Visiting The Melaka Butterfly & Reptile Sanctuary @ Ayer Keroh, Melaka

The Melaka city centre can get pretty crowded with tourists, especially over the weekend and holidays. If you’re looking for a more relaxing (and educational!) excursion, consider the Melaka Butterfly and Reptile Sanctuary. Tucked in Ayer Keroh, about 15 to 20 minutes away from the city, this mini zoo of sorts was opened in 1991 and is home to hundreds of insects, small animals and reptiles, as well as some larger specimens.

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For a 30-year-old park, the place is well maintained, spread over 5 hectares and set amidst lush, tropical surroundings. There are dedicated areas within the vast park for butterflies, reptiles, birds, etc. It’s also a nice place to escape Melaka’s blistering heat. Entry is RM22 per pax.

There weren’t many visitors when we came to visit on a Monday afternoon, so we took our time exploring the various exhibits and habitats. Some allow for you to get upclose to the animals, and when I mean upclose, I mean upclose. You can pet rabbits, the resident giant iguana, or take a selfie with the parrots and the cockatoos.

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N and I had great fun trying to locate the different insects and creepy crawlies within their glass cases; most times they were camouflaged, so it was like a game to spot them.

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Fat, colourful iguanas congregating on Pride Rock

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Resident white cockatoo. Did you know that cockatoos are very smart animals? They are said to have the cognitive abilities rivalling a four-year-old human child, and in studies, can undo locks to get to food.

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There were two sections dedicated to butterflies, and there were hundreds of them swooping overhead, some even flying into our faces, or landing on our shoulders. These pretty insects have a fleeting beauty, as they have a short life span lasting just 10 days.

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Most of the butterflies were of the same species so we didn’t spot much variety, but they were still pretty all the same.

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A beautifully landscaped section with a pond and artificial waterfall, stacked with fat, gold, red and white koi fish.

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Venturing to the aviary, we came across this bird (I named it Sid Vicious) with beautiful blue plumage and a rockstar mohawk. It looked completely unafraid of humans and came quite close to us, before hopping back over the ‘fence’ into its habitat.

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The sanctuary is also home to a pair of American alligators. They were absolutely huge and looked as if they could swallow my entire body whole, and then some. There were also some saltwater crocodiles, gharials and emus.

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The sanctuary’s resident alligator snapping turtle. Dubbed ‘living fossils’, the species dates back to over 200 million years ago. An alligator snapping turtle can live up to 150 years old. They can weigh up to 220 lbs and are quite capable of literally snapping off your fingers.

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At the reptile section, we caught glimpse of some beautiful snakes, including an albino python and a giant king cobra. I’ve always wanted to keep a small ball python, but I can’t bear the thought of feeding it live prey like mice  (Apparently it’s best to feed them live prey to simulate how it is in the wild).

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Bright and colourful (and poisonous) frogs. in the wild, the more vibrant the colour, the more likely they are to be poisonous. Kind of like nature’s warning signs.

If you’re travelling in a family with young children, I think the Melaka Butterfly & Reptile Sanctuary is an awesome place to take the kids on an educational (but fun!) excursion. Even without the kids, it’s great for the adults too. Kudos also to maintenance; you can see that the animals are all well kept and fed, rather than in horrid zoos where space is cramped and they all look half dead.

BUTTERFLY & REPTILE SANCTUARY 

Lebuh Ayer Keroh, 75450 Ayer Keroh, Melaka

Opening hours: 8.30AM – 5.30PM (daily)

Website

 

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6 Instagram Accounts Every Cat Lover Should Follow

People who know me know that I am absolutely. Obsessed. With. Cats.

I don’t know when it began, but the older I get, the more I relate to these majestic yet quirky, beautiful creatures. I love how silly and funny they can be, and how they all have different personalities. Cats get a bad rap as ‘cold and distant’ as compared to dogs, but I think cats can be incredibly affectionate and smart to boot – the only reason you can get them to do something is because they WANT to do it. And you can’t help loving them for how they are. When you’ve gained the love and trust of a cat, that’s when you know you’ve really made it in life. lol.

