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A Guide to Animal Encounters

Family Travels in Thailand: A Guide to Animal Encounters

Thailand is renowned for its stunning landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and vibrant cities. Beyond its bustling markets and pristine beaches lies a realm of unparalleled natural beauty, teeming with exotic wildlife. 

In this exploration of Thailand’s wilderness, join us as we embark on a journey to uncover the best wildlife attractions that make Thailand a paradise for nature enthusiasts and wildlife lovers. 

So, pack your binoculars, lace up your hiking boots, and get ready to embark on an extraordinary journey through the best wildlife attractions in the Land of Smiles.

What to Expect When Going on an Animal Encounter Trip in Thailand

What to Expect When Going on an Animal Encounter Trip in Thailand
(Image source: iStock)

Diverse Wildlife Encounters: Prepare for a wide range of wildlife encounters, from observing animals in their natural habitats to getting up close and personal in controlled settings like zoos or sanctuaries.

Unpredictable Animal Behaviour: Remember that animals, even in controlled environments, can exhibit unpredictable behaviour. Maintain a safe distance and follow all guidelines provided by tour guides or park staff.

Immersive Learning Opportunities: Animal adventure trips offer educational experiences. Expect to learn about the behaviour, conservation status, and the importance of preserving the species you encounter.

Responsible Tourism: Many animal adventure trips focus on responsible and ethical tourism. Support organisations and facilities that prioritise animal welfare and conservation.

Physical Activity: Depending on the trip, you might engage in physical activities like hiking, trekking, or walking. Ensure you’re physically prepared for the journey.

Wilderness and Weather: Be prepared for varying weather conditions and the possibility of navigating natural settings. Pack accordingly with appropriate clothing and gear.

Top 15 Family-Friendly Wildlife Encounters in Thailand

Chiang Mai Night Safari

Address: 33, Nong Kwai, Hang Dong District, Chiang Mai 50230, Thailand

Operating hours: Daily 11 AM to 10 PM

Entrance fee: 

Safari Tram:

  • Adult – 300 THB (Thai Local) , 800 THB (Foreigner)
  • Children – 150 (Thai Local), 400 THB (Foreigner)

Jaguar Trail:

  • Adult – 50 THB (Thai Local) , 100 THB (Foreigner)
  • Children – 25 (Thai Local), 50 THB (Foreigner)

Thai citizens aged 60 and above can avail a 50% discount by presenting their valid ID


Chiang Mai (row 619)i Night Safari is a unique wildlife attraction that immerses visitors in the enchanting world of nocturnal creatures. This remarkable safari allows you to observe animals in their natural habitat during the nighttime, a truly magical experience.

You get to board an open-sided tram or opt to venture on foot along the carefully designed walking trails, all while accompanied by knowledgeable guides.

From majestic tigers to graceful giraffes and playful hippos, the Chiang Mai Night Safari houses a diverse array of wildlife. 

The star of the show, however, is the Night Predator Zone. This is where you can witness the awe-inspiring sight of fearsome predators like lions and hyenas prowling under the cloak of darkness.

The Chiang Mai Night Safari is not only an educational experience but also a conservation effort aimed at raising awareness about Thailand’s native wildlife and the importance of protecting their habitats. 

It’s an opportunity to witness the animal kingdom’s nightlife in all its glory, making it a must-visit destination for anyone travelling to northern Thailand.

Khao Kheow Open Zoo

Address: Village No. 7 235 Bang Phra, Si Racha District, Chon Buri 20110, Thailand

Operating hours: Daily 8 AM to 5 PM

Entrance fee: 250 THB


Nestled in the picturesque landscapes of Chonburi Province, the Khao Kheow Open Zoo offers a captivating blend of wildlife conservation, education, and immersive experiences. 

This sprawling zoo is a haven for animal enthusiasts and nature lovers alike, covering over 5,000 acres of lush tropical forests.

One of the zoo’s defining features is its spacious enclosures, designed to mimic the animals’ natural habitats as closely as possible. This creates a more enriching experience for both visitors and the resident wildlife. 

As you explore the zoo’s various zones, you’ll encounter a stunning array of animals, including elephants, lions, zebras, and orangutans, to name just a few.

For those seeking a more interactive experience, the Khao Kheow Open Zoo offers opportunities for animal encounters. 

You can get up close and personal with friendly creatures like lemurs, kangaroos, and reptiles while learning about their unique behaviours and characteristics.

Beyond its animal exhibits, the zoo also boasts lush botanical gardens, making it a delightful place to appreciate the natural beauty of Thailand’s flora. 

