May 02 2012
Paradise Park Farm on Ko Samui offers a relatively cool mountain retreat, where kids can enjoy petting a variety of animals while adults savour the spectacular views. The farm is located more than 600 metres above Lipa Noi atop Samui's Khao Pom; the drive up can be a little hairy, so make use of their pickup service from the main road if you have not hired a 4x4. Walkways and trails wind through 20 acres of tropical mountain forest, at considerably cooler temperatures than the rest of Samui due to the altitude.
The park’s restaurant and infinity pool boast views over Samui's west coast and to the Five Islands; reasonably priced Thai and Western fare is available from the restaurant, and parrots that converse in both English and Thai will keep the kids busy – no need to bring the iPad along.
Kids can explore the enclosures that are home to your usual petting farm inhabitants -- such as deer and rabbits -- as well as a few bizarre ones, such as colourful doves. We thought they were painted by hand but after a little research, it appears that they are actually fed food colouring in egg yolk. Other interesting residents at the park include tiny hedgehogs – cute little bundles of prickles that you ironically want to cuddle but can't and Coco the monkey, who likes to brush guinea pigs.
Spacious aviaries are home to a variety of birds who keep up an endless rowdy chorus. Enter the budgie enclosure with a handful of provided greens and hope for the best as these cheeky birds swarm all over you to munch on their favourite snack. It can be quite a scary experience for a small child, so be warned!
For those wanting a true wildlife experience, Paradise Park is not the place. This is a petting zoo, not a reserve where animals roam free in their natural habitat. The animals however seem in good health, seem to be fed correct diets and enjoy large enclosures and paddocks. Some, such as the monkeys, are tied up on long ropes -- not what one wants to see, but at least they are not subjected to performing demeaning tricks, and they seem quite content. Coco’s rope is long enough for him to bail over a fence and steel an unsuspecting guinea pig when he feels like company. He loves to cuddle and brush them; quite bizarre to watch. The guinea pig squeals when grabbed, but then calmly sits while being groomed.
Paradise Park Farm
217/3 Moo 1, Talingngam, Ko Samui
From the Ring Road, take the turn off at Ban Saket and travel along a rather hairy road for several kms. Be careful that you don’t take a wrong turn up top and end up in the military base.)
T: (086) 063 3318, (081) 255 1222
Open daily 9:00-18:00
Admission: 300 baht for adults, 100 baht for children