Instead of trying to cover the whole of Chiang Mai zoo in one post we’ll concentrate on what to our mind is the best part of it — the aquarium. Chiang Mai’s state of the art aquarium opened some three years ago and it’s been improving ever since.
There’s an extensive array of fresh and sea water species plus a few reptiles and snakes. A highlight is the huge walk-through tank, which on one side recreates the underwater Mekong eco-system and another has coral reef flora and fauna. The underwater walk-through glass tunnel, at 133m long, claims to be the longest in the world and even if it isn’t, it certainly is spectacular. You can even do scuba diving courses in the tank and get up close to the reef sharks and giant Mekong catfish, though you might not want to get too close to these piranha fellows below?
The aquarium is situated roughly half way around the zoo, making it a fair walk from the entrance, especially on a hot day, but a sort of overgrown golf buggy does the loop, dropping you off outside any of the main exhibits. For 20 baht a ticket and you can get on and off an unlimited number of times. We’d allow at least an hour to visit what is a pretty large aquarium, which does make the fairly steep entrance price a bit more worth it.
You can turn up at the zoo, pay your 100 baht entrance fee, then pay a supplementary entrance charge for the pandas, (110 adults, 50 kids), aquarium (450 adults 350 kids) and so on, though there is a combined zoo and aquarium entrance fee which is a slightly better deal: 520 baht or 390 baht for kids gets you a ticket for both and includes a minibus shuttle to the entrance. Anything between 90 and 135 cm classifies you as a kid, regardless of age, and anyone under 90 cm is free, so a good deal if you’re vertically challenged. (It’s only 250 baht if you can persuade them you’re Thai or at least pay Thai taxes, which puts you in a very small privileged minority in this country.)
Anyway here are a few more pretty pix of some of the residents.
A few very pretty sea fans followed by a triggerfish among some live coral.
… and last but not least, a horny toad in the amphibian and reptiles section.
How to get there
The aquarium is located about half way around the main zoo road; it’s a decent walk that can be skipped by paying 20 baht for a golf buggy shuttle that can also take you around the rest of the zoo for a full day.
By Mark Ord.