There is something uniquely Thai about Samut Prakan Crocodile Farm and Zoo. I am not sure that the animals are abused as such, but they are certainly not treated with ‘reverance’ in the way that Western zoos apsire to. Infact, this isn’t a zoo at all. It’s a farm. There are around 40,000 to 100,000 crocodiles at any time, depending on whose figures you believe. Eventually they will all be processed into handbags, shoes and steaks. All of which can be purchased on site, including on a plate in the restaurant.
Opening the farm to the public, holding shows and the addition of other animals, is a sideline. Farmers in the West are only just waking up to the need to diversify, this is diversification Thai style.
Anyway, no shortage of visitors to this attraction. Its about 28kms from central Bangkok. To get there take a taxi, a tour, or a bus – from On Nut BTS station buses 25, 507, 508 and 511 will take you right to the entrance. It opens daily from 8am to 6pm and costs 300 Thai Baht ($10) for adults and 200 Thai Baht ($6.7) for children.
The main attractions are the crocodile wrestling shows and the elephant shows. They take place throughout the day for a duration of approximately 30 to 40 minutes a show. The crocodile show involves young Thai men putting various body parts in the crocodile’s mouths, picking them up and other stuff generally considered inadvisable with large dangerous reptiles. The elephant show has the large beasts doing tricks including playing football and walking the tightrope.
The ‘zoo’ covers 3,000 acres. There is a mini-train which takes visitors around the various enclosures. The animals on show include tigers, lions, chimpanzees, leopards, pythons and camels. If you still crave more interaction with the animals then you can get in the enclosures with the crocodiles. Well, OK, one crocodile to have your photograph taken. You can also feed the crocodiles. It costs 20 Baht (67 cent) for a chicken carcass.
Depending on your perspective this is either a good day out, a slightly weird experience, or a lesson in how South East Asian people tend to view animals. Thailand never fails to be thought provoking, and the crocodile farm is likely to make you think. Bring a peg for your nose. It smells, and not of roses.
If you want to go on a tour of Samut Prakan Crocodile Farm and Zoo Isango do one. They pick you up at your hotel at 1pm. The tour lasts 4 hours and includes entrance fees and english speaking guide. The tour costs $30 a head. Click on the button below to find out more.