Welcome to Safari World…The World of Happiness

The title of my blog post is the catchphrase of Safari World, one of Bangkok’s interesting attractions. The park is quite far from the Central Business District (approx. an hour drive) but is easily accessible. My friends and I went there last Sunday. Took an Ordinary Bus (No. 115) from Lumpini Park  and paid THB 8.00 per person till Fashion Island (a shopping mall located in Ramintra Road on the outskirts of Bangkok).  From there we took a taxi to Safari World and paid THB 80.00.

We were able to visit the place at a cheaper price because during a recent travel consumer fair in Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre, Safari World has a booth and is selling entrance ticket for only THB 380 per person instead of THB 580. Quite great discount!

Safari World has a total land area of 1,650 rai and comprises of the Safari Park and Marine Park and is open from 0900H-1700H everyday.

We first entered the Marine Park. This area houses vast spectrum of animals from land, sea or air and visitors are entertained with a variety of shows like Orangutan, Sea Lion, Elephant, Dolphin, Bird Show, Spy War and Stunt Show. My friends and I find the Spy War show a bit boring as it seem like an act from some TV Action-Drama series. The animal shows are quite entertaining though and I enjoyed the Dolphin Show and Bird Show the most.

However, the highlight of the Marine Park for me is their newest attraction called Mini World. You will have to go inside a giant bird cage-like space and once there, you will see variety of birds. There is 1 section wherein you could have  the opportunity to feed birds. It’s very cool that birds would fly to either the palm of your hands or your shoulder to eat some of the feeds and you can take photos with them very closely.

Only consideration when visiting the park is that since it is open area, the temperature can be very hot and humid especially during summer but there are plenty of shops to buy water or food or some staff would roam around the stadium before each animal show starts. However, I find the price of their food as well as souvenir 2 notches more expensive than the other popular places in Thailand like Dream World, Siam Park, etc.

After roaming Marine Park and viewing most of the shows, we went to the Safari Park. This area allows the visitors to get to see hundreds of animals from all over the world up close and have the feel of a real Safari experience from their own vehicle or through the shuttle buses that regularly roam the park. We took the shuttle bus and paid THB 30.00 per person. Entire trip took approximately 45 minutes to complete.

There was an area in the park with several lions comfortably resting under the shade of the trees. When our shuttle bus passed by, we were fortunate to see one lion capturing an innocent bird for his “dinner’. Talk about an authentic Safari scene.

I just came to know while writing this blog the information written in Wikipedia that Safari World has been subject to some controversies about the way they keep and treat animals in the Zoo and many groups discourage visitors to support the park because it is almost the same as helping them to continue mistreating the animals particularly Orangutans and Elephants. Not sure about the status of these international scrutiny is at this point.

If you are Bangkok and would like to see the City of Angels on a different angle sans the temples, shopping malls and food stall, then Safari World is definitely a good option.

A Whole New World with Lea Salonga

Lea Salonga

Tonight is a proud moment for many Filipinos living or working in Thailand cos this night, the Philippines’ most successful and highly acclaimed International Singing Star, Lea Salonga performed in a spectacular 2 hour concert at the Queen Sirikit Convention Centre, Bangkok to the awe of the spectators myself included.

As a Filipino, I am so proud listening to the powerful voice of Lea and more importantly, witnessing how the audience appreciate her performance with very warm applause and loud cheers. It was a defining moment for me because it is not often that I witness a Filipino wow a large crowd in a foreign soil!

The concert started with Gerard Salonga, Lea’s brother and the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra played several songs from Broadway Musicals. Lea entered the stage singing Something’s coming from the West Side Story. After singing her first song, she informed everyone that prior to the concert, she got a severe respiratory tract infection that made her stay in the hospital overnight the night before the concert and she sought everyone’s consideration if her singing voice is not as good due to the ailment which they had to cut some songs from the  original programme.

It was followed by other popular songs like Colors of the wind from Pocahontas, On my own from Les Miserables, Part of your world from The Little Mermaid and I’d give my life for you from Miss Saigon. If she did not tell the crowd that she was sick, we will never know it because she is such a world-class performer with a very powerful voice. I can feel that the crowd patiently wait for her song to finish so they can express their admiration through wild applause.

After the intermission comes the 2nd half of the concert. She sang more popular hits like Go the Distance from Hercules, Someone’s waiting for you from The Rescuers, I dreamed a dream from Les Miserables. Then when it is time to sing Reflection from the Disney Movie Mulan, she had to call her friend, Thai Singer named Pat Suthasinee Buddhinan which sang quite well despite being sick as well. Then comes the song “A Whole New World” from Aladdin which Lea said she is again looking for someone to sing the song with her. The audience taught at first she is joking but actually she is not…Finally, 4 guys come up on stage to sing with her, one of which is Jose (which me and my friends personally know as Master J).

Then she continued with songs from Oliver and the last song was Everybody says don’t from Anyone can whistle..The audience gave a thunderous applause and standing ovation then Lea and Gerard walk out of the stage but people asked more so they go back and Lea sang in a very sexy and sultry style, “I’ve got a crush on you”.

Except for some glitches in seating arrangements though it was pre-numbered upon booking as well as the eerie sound from the aluminum flooring when some people in the audience walked to go to the toilet in between songs, overall Lea’s Bangkok concert was a huge success. She hinted that hopefully when she goes back to Bangkok (for another concert), her voice will be a lot better and would probably make Gerard sing a song.

I have never watched Lea Salonga perform on stage prior to tonight’s concert. I felt  fortunate to finally witness her talent in person which has long been the toast of foreign musicales and animated films.

Kudos to Lea and the Filipinos!