I love going to a safari park. I have to say that I do like animals, so it is fascinating to get to see the animals that we don’t often see in our day to day lives. To encounter them closely as they are wandering around their compound is better than having to see them locked up in cages. Don’t get me wrong, it is probably better for them to live freely in the wild, but I always see this kind of safari parks more as an educational site. Not every kid have the privilege to go to Africa to see the lions and the zebras. So, these safari parks are the next best thing for the to see the animals directly.
When I was in Chiang Mai, I visited the city’s Night Safari attraction. This safari park is operated by government agency under the supervision of Pinkanakorn Development Agency. Chiang Mai Night Safari was first opened in 2006 as part of the effort to promote tourism in this part of the nation. It is open from 10 am until 10 pm, but although visitors can enjoy it in the afternoon, the park is best visited at night to experience the rarely-seen nocturnal side of the animal kingdom. In front of the main building of the park, we will find a large elephant and other fantasy animals statues glowing in colorful lights.
Next to the roundabout, there is the arena for night predators show. Here we will witness how tigers and leopards hunt at night. The show also demonstrated how a leopard jumped into water to catch their prey without any hesitation. It is also amazing how a tiger can climb a tree despite its sheer size. I guess they are basically large cats! After the show I went to the Savanna Safari Zone where I took the 50-seat open air tram ride along the route with guides in English and Chinese. There are only herbivores along the ride, so it is safe to have direct contact or feed them by hand. Flash photography are prohibited tough, as it will undoubtedly agitate the animals. Most of the herbivores roam the area freely while some others like elephants and hippopotamus are kept by some distance in safety fences.
The road was pitch dark and the lights were only turned on whenever we were stopping in each designated spot to interact with the animals. It was quite exciting and surprising too, like when the light were turned on and you suddenly find a giraffe or a herd of deer standing next to you! Another tram ride, which goes along the Predator Prowl Zone was less exciting as visitors cannot have direct interaction with the carnivores for obvious reasons. But still it was nice to see the tigers, hyenas and other carnivores at night, as most of them are supposed to be nocturnal animals.
Besides those two zones, there is also Jaguar Trail Zone which showcases smaller animals along a walking trail around the Swan Lake. There is also a cabaret show and a musical fountain show in the safari park. In general, this safari park is similar to other park and zoos, but the fact that we can visit it at night offers a different experience for visitors. I just hope the safari park near my hometown in Indonesia also offers a night safari one day. It would be exciting it is a bigger safari park. Perhaps I will write a post on that safari park once I finished with this series on Chiang Mai.