Unfortunately, due to my housing arrangements, I don’t have any cats of my own (yet) – but I’m always daydreaming of the day I can finally bring a kitty home and love it as my own.

In the meantime, I’ve had to content myself with looking at cat photos and videos. Here are five of my favourite Instagram cat accounts – spread the love and cuteness!

THEEBRUNOBARTLETT

Followers: 110,000  Based in: USA

Let me just start off by saying that I AM OBSESSED WITH THESE TWO GRAY POTATOES. Dubbed Bruno and Carlo, they’re both older cats, overweight and rescues. The account started with Bruno, a polydactyl cat with an extra thumb, so it looks like he’s wearing a glove. Then the new owners were connected to a rescue centre housing Carlo, and he looked so much like Bruno they just had to adopt him (awww). Bruno looks like the bad boy of the pair, while Carlo has a wide-eyed innocence that is absolutely adorable. The owners have been working very hard to help them lose weight, but they’re still pretty chonky. The best part is that they’ve learned this neat trick of standing up on their two hind legs when they want something. When I’m having a bad day at work, I come home and look at their antics – it helps me to destress somehow and just puts a smile on my face.

MISSENELL 

Followers: 579,000   Based in: Copenhagen, Sweden

I always look forward to my daily dose of Nelly & Gilbert! Nelly is the Birman/Ragdoll aka the Queen, while Gilbert the Bengal is her ‘servant’. Most of the videos involve Nelly ‘complaining’ about Gilbert; she is extremely chirpy and talkative, with a soft mew that just melts the heart. Of course it goes without saying that they’re both gorgeous – Nelly is fluffy with white booties and slightly crossed blue eyes, while Gilbert has a beautiful orange spotted coat with striking green eyes.

BO_MANG_CO 

Followers: 237,000  Based in: South Korea

The account’s name is short for Boss, Manggo and Coco (a family of dad, mom and daughter), although Manggo is featured more prominently and is definitely the sassiest. Despite looking quite obese (she literally looks like a ball when she curls up), fans love Manggo for her sassy attitude – and she can run faster than the other two when there’s food involved. It would be good if the owners could help her lose some weight for health reasons, but then again they have never stated that Manggo is unhealthy despite her large size.

MAKINLIKESHRIMP

Followers: 14,800  Based in: United States

I think this is a very underrated account and more people deserve to know about it! It’s dedicated to the owner’s two black cats, Daffodil and Leapfrog. The latter shot to fame on viral news outlets, thanks to her love for jumping over things at the exact same spot. They’ve put all sorts of things in her path, from people and dogs (above) to chairs and Christmas decorations. It’s quite fascinating to see:

 

KAFKA_BLACK 

Followers: 61,900    Based in : Nagoya, Japan

You guys know Toothless from the How To Train A Dragon animated series? Meet the real life Toothless – a beautiful inky black cat called Kafka. All of the posts on his IG are videos, where Kafka usually stares intently at the owner recording it, sometimes meowing. Kafka’s colouration is so black that his face ‘disappears’, so it feels like there are only two large eyes looking at you. He also has two fangs jutting out from the lower jaw when he mews, and his owner likes to dress him in nice colourful bowties which contrast nicely with his silky fur.

OMAME_MUNCHKIN 

Followers: 139,000 Based in : Japan

Another Japanese cat, Omame is a munchkin, which means that he has very short legs and a stocky body – automatically making it funny and cute when he runs or walks (like a bouncing furball, basically).  I also find Omame’s coat pattern, especially the little white patch directly underneath his mouth and on his chest, exceedingly adorable – gives him a pensive, thoughtful look.

There are actually plenty of other cat accounts that I follow – like @fatlaila, @hosico_cat, @chippie_gummy, @thesey_cat, @mami_and_morty, @merlin_griffith, and many more. Often they’re not only cute, but have unique stories – take merlin_griffith, a blind cat with eyes like the milky way, or @owl_kitty, whose owner has creatively incorporated her antics into various film and TV scenes. And then of course we have @wilfredwarrior, made famous by Michael Rapaport and his “Ma!”

