or experts talking on the subject. Attractions include a tea kiosk, a gift shop and a large selection of spices and souvenirs. The Bamboo Garden café and restaurant also has a spectacular view of the bay below. The garden is home to all kinds of birds, insects, small animals and reptiles, and provides excellent opportunities for taking unique photos. Visitors keen on finding out how tasty the garden’s spices are can take part in a cooking class that highlights the subtle flavours of these plants.

From a rubber plantation to the Garden of Eden

Situated on the north coast of the island of Penang, the Spice Garden today is what was originally an abandoned rubber plantation. Its founders David and Rebecca Wilkinson had long envisioned creating a tropical garden. The couple put together a talented team to transform the old farm into a multi award-winning eco-tourism destination. The Spice Garden opened its doors in November 2003, having taken around 18 months to restore.

A large part of the work went into conserving as much of the original flora and fauna as possible, including the topography, in order to preserve the garden’s natural character. Many of the rubber trees were left untouched, not least because they provide welcome shade for visitors and the animals living there.

Water also plays an important role. The team which designed the garden made sure that water is fed into a pond near the entrance by small streams from a nearby waterfall. All around the garden visitors can hear a soft rushing noise as water winds its way beneath the surface.

As one of the world’s leading eco-tourism destinations the Tropical Spice Garden has won a number of awards – including the Gold Award of the Laman Floral Garden Awards at the Malaysia International Landscape & Garden Festival 2004 and the Merit Award of Tourism Malaysia for the best man-made tourism attraction in 2005/2006.

The exotic garden in the north of Penang not only fascinates individual visitors and groups, but is also a sought-after event venue. Among other events the Tropical Spice Garden is particularly popular for celebrating weddings and other occasions with family and friends.

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