The Million Years Stone Park & Pattaya Crocodile Farm

Address: 22, Nong Pla Lai, Bang Lamung District, Chon Buri 20150, Thailand

Operating hours: Daily 8 AM to 5 PM

Entrance fee: 500 THB


The Million Years Stone Park & Pattaya Crocodile Farm offers a unique blend of natural wonders and reptilian marvels. This attraction is a testament to Thailand’s geological history and its fascination with the intriguing world of crocodiles.

It’s renowned for its stunning stone formations, which date back millions of years and showcase the Earth’s ancient past. 

These intricately carved rocks serve as a backdrop for lush gardens, exotic plants, and cascading water features, creating a serene atmosphere for visitors to explore.

One of the main highlights of this attraction is, of course, the Pattaya Crocodile Farm. Here, you can witness jaw-dropping crocodile shows featuring skilled handlers interacting with these formidable reptiles. 

In addition to crocodiles, the park houses a variety of other animals, including tigers, elephants, and more. It’s a perfect destination for families and wildlife enthusiasts alike, offering both entertainment and educational opportunities. 

Safari World Bangkok

Address: 99 Panya Indra Rd, Sam Wa Tawan Tok, Khlong Sam Wa, Bangkok 10510, Thailand

Operating hours: 

  • Weekdays: 9 AM to 4:30 PM
  • Weekend: 9 AM to 5 PM

Packages fee: 700 THB to 1,500 THB


Step into the heart of Thailand’s bustling capital, Bangkok, and prepare for a wild adventure like no other at Safari World. This expansive animal park offers visitors a chance to embark on an epic wildlife odyssey without leaving the city limits.

At Safari World, the journey begins with a drive through the open savannah-like habitat, where you’ll encounter a diverse array of animals roaming freely. 

From majestic giraffes extending their long necks to curious zebras frolicking on the plains, the safari experience brings you up close to creatures from Africa and around the world.

After the exhilarating drive, you can head over to the Marine Park, where jaw-dropping animal shows await. Watch dolphins perform incredible acrobatics, witness playful orangutans in action, and marvel at talented birds of prey as they soar through the sky. 

Nakhon Ratchasima Zoo

Address: Village No. 1 111 Chai Mongkhon, Mueang Nakhon Ratchasima District, Nakhon Ratchasima 30000, Thailand

Operating hours: Daily 8 AM to 5 PM

Entrance fee: 

  • Adult – 40 THB (Thai Local) , 50 THB (Foreigner)
  • Children – 20 THB


Venture to the northeastern province of Nakhon Ratchasima, and you’ll discover a hidden gem for wildlife enthusiasts—the Nakhon Ratchasima Zoo. 

Nestled amidst the natural beauty of Isaan, this zoo offers a serene and educational experience for visitors of all ages.

This sprawling zoo is home to a wide variety of animals, including indigenous species and creatures from around the world. 

You get to wander through lush, landscaped enclosures where you can observe majestic Asian elephants, playful primates, and colourful avian species in their naturalistic habitats.

What sets Nakhon Ratchasima Zoo apart is its commitment to conservation and education.

The zoo hosts informative programs and exhibits designed to raise awareness about Thailand’s native wildlife and the importance of protecting their natural environments. 

Sam Phran Elephant Ground and Zoo

Address: 117 Moo 6 Phet Kasem Rd, Tha Kham, Sam Phran District, Nakhon Pathom 73110, Thailand

Operating hours: Daily 8:30 AM to 5 PM

Entrance fee: 600 THB


Just a 35-minute drive from the vibrant city of Bangkok lies the Sam Phran Elephant Ground and Zoo. It’s a sanctuary where you can encounter Thailand’s beloved gentle giants—elephants. 

This unique attraction combines wildlife encounters with cultural experiences, making it a must-visit destination for animal lovers and culture enthusiasts alike.

At Sam Phran Elephant Ground and Zoo, you can witness these magnificent creatures up close as they demonstrate their intelligence and grace through various activities. 

The experience is both educational and heartwarming where you’ll witness traditional elephant shows that highlight their strength and agility and have the opportunity to feed them.

Sea Life Bangkok Ocean Park

Address: Floor B1-B2 Siam Paragon 991 Rama I Rd, Pathum Wan, Bangkok 10330, Thailand

Operating hours: Daily 10 AM to 8 PM

Package fees: 800 THB 1,775 THB


The Sea Life Bangkok Ocean Park offers a mesmerising escape into the world beneath the waves. This aquatic wonderland invites you to dive deep into the mysteries of the ocean without ever leaving the city.

