I hadn’t ever seen a panda in real life, so I was determined to go to the Chiang Mai zoo because they have a couple of them, Giant Pandas, although only one was visible that morning. TripAdvisor reviews weren’t very good and unfortunately, they were pretty accurate.
The panda was the first exhibit was the exhibit I headed to and although I had only paid 150 baht to get in – about $4.50 – I was surprised to have another 100 baht fee to get in the panda exhibit. Actually almost everything costs extra – the aquarium, the shuttle, the Snow Dome (not sure what that was), etc.
I really loved seeing the panda and I’m glad I went for that reason alone. The zoo is set over many acres and it would take real fortitude and extreme physical fitness and no children to experience it without the shuttle bus (there used to be a monorail systems, but no more, just lonely tracks). About half of the animal enclosures were empty and it wasn’t the heat of the day, so I don’t think they were just sleeping (I wouldn’t have blamed the animals if they were – it was hot!).
|This is the first thing you see!|
However, I had some of the best curry I’ve had in Thailand at their little café and at “in town” prices. I bonded with one of the ostriches (or least I did from my point of view). Also, the elephant fountain that greets you at the entrance is spectacular and perhaps if I’d paid for and experienced the aquariums I would have been more impressed.
So, in conclusion, if you’ve seen a panda, you might want to save your zoo experience for another city. Bear in mind (no pun intended) that this post is written by a former resident of San Diego, which has an absolutely fabulous zoo. There I admitted it – I’m zoo-spoiled.