Phuket Zoo has been the subject of countless talks, discussion and arguing for almost two decades. Some like it, some hate it and few judge it without having visited it just because it is a zoo and by definition zoos are bad. I visited 2 times in 15 years (Phuket Zoo was opened in 1997). The first times, yes it was dreadful animals were in poor condition and kept in dirty cages, often too small and I decided to never visited it again.
But recently, following our Facebook readers’ request I took on myself to visit the Phuket Zoo again and see if things improved or were as bad as some described it. Just remember: I don’t like zoos but I’m ok with large open space safari parks.To their credit, the Phuket Zoo is in better shape than in my first visit lots of areas and animal condition have been improved. Some other are still disturbing but eventually the social media pressure seems to have partially worked. Double pricing is an issue for some, but it is up to you to judge, I’m not against it as most Thai don’t make big salaries and even the poorest visitor to Phuket makes more than the average Thai worker.Cages and animals in general look healthier than in my memory. No doubt the headcount of crocodiles have hugely increased, maybe they are now accommodating the hundred crocodiles that once lived in the now defunct crocodile farm in the middle of Phuket town. Those big guys don’t move much and bask in the sun all day but they sure are fascinating. I saw quite a few impressive hornbills, large snakes, camels and deers. I only spotted one tiger sleeping on a platform for tourist to take a picture with. He was sleeping next to his caretaker, don’t know if he was drugged or not, didn’t ask. The monkey cages should be larger but to be fair, I’ve seen worse in Europe.The highlights of the Phuket Zoo are the elephant show, the monkey show and the crocodile show. I only saw the elephants and the place was packed with tourists. To the delight of the crowd, elephants perform half a dozen tricks: dancing, play musical interments and step carefully between volunteer tourists lying down on the ground. I’ve been here too long to be impressed and I always thought elephants were too noble animals to act in a circus. You’ll be your own judge. Crocodile show is probably the same as in other similar places where a staff places his hand or his head inside the croc’s mouth.So once again, it’s better than it used to be but it’s up to you to visit it or not. Some say going there will encourage such business, some other that going there will help keeping those animals alive and fed. Now it’s your call.
and 16.45 hrs.
Phuket Zoo Location: 23/2 Moo 3, Soi Palai, Chaofah Road (not far from the Chalong circle, the zoo is very well indicated)
Click here to see all locations on our Phuket Map