You can begin your journey by venturing into the Ocean Tunnel, where you’re surrounded by an underwater panorama filled with graceful rays, sharks, and vibrant schools of fish. 

For a learning experience, you can stroll through interactive exhibits that showcase the incredible diversity of marine life, from seahorses to jellyfish, and even playful otters.

One of the highlights of this oceanic adventure is the Penguin Ice Adventure, where you can observe adorable penguins frolicking in a chilly Antarctic environment. 

Chiang Mai Zoo

Address: 100 Huay Kaew Rd, Tambon Su Thep, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand

Operating hours: Daily 8 AM to 5 PM

Entrance fee: 

  • Adult – 150 THB
  • Child – 70 THB


Chiang Mai Zoo is a captivating destination for nature enthusiasts and animal lovers alike. This well-established zoo offers a glimpse into the incredible diversity of Thailand’s wildlife right in the heart of northern Thailand’s cultural capital.

As you explore the zoo, you’ll encounter a wide range of animals, including the country’s iconic Asian elephants, playful pandas, and exotic big cats. 

Chiang Mai Zoo’s commitment to conservation and animal welfare is evident in its spacious and naturalistic habitats, ensuring the well-being of its residents.

For a unique experience, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the zoo’s aquarium and aviary, where you can observe colourful aquatic life and vibrant avian species. 

Plus, you can enhance your exploration by renting a golf cart  for 350 THB to comfortably navigate this expansive and diverse wildlife haven.

Tiger Kingdom

Address: 118/88 Moo 7, Kathu, Phuket, Thailand

Operating hours: Daily 9:30 AM to 5 PM

Entrance fee: 

  • Sightseeing – 500 THB
  • Tiger Interaction – 1,500 THB


Tiger Kingdom offers a rare and thrilling opportunity to get up close and personal with some of nature’s most majestic and enigmatic creatures. 

This attraction allows you to interact with tigers in a controlled and safe environment while promoting awareness about these magnificent big cats.

Visitors have the chance to choose their tiger encounter, ranging from cuddling adorable tiger cubs to walking alongside fully grown adults. 

Knowledgeable staff are on hand to provide information about tiger behaviour and conservation efforts, making this experience both educational and awe-inspiring.

Tiger Kingdom’s commitment to the welfare of their resident tigers is evident in the spacious enclosures and regular health check-ups.

There’s also a café where you get to savour a steaming cup of your favourite coffee while immersing yourself in a close-up encounter with the majestic tigers.

Nong Nooch Botanical Garden

Address: 34 Na Chom Thian, Sattahip District, Chon Buri 20250, Thailand

Operating hours: Daily 8 AM to 6 PM

Entrance fee: 

Garden-only Admission:

  • Adults – 100 THB
  • Children – 50 THB

Garden and Shows Admission:

  • Adults – 300 THB
  • Children – 150 THB


Nong Nooch Botanical Garden is a sprawling oasis that combines the beauty of a botanical garden with the excitement of a wildlife park. It’s a multifaceted attraction that offers a day of exploration and discovery amidst lush greenery.

Here, you can wander through meticulously landscaped gardens adorned with exotic plants from around the world, each area representing different horticultural themes. 

While enjoying the vibrant flora, you’ll also encounter a variety of animals, including elephants, tigers, and countless species of colourful birds.

Some of the highlights of Nong Nooch are its cultural performances, where you can witness traditional Thai dances, martial arts, and even an elephant show, and its dinosaur valley.

The valley is a carefully designed and landscaped area that boasts life-sized, incredibly realistic dinosaur sculptures.

At Suan Nong Nooch Tropical Garden and Zoo, you can explore meticulously landscaped gardens, discover exotic animal species, and enjoy cultural performances. 

Additionally, you have the opportunity to support conservation efforts within the tranquil setting of this remarkable garden and zoo.

Patara Elephant Farm

Address: Ban Pong, Hang Dong District, Chiang Mai 50230, Thailand

Operating hours: Daily 8 AM to 6 PM

Packages fee: 3,200 THB to 5,800 THB


Patara Elephant Farm is not just a place to view elephants but a sanctuary where you can form deep, meaningful connections with these magnificent creatures. 

Unlike traditional elephant tourism, Patara focuses on ethical and sustainable practices, making it a prime destination for responsible travellers.

At Patara, you have the unique opportunity to become an elephant caregiver for a day. Learn about elephant behaviour, their natural habitat, and the crucial role these gentle giants play in Thailand’s cultural heritage and ecosystem. 

You’ll have the chance to feed, bathe, and bond with the elephants while enjoying the picturesque beauty of the surrounding countryside.

