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    Tropical Storm Tour: Thailand Part 32

    Wednesday, July 22, 2015
    Bangkok, Thailand

    A tiger and a girl pose at the Dusit Zoo in Bangkok, Thailand.
    A tiger and a girl pose at the Dusit Zoo in Bangkok, Thailand.

    An elephant at the Dusit Zoo in Bangkok, Thailand.
    An elephant at the Dusit Zoo in Bangkok, Thailand.

    Some brightly colored boats at the Dusit Zoo in Bangkok, Thailand.
    Some brightly colored boats at the Dusit Zoo in Bangkok, Thailand.

    Today, I hiked a couple of miles north of Banglamphu to the Dusit Zoo located next to the Parliament House and Dusit Palace in–you guessed it–the Dusit district. Opened in 1938, the zoo does, in many respects, indeed seem like a throwback to the mid-20th century, as most of the animals are kept in small to tiny enclosures that do not offer nearly as much movement as their natural habitats. Even the mega fauna such as elephants, hippos, giraffes and bears have only a very limited space to pace around in. The elephants and bears in particular seemed stressed as they stood stock still and repetitiously swayed their heads from side to side, which was a rather disturbing sight. Likewise, the giraffes’ coats looked pale and sullied–definitely not the bright yellow and brown of a healthy animal in the wild.

    A monitor lizard roams free at the Dusit Zoo in Bangkok, Thailand.
    A monitor lizard roams free at the Dusit Zoo in Bangkok, Thailand.

    Laborers pour new concrete at the Dusit Zoo in Bangkok, Thailand.
    Laborers pour new concrete at the Dusit Zoo in Bangkok, Thailand.

    A hippo eats a mouthful of grass at the Dusit Zoo in Bangkok, Thailand.
    A hippo eats a mouthful of grass at the Dusit Zoo in Bangkok, Thailand.

    In stark contrast, the hippos seemed happy at feeding time, after which they took a swim in their pond. Likewise, the monkeys seemed content to be swinging from branch to branch throughout their enclosure, and the turtles were walking about quite a bit in theirs. Within the realm of the inanimate, many of the animal statues scattered throughout the place are in dire need of a new paint job by a professional, as most of them look downright amateurish and cheesy. Oddly enough, I saw a guy painting a seal statue and it looked pretty dang good. They should get him to paint the rest of the statues throughout the place–even at the front gate. All other surfaces could use a good lick of paint, too, while they’re at it, as the whole park looks kind of dilapidated. What with all of the renovation work going on with the walkways, you’d think they’d spruce up everything else, as well. Another slight disappointment you may want to consider if you go to the Dusit Zoo anytime soon (in 2015) is at least 20 percent of the attractions were closed, including the nocturnal house.

    An anatomically correct--not!--Tyrannosaurus Rex roams free at the Dusit Zoo in Bangkok, Thailand.
    An anatomically correct–not!–Tyrannosaurus Rex roams free at the Dusit Zoo in Bangkok, Thailand.

    A monkey hangs loose at the Dusit Zoo in Bangkok, Thailand.
    A monkey hangs loose at the Dusit Zoo in Bangkok, Thailand.

    A walkway under renovation at the Dusit Zoo in Bangkok, Thailand.
    A walkway under renovation at the Dusit Zoo in Bangkok, Thailand.

    Two giraffes relax at the Dusit Zoo in Bangkok, Thailand.
    Two giraffes relax at the Dusit Zoo in Bangkok, Thailand.

    When you’re walking about, watch out for the large monitor lizards on the loose, as I almost stepped on one! And there are signs saying don’t feed them, because they bite! So, overall, the Dusit Zoo is a mixed bag. It seems to be stuck in a time warp from decades past and is in desperate need to be brought roaring into the 21st century with truly international standards of animal care and park management. On the way back to the Thanon Khao San area, I saw a stop for bus number 1 out in front of the zoo, but I wasn’t sure where it went or how long it would take to show up. So, I walked about a mile over to a sidewalk market on Thanon Samsen,where I eventually caught a bus straight back to the west side of Thanon Khao San. By the time I made it back to my room, my feet and leg muscles were really fatigued, as I must have walked at least seven or eight miles. I figured I’d have to take a rest day tomorrow, for sure.

    Words and photos ©2015 Arcane Candy.

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