I just found this post saved as a draft and realised I never did write up a review about Bali Zoo so thought it was time I finish this off now! As I mentioned in a previous post I wasn’t that impressed by the zoo, it wasn’t a bad night out, but it wasn’t as awesome as everyone had made me think it was! We were advised to go for the evening event which included a meal and performances as well as a tour round the zoo, we all thought it sounded great so booked it through our guest house and paid over $100 (Australian) each for the package.
A guide picked us up from the guesthouse and took us down to the zoo in a little bus, he was really nice and offered to take us to the shop to get drinks on our way, but when we arrived he said we couldn’t take them into the zoo, which was pretty annoying as we then had to down our drinks before entering! Once you enter you are given a drink which I think was something similar to Pimms, the lions are in their enclosure for people to look at and there’s an owl that you can go and hold and have a picture with too. Once everyone arrives you set off walking with our guide to see the elephants, you don’t see any other animals on the way which was a shame, then when you arrive at the elephants they are all shackled at the feet and look very sad! The elephant handler unties one of them and puts him in a bath in the ground whilst telling you a bit about the elephant, then everyone gets a turn at feeding them and a picture taken, with the most blinding flash that leaves less than flattering pictures! Then you walk back to where you started before being taken off round the zoo in two groups.
The website promises ‘guided night tours to see how the zoo comes alive at night’, ‘petting and photo session with crocodiles, pythons and binturongs’ and ‘dining under the stars with the lions’, I didn’t really experience much of the above and Sammy felt the same! The tour round the zoo is a bit rushed, Sammy likes to take pictures and really take time with each animal so he was always chasing the group in the dark trying to keep up, this may also be due to the fact that it took so long to get a good look at the animals because so many are asleep or hiding or you can’t see them because it’s so dark! The tour guide has a torch that they shine at the animals so you can see them, but it’s really not a great zoo experience. The tigers are in tiny glass enclosures, most of the animals are birds and there aren’t any really interesting animals! We were let into a small animal enclosure with a lot of deer and goats and given food to feed them with which was fun, but I must have done that at kids petting zoo’s so many times as a child! The ‘petting and photo session’ wasn’t quite what a expected either, the staff let a couple of small animals run around on the stage, something similar to an echidna, one person from the audience was able to hold a baby crocodile, and we were able to take picture with a giant tree cat and a python but that was about it!
The ‘dinner with lions’ wasn’t quite what I expected either, the lions were in an enclosure that was to the side of the tables set up for dinner so not all of us could see them and they weren’t in view for most of the night anyway. However the food served at the buffet was amazing, there was so much choice and everything was cooked so well, we could have gone back ten times to refill our plates I reckon! The fire show and traditional dancing was also brilliant and really captivating to watch, the highlight of the evening for me definitely.
All in all, Bali Zoo wasn’t terrible, but as an animal lover I didn’t like seeing the larger animals in such small cages and enclosures, I also like value for money and I just didn’t feel like the actual zoo offered that. If you have no budget and don’t mind spending the money then I would definitely say go as we had heard so many good reviews that I’m sure a lot of people must really enjoy it there, but as a traveller on a budget back then I would recommend you spend your money climbing Mt Batur or getting a taxi to some of the smaller villages and towns to experience the amazing Balinese culture.
the bus to the zoo.