Ubon Ratchathani Zoo

Address: 112 Moo 17 Kham Yai, Muang Ubon Ratchathani 34000, Thailand

Operating hours: Daily 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM

Entrance fee: 

  • Adult –  25 THB
  • Children – 10 THB , Free (up to 120 cm tall)
  • Elderly (60 years old and above), PWD, Monk Novice – Free


Ubon Ratchathani Zoo is a hidden gem in Thailand’s northeastern region. This well-maintained zoo provides a window into the rich biodiversity of Isaan and offers a delightful experience for wildlife enthusiasts and families.

As you explore the zoo’s lush grounds, you’ll encounter a variety of animals, including exotic birds, primates, and reptiles. The spacious enclosures ensure the comfort and well-being of the resident wildlife while allowing visitors to observe their natural behaviours.

One of the zoo’s standout features is its commitment to education and conservation. Interactive exhibits and informative displays shed light on the importance of preserving Thailand’s native wildlife and ecosystems. 

If you don’t feel like exploring the zoo via walking, y0u can rent a golf car for 200 THB per hour.

Bangkok Butterfly Garden and Insectarium

Address: Wicharabenjathit Park (Rot Fai Park Kamphaeng Phet 3 Rd, Lat Yao, Chatuchak, Bangkok 10900, Thailand

Operating hours: 

  • Monday – Closed
  • Tuesday to Sunday – 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM

Entrance fee: Free

Bangkok Butterfly Garden and Insectarium offers a unique and enchanting experience that takes you into the captivating world of butterflies(row 656) and insects. This hidden gem is a tranquil oasis amid the urban landscape, where you can discover the wonders of the insect kingdom.

Here, you’ll find yourself surrounded by colourful blooms and fluttering butterflies from various species. Observing these delicate creatures up close is a mesmerising experience, as they dance through the air and land gracefully on flowers.

The Insectarium, on the other hand, introduces you to a diverse array of insects from Thailand and beyond. From the bizarre and intriguing to the beautiful and fascinating, the collection showcases the incredible diversity of insect life. 

Pattaya Sheep Farm

Address: 73 Nong Pla Lai, Bang Lamung District, Chon Buri 20150, Thailand

Operating hours: Daily 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM

Entrance fee: 60 THB


Escape the bustling streets of Pattaya and venture to the Pattaya Sheep Farm for a quaint and charming experience that combines the idyllic charm of a farm with the unique addition of fluffy, friendly sheep. 

This family-friendly attraction offers a refreshing change of pace and a chance to unwind in a serene rural setting.

As you stroll through the farm, you’ll encounter not only adorable sheep but also a variety of other farm animals, including goats, rabbits, and more. 

It’s an opportunity for children and adults alike to interact with these gentle creatures, feed them, and learn about farm life.

What Precautions to Take on an Animal Encounter Trip

What Precautions to Take on an Animal Encounter Trip
(Image source: iStock)

Respect Wildlife: When you’re out in nature with your kids, it’s essential to set a good example. Always remember to give our wild animal friends some space. 

We wouldn’t want strangers poking, touching, or feeding us, right? Well, the same goes for them. Keeping our voices down helps too, as loud noises can stress them out.

Stay on Trails: Exploring nature is fantastic, but let’s stick to the paths and trails marked for visitors. You definitely don’t want to accidentally step on something that might bite or sting!

Obey Guidelines: Sometimes, there are experts or park rangers who can guide you. It’s a great opportunity to learn from them and ensure you’re doing the right thing. So, always listen to their advice during your wildlife encounters.

Dispose of Waste Properly: Remember to pack out everything you brought with you, including trash. This way, you’ll keep nature clean and avoid harming any animals that might be curious about what you leave behind.

Ethical Souvenirs: When picking out souvenirs, be mindful not to buy anything made from endangered animals or illegal wildlife products. You’ll want to make sure your choices support the protection of wildlife, not harm it.

Do Not Overcrowd: In some special places where you can get close to animals, like sanctuaries or wildlife parks, respect the rules about how many people can visit. This helps keep the animals comfortable and relaxed.

Photography Etiquette: Oh, and don’t forget the camera! If you’re taking pictures of animals, use the quiet mode to be discreet. No sudden flashes, as it can startle them. 

Responsible Behaviour: It’s a good idea to educate yourselves and your kids about how to have ethical animal encounters. You can also support organisations that work to protect wildlife and their homes. 

Teaching your children to appreciate and respect nature is a valuable lesson.

Report Suspicious Activity: If you ever see anything wrong, like people hurting animals or their homes, you should report it to the authorities or conservation organisations.

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