Nong Nooch founder dies at 91

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The founder of Pattaya’s award-winning Nong Nooch Tropical Garden and Elephant Park has died at age 91.

Park director Kampol Tansajja announced the Aug 4 passing of his mother Nongnooch Tansajja, who founded the famed attraction in 1980. Funeral services began the same day at Tat Thong Temple in Bangkok and the cremation was Aug 10.

Nongnooch was born on April 15, 1924. She and husband Pisit purchased 1,500 rai of land in Sattahip’s Najomtien Sub-district and began a fruit orchard.

Nongnooch Tansajja April 15, 1924 - Aug 4, 2015Nongnooch Tansajja April 15, 1924 – Aug 4, 2015

The idea for the garden took place when the couple traveled to foreign countries and saw botanic gardens were major attractions. They came back and reshaped their property into a flower garden and added extra facilities, including traditional Thai-style homes, huts, townhouses, a large swimming pool, food courts, meeting rooms and more.

Today’s Nong Nooch opened its gates in 1980 with a huge celebration featuring traditional dance performances, elephant shows and more. Six years after the official opening, the management was then handed over to Kampol, but Nongnooch never stopped working behind the scenes.

She spent her time between Bangkok and the garden. She also owned a campground in Prachinburi and an orchard in Chiang Rai.

Nooch Garden now attracts more than 2,000 visitors a day and houses two restaurants, a small zoo and a hotel with a swimming pool and Thai-style rental homes.