The Chiang Mai Night Safari is one of those attractions you might easily miss if you don’t have a good tour guide, but it’s well worth a look. Located on about 300 acres of land about 10 km from the Chiang Mai city centre, it’s a bold combination of zoo, theme park and nature park with a wide range of animals including rare white tigers, jaguar, various kinds of monkeys, camels, horses and – interestingly for us Australians – kangaroos and koalas!
You don’t need a guide or a tuk tuk to get to the Chiang Mai Night Safari. There’s a free minibus that leaves from the tourist police station, about half way up Chang Khlan Road (the Chiang Mai night bazaar street) on the right hand side, every evening at 7.30 pm. And it drops you back there after your tour at about 10.30-11.00 pm.
There are two distinct ways to see the park:
The first is a daytime only zone called the Jaguar Trail which is really a walk through the parklands, passing by some of the animal enclosures and around the beautiful central lake with its water fountain. You’ll see all 400 animals in daylight and if walking is not your bag (only a little more than 1 km), you can hire a safari-styled golf buggy to travel around in. Cost is 100B for adults and 50B for children.
The second is a night-time tram ride through the animal enclosures, which run from 6pm to midnight (every 15 minutes, last tram leaves about 10.30 pm). The tram ride costs 500B for adults and 300B for kids, but you’ll get close up and personal with white rhino, giraffe, cheeta, ostrich, kangaroos, dingos, koala and emu in the Savanna Safari Zone, and then lions, tigers, wolves, bears, crocodiles and hyenas in the Predator Prowl Zone. Be warned that they will not allow you to use any flash photography or video lights as it disturbs the animals too much.
Finally, there an opportunity to hand-feed a baby white tiger or crocodile or similar and get a beautiful portrait photo and video-disc, all done by a professional, in the Photo Corner. The cost is 250B and it’s well worth it. There’s also a quite nice snack bar and coffee shop if you get hungry while your there.
It’s all a bit kitsch, but nice just the same. We really enjoyed it.
A video preview of the Chiang Mai Night Safari
Here’s a sample of what you can expect to at the Chiang Mai Night Safari.