I feel like we’ve had so many incredible experiences this week that I’m exhausted thinking back to yet another one.
For this one, our regular camera battery was dead, and since it’s at night and we’re not photographers, it probably wouldn’t have done us much good anyway.
There are a number of things going on at this attraction, so many in fact that it’s hard to know how to approach it, but the tram ride is really the only “must see” attraction at this park.
So far this post is sounding pretty underwhelming, isn’t it?
But before I go on, I will say that dispite the fact that this particular attraction wasn’t an end-to-end thrill ride, let me assure you that if you’re visiting Chiang Mai you CAN NOT miss this tram ride.
Sometimes it’s the Small Simple Things that Grab Kid’s Attention
When we entered the park Rae was immediately drawn to the bunnies just inside the gate. There are carrots and lettuce leaves there for the kids to feed to the bunnies. It’s amazing how these little things captivate kids. With everything else in the park, when asked what her favorite thing was she didn’t even have to think… it was feeding the bunnies.
After we finally tore her away from the bunny cage we turned to our right and were confronted by two giant porcupines! Well, I don’t know if they were in fact giant, but I’ve never seen one and definitely never been face to face with one, so they seemed giant to me! They were just hanging out there in the open. You could pet them, they’d make their noises, and walk around to sniff the next person. That’s one of the big surprises in Chiang Mai: unlike zoos I’ve been to anywhere else, here you get right up front and personal with the animals!
And that’s was even more true when we got on the tram…
The Chiang Mai Zoo Tram Ride is Wild!
At first you pull up to a lit up rocky cliff. Up on the cliff there is this mountain goat. The guide says through a thick Thai accent: “Look, up there, it is member of goat family. It is very good climber… ok, next one we go now.” And off you go to the next one, which is also “member of goat family.”
You pass by what seems must be the entire extended family of goats, and then all of a sudden out of nowhere appear this huge mass of reindeer. They’re everywhere! Right next to you poking their heads in the tram, snorting and sniffing, letting you pet them.
For the rest of the trip you are litterally on the edge of your seat. You pass by tigers, anteaters, emus. Every time you turn your head there is some new, often times enourmous animal just inches from your face. As you pass by the giraffes they streatch their necks right in and say hello to everyone. As you pass by the hippos they climb out of the water and open their giant mouths while the guide calls out “ok, throw food to hippo!” As you pass by the zebras the guide says “careful, don’t feed zebra, their teeth very sharp.” As you pass by the elphants they throw water at you. It’s unbeleivable!
The Rest is Good, but Can’t Compare to the Tram Ride
After coming off the tram your head is spinning and I must say the little cowboy shows, water fountain light show, and even the night predator show just don’t seem to impress quite as much. If you’ve ever gone to a zoo and strained to see the tail of some leopard sleeping in a cave though, you’ll will appreciate the view you get of all the big cats in the night predator show. There are no humans in the show, but the animals all come out one species at a time and you get a very clear view of them eating, swimming, and climbing in front of you. The animals all look amazing, like out of a movie.
So if you every find yourself in Chiang Mai, I’d say don’t miss this one… but if you’re crunched for time you’d get your money’s worth even if you just stop in for the one hour tram ride.
While sitting down at the night predator show I realized my cell phone was not in my pocket. I figured I had either left it on my motorbike, in which case it would be gone unless by some miracle some honest person saw it and turned it in to lost and found before it got stolen, or it fell out of my pocket on one of the wild turns on the tram ride.
However, when we got back to the bike, there it was, still sitting there after 3 hours. There were groups of Thai teens sitting all amongst the motorbikes eating food and chatting, but somehow no one had decided to pick up this $700 phone sitting on a rental motorbike.