Yesterday evening was nice. Today was the last day of Loy Krathong, and I’m guessing tonight’s events were going to be a ‘grand finale’ to the festival. But first, I decided to move out of Rux Thai and take a single room at Centerplace Guesthouse because I was going to be out all day and tomorrow morning, I would leave for Chiang Rai.
A single room at Centerplace Guesthouse costs just 200 baht (Rs. 300/$6.7/€4.5).
After transferring my bags, I decided to spend my morning at Chiang Mai Zoo, which is en route to Doi Suthep.
Now I knew Chiang Mai Zoo wasn’t going to be as impressive as Singapore Zoo, but the main reason I chose to visit the zoo is to see a rare animal I rank among my favourites in the animal kingdom — the giant panda!
Chiang Mai Zoo has three of them. But the entrance fees to the zoo are broken up by the individual attractions the place has to offer. The zoo fee costs just ฿100, but it does not include the chance to see the pandas. That’s another ฿100. Also, if you want avail the open air bus, that’s ฿20. So all-in-all, I paid ฿220 (Rs. 325/$7.2/€5) for my entry.
I walked a bit, saw a few animals at the entrance that I’ve seen many time before and then hopped on to the zoo bus to head straight for the pandas.
While young Lin Ping gets her massive play ground, her parents Chuang Chuang and Lin Hui are in a separate air-conditioned enclosure not too far away.
After getting my panda fix, I moved on.
I took the tram car again, and it stopped for a while at the newly opened aquarium.
They have a kids section with a bunch of cute animals and some rather interesting tiny creatures.
Next, I entered a birds enclosure.
After the birds, next up was a large open section entirely for Gibbons.
Also on the way out, I couldn’t help but buy a small souvenir from Chiang Mai zoo. They were selling stuffed toys of the zoo’s main stars, the pandas. I bought a small Lin Ping souvenir for 150 baht.
All in all, I must have spent nearly 4 hours in Chiang Mai zoo. A lot longer than I thought I would spend. I mostly came to see the pandas and ended up seeing pretty much everything the zoo had to showcase.
So is a visit to Chiang Mai zoo worth it? Well, Singapore Zoo didn’t have pandas (they only get them in 2012), and even koalas, when I visited back in September. So yes, this visit was time and money well-spent. At half the price of Singapore Zoo, you still see a lot of animals. Chiang Mai zoo also has animal shows and even a Night Safari. How good those are, I didn’t bother to find out of sheer dis-interest.
I had some time, so I decided to go back to my room and rest a bit.
I lied down for a while — this day wasn’t over yet.