Thursday, December 30, 2010

"Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!"

Day 4 (Wed, 22 Dec 2010)

Just a quick note about breakfast. The place Lilian is staying offers a buffet breakfast spread so we were fortunately able to enjoy a hearty breakfast every morning before we started our day.

I'll be honest, I only added this pic cos it's such a delectable one!

This was our last day in Bangkok and the destination was Safari World. Yet another local gem, this animal leisure park is like a zoo and safari rolled into one. Entry is not cheap, tickets are THB 800 (S$35) per adult and THB 500 (S$22) per child, but you do get entry to both sections. It's worthwhile to hire a car and driver for the trip here so that you can view the animals in the safari segment at your own pace. If you take a cab here, you'll have to ride on one of the park's coaches which I imagine would limit your viewing somewhat.

We've never been to a safari so it was a real treat seeing the animals up close and sans boundaries. An ostrich even sauntered up to the car and pecked at the side mirror!

Why did the pelican cross the road?

The animals looked pretty comfortable despite being in an artificial habitat. Scores of birds were building nests in the trees.

We then drove past a Jurassic Park-like gate to the enclosure for dangerous animals. There were rangers strategically parked, probably to make sure no dummy turns himself into life bait by getting out of his car.

After we had completed the safari section, we went to the zoo portion and honed in on the next highlight - giraffe feeding.

Did I mention that Lilian's elder son, Brian, came along with us for this outing?

The Safari Terrace is a specially designed, two-storey platform where visitors can view the gentle giants. These are the same giraffes we saw at the safari but now, we get to see them up close. The giraffe is Lesley-Anne's favourite animal of all time - for her, this was the highlight of the whole trip.

For THB 40 (about S$1.80), you can buy a bucket of giraffe food to feed the many that will instantly come a-gallivanting. It's a very clever way of earning some side cash cos it's so fun, you'll end up buying multiple buckets! The three kids went through 7 buckets.

You can even pat them, they get so close.

Ever seen a giraffe up close? They have dreamy, shiny eyes ala Japanese manga characters and long, fluttery eyelashes. They also have long, creepy, lizard-y tongues though and drool a lot. Don't let their placid demeanours fool you, some of the males can be quite aggressive. One of the alpha males was head-butting any other giraffe that got in his way of a meal.

Giraffes feeding. By the way, a group of giraffes is commonly referred to as a herd but it can also be called "a tower of giraffes". Appropriate, don't you think?

The rest of the zoo was so-so. Not quite an open-zoo concept as Singapore's but way better than Beijing's. On the way out, we passed by a bird enclosure with hundreds of brightly hued lories, a concept similar to the one at Jurong Bird Park. Brian managed to get his hand on some bird feed.

We drove back to Bangkok to meet Lilian for lunch at Greyhound - a fusion cafe at Siam Paragon. Very interesting dishes like the squid ink pasta and complicated noodles (below) where you wrap this kway teow type pastry and minced meat in lettuce.

The food is on the pricey side (by Bangkok standards) but it's definitely tasty!

Kenneth and I dropped by MBK (another popular budget shopping centre) for some last minute shopping while the kids went back with Lilian to enjoy the rest of the afternoon before we left for the airport. Pic on the right is a view from the apartment. Check out the notorious Bangkok traffic.

All in all, it was a great holiday. Lots of shopping and eating, peppered with fun activities for the kids. Some of our family and friends were concerned about the red shirt commotion but we never saw a single protester during our time there. It really is a pleasant destination, especially at this time of the year where the weather hovers at around 27 degrees celcius, so it's like walking in air-conditioned comfort. If you're looking for a short and cheap holiday, Bangkok is a great option.


ada said...

We are so going to Safari World next time we visit!! Just love your photos!!!

monlim said...

Thanks! Looks like you'll be making another trip to BKK, eh?

Lilian said...

wow, really nice photos at the Safari. The giraffe feeding experience is really cool, we enjoyed that the most too when we went there.

monlim said...

Lilian: It was a great rec - def a priceless experience!