Our guide at the Tropical Spice Garden stops along the path to pick and crush a leaf. He hands it to us with a friendly challenge, “Can you name it?”. We breathe in the unmistakable sweet-spicy fragrance that we associate with the Thanksgiving desserts of our childhood. “Clove”, we respond confidently. “Very good”, says our guide. He points out the unopened flower buds on the tree and explains that those will become the dried, nail-shaped, spice that we see in the spice aisle at the grocery store.
During our tour of Penang’s Tropical Spice Garden, our guide similarly points out cinnamon trees, nutmeg trees, lemongrass, ginger, galangal, pepper, kaffir limes, coriander, chilies, tamarind, banana flowers, citronella, and pandan. He offers information about their uses and interesting facts about the Spice Trade and how it helped shape history.
This enchanting and educational botanical garden offers over 500 varieties of tropical flora specially selected from all over the world, including over 100 varieties of tropical spices and herbs used as flavorings, medicines, dyes and perfumes. There are 3 designated trails, Jungle Trail, Ornamental Trail and Spice Trail. We only visited the Spice Trail, but we intend to return to follow the remaining trails.
If you work up an appetite from your tour of the garden, you can visit the onsite restaurant. They serve a mixture of Northeastern Thai, Asian and Western cuisines and the chef’s take full advantage of their access to the finest herbs and aromatics found within the garden. Not only will you enjoy the lovely open-air setting within the 8 acre garden, but you’ll also benefit from the spicy aromas floating on the sea breeze.
Tropical Spice Garden also offers onsite cooking classes, a gift shop, and several landscaped venues for hire.
Tropical Spice Garden
Address: Lone Crag Villa, Lot 595 Mukim 2, Jalan Teluk Bahang, 11100 Penang, Malaysia
Hours: 9 am to 6 pm daily, last admission at 5.00 pm
Price: Adult RM26 (Audio Tour), Adult RM35 (Guided Tour), Children: RM15 (Audio Tour), Children RM20 (Guided Tour)