Bangkok's Safari World : More Than a Zoo for Kids
Prepared by Harold Stephens
Travel Correspondent for Thai Airways International
It’s a known fact, a zoo is a place to take kids. An exception is Safari World in Bangkok. I enjoy the place as much as any kid does, if not more.
The truth is I don’t generally like zoos with the animals crammed up the way they often are, but I also realize many zoos are a necessity. They have saved some species of wild life. But not all zoos need to cram their animals into cages, and this is what Safari World in Bangkok is all about. It’s an open-air zoo, an animal park for a better name, and you are the one who is crammed in, that is if you follow the strict orders and don’t get out of your car. I had to go see the place, after hearing about it for the last twenty years when it first opened its door. I loaded up the car with drinks and snacks and my wife and I took our three grand children, ages two to five.
Located in Min Buri, just north of Bangkok, Safari World is an easy drive to the 800,000 square metre complex that comprises the park. As the brochure says there is both a Safari Park and a Marine Park. The drive-through Safari Park is inhabited by a range of African and Asian animals living in a natural habitat and are on show to visitors.
We didn’t go to the Marine Park—that’s for another time—but I did hear it offers visitors regular dolphin and seal performances that are extremely entertaining for children. It’s an all day event, but then we also turned the safari drive into an all day affair. (It’s open daily from 09:00 to 17:00.) The whole secret to enjoying the park is to take your time. Don’t let the car behind you try to hurry you up. There are plenty of parking places and when you sit back and relax the animals are the ones who are curious and will come poking their noses into your car window—which all the signs remind one to keep closed. There are a good number of park vehicles, painted with stripes like zebras, that are standing by to assist drivers in need, whatever that might be.
There is no shortage of animals, orangutans, lions, and elephants, all who perform tricks. The drive through Safari World is a slow car cruise through African-like Savanna populated by lions, tigers, giraffes, rhinoceros, zebras, cheetahs, ostriches, a wide variety of deer and birds, especially birds. In some places birds dominate the entire skyline. That's when binoculars would come in handy.
Although you get a map of the park when you enter, finding your way around can be complicated. There is a lot that you can miss if you are not careful.
As I mentioned Safari World is spread over an area of about 800,000 square metres or about 300 acres. It is divided into four sections, namely, Safari Park, Bird Park, Games Corner and Macaw Island. As we found out, our journey through the Safari World turned out to be a most memorable event for me as well as the kids.
But there is more to the park for excitement than the drive though. You can watch cowboys and bandits jostling for power and performing life-threatening stunts in the very exciting Hollywood Cowboy Stunt Show. Then the chirpings of beautiful birds won't remain unheard by the visitors during the Bird Show. And if you are with a date, you can enjoy a romantic mood seeing the lovebirds courting each other at the Bird Show.
What you don't want to miss is the ultimate visual extravaganza called Spy War Show at Safari World. Featuring breathtaking Para-trooping stunts coupled with special effects is the great Spy War Live Action Show.
Fun loving Seals await your arrival at the Sea Lion Show at Safari World Park. Tourists are advised not to get out of their cars, even on the open seemingly empty roads, and go walking in the Safari World, as no one knows when a gorilla will come out of the bush to welcome you by snatching whatever you are carrying.
What is really breathtaking is the Tiger & Lion Feeding Show, the only one of it's kind anywhere in the world. It comes on at 10:30 every morning.
Show programmes taken from the brochure are as follows:
• Orang Utan Boxing Show - Man's closest cousins take center stage as they tickle you with their keen sense of humor and dazzle you with their mathematical gifts. And who could miss world-famous Thai Boxing Show, starring the funniest and hairiest champions.
• Dolphin Show - the most intelligent of marine creatures will captivate you with their effortless mastery of the most difficult tricks! Get them to kiss you or shake hands with you! Marvel at dolphins somersaulting in mid-air, tossing balls with their fins and singing in a chorus, or performing dives unrivaled in their gracefulness and swiftness.
• Sea Lion Show - -Lighthouse Cove- will never be the same again with its new occupants. This quiet town along the pacific coast will be turned upside down when our Sea Lion friends wreak havoc as they pull one trick after another. Chiefs of Mischief take control.
• Bird Show -Stand by for a stunning show as our colorful performers take a plunge from the arena to the stage. Watch with amazement and bewilderment at the acrobatic and athletic skills of these intelligent creatures and share in the intimate secrets of a pair of lovebirds. See how our feathered friends fly their way to your heart.
• Spy War - Our secret agent Sean Sacco has a mission to fulfill: to get Doomsday Trigger before Mako gets us. Join Sean as he combats difficult terrain and heavy enemy gunfire to stop Mako in his tracks. Hold on to your seats as the action unfolds amidst a sea of rapid crossfire, thunderous explosions and breathtaking para-trooping stunts in a state-of-the-art amphitheater. A Truly earth-shattering experience not to be missed!
• Cowboy - Let Safari World bring you straight into the law territory of the wild wild west, where cowboys and bandits jostle for power with the intricate knock-downs, gunfights, bullwhips, fistfights and horseplay. Run for your life as explosives are hurled in your direction. Gasp and then heave a sigh of relief as stuntmen perform life-threatening stunts right before your very eyes. Participate in the funniest goose-chase peppered with the least expected of dramatic twists and turns!!!
Next week it ‘s a change of pace. I receive a number of queries about the Floating Market in Bangkok. Unfortunately the original floating market has long since disappeared. But there are exciting tours of the klongs which I shall tell readers about.
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
I encourage readers to write in and I will attempt to answer questions that may be puzzling them about Thailand, or anyplace that THAI flies.
Q. Mr. Stephens, I went through the index and found some stories you wrote on Jim Thompson and his disappearance. You surely must know what happened to him. Can you share your secret with us? Alfred Gonzales, San Francisco
A. Dear Alfred, All the world is curious about Jim Thompson. I wrote what I knew about him in my book, The Strange Disappearance of Jim Thompson. One day, I am sure, the truth will be known, but until then, the mystery is what keeps the story exciting.--HS
E-mail: ROH Weekly Travel (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Note: The article is the personal view of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the view of Thai Airways International Public Company Limited.