Dusit Zoo and the quest for a Sunday Roast (Bangkok)

I knew that if I stayed with my friend Jess, who’s lived in Bangkok for 6 months, for the weekend she would have a few suggestions as to what we could do. We started with a trip to Dusit Zoo on Saturday. I’ve always been a little cynical of zoos. It upsets me to watch live animals in captivity – especially when they’re just pacing up and down and clearly losing the plot. But this zoo was only 100 baht (£2) so I thought I’d give it a go. It was worth the money (especially as now I’m with Jess and she know’s the bus routes it costs me about 50p to get anywhere!) but I still left feeling slightly disturbed.

I spent a lot of my time watching these guys:

Loved this guy just chilling out on a branch

Loved this guy just chilling out on a branch

and this one:

Orangutan

Orangutan

Before I moved on to other animals such as lions, tigers and elephants. However I did not like seeing a mother and baby elephant in an enclosure this small, chained to the sides and being fed bananas. I resisted the urge to buy any myself as I couldn’t help but think how cruel it was.

Tiny enclosure

Tiny enclosure

Apparently the zoo is a breeding centre for a rare type of monkey and so there were plenty of cute babies to look at. I’m sure they’re well looked after but I just always think there’s something unnatural about keeping wild animals locked in a small enclosure. It was nice to watch them playing with each other though – especially two cute twin monkeys. I watched the Orangutan fill up a bottle of water in the stream and empty it over and over and couldn’t help but think about how bored he must be in his cage with no stimulation. It was at that point that I thought it was time to leave. That and the fact that after 2 hours of wandering around in the heat I was exhausted and missed air conditioning.

Despite my feelings about the place, I wouldn’t say the enclosures were any smaller than the one’s I’ve seen in zoos in the UK and the animals seem to be well cared for. It was a good day out even if it was to just see the beautiful gardens you walk through in the middle of the park.

Beautiful zoo gardens

Beautiful zoo gardens

In the evening we went for a meal at a local Thai restaurant which had rat, squirrel, porcupine, frog and crocodile on the menu. I chose the safe option of chicken and wasn’t entirely convinced what they bought me was actually that, but ate it anyway. I guess I will probably end up eating all sorts on this trip so I mayaswell start now! After the meal jess started to feel sick and then proceeded to spend the entire night throwing up – something that I really hope doesn’t happen to me on our trip!

The next day we were going to go to a champagne brunch but discovered that as it was election day no alcohol was going to be served anywhere. So that plan was scrapped for a new one of trying to find a roast dinner. After not even 2 weeks I was feeling sick of Thai food – I know it’s something I will have to get over but it’s not my favourite and leaves me feeling sick most of the time, so I was well up for something western.

We left Jess’ apartment in a district of Bangkok called Salaya at 12am, got on a bus, to the sky train and a sky train to Silom, where the English pub was. That took around 2 hours and from there we proceeded to wander up and down the streets of Bangkok for an hour and a half, completely lost, looking for the pub. By the time we found it our time totalled 3 and a half hours for the sake of one roast dinner. It was worth it and it was definitely the most I’ve ate since I got here! It took us 2 hours to get back and that was pretty much the end of our Sunday.

5 and a half hours of journey time for this (and a chocolate brownie)

5 and a half hours of journey time for this (and a chocolate brownie)

What the experience did give me was an opportunity to navigate the sky train and see parts of Bangkok I haven’t seen before. Last time I came I hovered around the Khao San Road area and didn’t go much further. Now I’m staying with Jess on the outskirts and seeing what she calls ‘the real Bangkok’. Unfortunately, I’m not sure I like it.

It doesn’t help that Jess pretty much hates it here after living here for 6 months but like any big city it’s just too chaotic for me. it’s difficult to find your way around (bar the sky train which is as easy as the London underground), everywhere takes ages to get to and the people are unfriendly – generally all the reasons I don’t like many big cities. It’s also the dirtiest city I’ve ever been to and you only have to walk 5 minutes and you feel pretty disgusting. It’s polluted, humid and it smells (Jess and I have decided it’s always one of three things – Thai food, cleaning fluid or poo). By the time I reached the pub on Sunday I had dirt all up my legs and no idea how – that just happens in Bangkok. Of course there are a lot of things I like about the city too, but I’ve seen a side of it this week that I don’t like.

I have been staying with Jess for 5 nights now and I’m getting a real taste of what it’s like to actually live in a foreign city. It’s been a good experience for me and one I’ll write about at a later date. For now I’m going to head out for the first time in 2 days (I’ve been working and researching) as I think I’m getting a bit of cabin fever.

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