On Wednesday we went out to lunch with our Thai class at the beautiful Galae restaurant. The location is right by the river amongst a lovely garden. After a delightful lunch filled with a variety of Northern favorites including Nam Prik Ong, Gueng Hang lay, and deep fried seabass with crispy galangal we went for a short walk along the grounds.
While driving the scooters around we noticed that we were quite near the Chiang Mai zoo. The entrance was very odd, it almost looked like a private compound and there were no buses or other people besides the two in a small kiosk. We were able to buy tickets there and started walking towards the closest attraction. As it turned out we actually had entered at a small side entrance! We spent ages walking the steep road towards the actual zoo and past some very unusual signs, for example one read “Hormone extraction office” or something along those lines. I wonder if that is a mistranslation or they really extract hormones there?
Next time I would definitely take the time to find the real entrance. We had to walk over a very steep road for a long time and we then had to walk even further to find a place that sold tickets for the bus. In fact we almost had to buy two tickets for the bus around the park because they end at the entrance. Very annoying! I wish those guards had advised us to drive to the actual entrance.
Once we got over our disappointment with the entrance situation we had a lot of fun. A highlight for me was seeing the pandas! There are only two but as they only cost 100 baht extra for the ticket we thought it was worth it. We got lucky in that the zoo keepers had put out some fresh bamboo just before we got there and one of the pandas we just hanging out eating bamboo really close to the edge of the enclosure. We were maybe 6-8 feet away here. Crazy!
Another cool thing that I almost forgot to mention is that you can feed nearly any animal at the zoo. That’s right, even the carnivores! My SO was brave and decided to feed one of the jaguars. So weird! We also feed a giraffe, an elephant, and some deer.
We did skip the super expensive aquarium but I think with the pandas and various opportunities to feed the animals the zoo is so much fun. I couldn’t recommend it enough. Definitely a different experience than going back home. Just make sure that you go in the main entrance, it will save you a lot of hassle.