The Khao Kheow open zoo is reputed to be the largest zoological park on earth, although we certainly haven’t verified this. However we can assure you it is big. Spread across more the 2,000 acres and home to around 8,000 animals, Khao Kheow is by far the largest we have been to.
The park is part of the national zoological society of Thailand, the main purpose of which is preservation of animals, conservation and educating people in nature. The park is not about making money and is very clear on its mission statement. Here the animals come first, and the habitat and lifestyle they receive is as close to the wild as you could hope for from confinement.
Khao Kheow wildlife park is located at Sri Racha, which is roughly 1hr 30min drive from Bangkok or 1hr from Pattaya. Unless you are an expat or very familiar with the roads, we do not recommend driving here. Instead take one of the many organised tours available. These will pick you up at your hotel and transport you in air conditioned comfort.
Once inside the park, the experience is very different to that of a normal zoo. The animals are not caged or on display. Instead they roam almost free in segregated areas, each of which has been designed to replicate their natural habitat as best it can.
You can experience the park in 3 different ways. If you drove here you can take your car into the park and drive through the different sections at your own pace. Or for those on a more leisurely timescale you can walk at your own pace. Our recommendation is to take the free tram ride around the park, this is the best way to guarantee you see as much as possible.
The trams run continuously throughout the day, and operate on a hop on hop off basis. The cost for the tram is included in the entrance fee for the park.
Once inside Khao Kheow open zoo you will have the opportunity to get close to nature, and you can feed most of the animals, with food purchased at the many outlets located inside. Although the park suggests not feeding the monkeys as these can become a little excited.
What can you expect to see inside the park? Well the 2,000 animals come from over 300 species from across the globe. Due to the nature of the park and the high level of freedom the animals are afforded, there is no guarantee to see everything. But the less shy species include, Lions, Tigers, Flamingo’s, snakes, hyena’s, Elephant’s and of course the over friendly monkey’s. Our favourite is the Orang-utan, we never get bored of watching these highly personal cousins of ours.
During the day the are several shows available, as well as many opportunities for some great photo’s. Other activities available include zip line rides, elephant trekking, and the one of Asia’s largest bird aviary. If you get the time then one of our favourites in the night time safari, which starts after sundown, either 7pm or 8pm. The night time safari is a great way to hear all the different species at night, it really is quite magical.
Khao Kheow Opening times and cost
Khao Kheow open zoo is open daily from 0800-1800 for the normal attractions and also offers night time safari’s in the evenings. Entrance fees are 300thb for foreigners, but this is the gate price. Tours included transport from either Bangkok or Pattaya will vary depending on your operator. Children are free.
Adding up entrance fees, transport, food for the animals (you are only allowed to feed them food bought inside), refreshments and gifts can make this a moderately expensive day out for a family around 3,000thb ($100US) should suffice.
There are many stalls offering refreshments throughout the park, as well as a couple of restaurants for lunch.
We recommend bringing some of your own bottled water. Be sure to wear suitable foot wear and clothing, including hats. Sunscreen as with all outside attractions here is a must.
Overall this is a great attraction with a great concept that will not only be fun for the family to enjoy but also educational for the little ones. Highly recommended by us.