If i were to list them all this post would be endless – but I recommend you check them out all the same! 🙂

Review: De-stress With Cute Kitties @ Purradise Cat Cafe, Taman Tun Dr Ismail Kuala Lumpur

**I’ve tried to cut down the number of photos to a minimum, but there are still like 20+ because every single one is so cute I MUST put them up lmao. 

Having pets have been known to help with stress, but since I can’t keep any at home, pet cafes are the next best thing.

After a particularly stressful day, decided to check out Purradise Cat Cafe in Taman Tun Dr Ismail KL. It wasn’t too far from the workplace, but weekday traffic can be hellish and it still took me an hour to get there. All worries were forgotten once I stepped into the brightly lit, cosy space to be greeted by this sight:

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WHY HELLO THERE KITTIES 

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KITTIES EVERYWHERE 

Cat cafes were all the rage a couple of years ago, but many have closed down. Purradise opened in 2015 and is still surviving; although how I’m not quite sure. The place was empty the entire hour I was there – not that I’m complaining because that means MORE KITTIES FOR ME

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LMAO look at the kitty at the bottom he’s just like wtf charles 

There are more than 20 cats in the cafe, mostly strays and rescues. While the place itself is clean, you do get the sourish odour of cat pee in the air which can be unpleasant for some. I got used to it because the ex had five cats. And a little bit of smell is nothing when you can be around these cuties; am I right or am I right?

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Staff was accommodating and friendly. The manager welcomed me with a smile and a menu for drinks (they’ve got basic stuff like hot chocolate and tea, but no snacks/food), and a ‘menu’ of cats – basically pictures of the resident cats, as she explained which ones I should or shouldn’t touch (there are some that are a little feral). You pay RM18 for an hour + drink, whereafter it’s RM4 for every subsequent 15 minutes (billed after you’re done).

The space itself was bright and cherry, with colourful pouffes, wooden pallet tables, an ‘island’ with tall chairs and plenty of nooks, crannies and beams for the kitties to hop on.

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The cats were not friendly and didn’t like to be touched, but it might be because it was close to feeding time and they were all waiting for food. It was calming enough to just look at their antics though – how can you feel stressed looking at this face? :3

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Waiting for food. The cats are fed a diet of raw chicken and you can tell they’re well fed and healthy from the plumpness of their bodies and the shine of their coats.

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The chonky one is Olaf; at 7, he’s the oldest cat in the cafe. Don’t you just want to smoosh you face into that glorious belly

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WTF – Where’s The Food

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The black kitty couldn’t wait and decided to try going ninja

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The front section of the cafe, with a cosy swing and more pouffes. Catwalks are installed overhead so the cats can enjoy looking down on the humans

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The kitties seemed more relaxed after they were fed – some even obliged when I flicked the feather toy at them (although they still didn’t want to be touched).

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Mostly they just sat around lazing, like this handsome tuxedo cat Patches. Funny how graceful yet potato-like they can be; its effing adorable

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Got up for a while and this one called Bubbles with a small nose patch took over the pouffe like the Queen she is

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Olaff From Above: A Study In The Perfect Feline Form  

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This kitty embodies my inner feelings.

Even though I didn’t get to touch the cats much, to quote Marie Kondo, looking at them just ‘sparked joy’ – and I left feeling relaxed and happier. A return visit is warranted.

PURRADISE CAT CAFE

First Floor, 24, Jalan Tun Mohd Fuad 2, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, 60000 Kuala Lumpur.

Opening hours: Mon – Fri (2 – 9PM), Sat (2 – 10PM), Sun (11AM – 7PM)

purradise.my

Taiping Zoo & Night Safari, Perak – One Of the Best Zoos In Malaysia

I’ve been to a couple of zoos. I know some people say it’s cruel to keep them in cages, which I agree with, but there are also those who argue in favour that the animals are well cared for and safe. Admittedly, there are zoos that are in terrible conditions and are literal hell holes, which should be shut down ASAP, but a well kept zoo can act as a sanctuary and a place to educate future generations on the importance of conservation.

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One of these is the Taiping Zoo and Night Safari in Taiping, Perak, an hour’s drive from Ipoh. Located within the sprawling Taiping Lake Gardens over an area of 34 acres, it was established in 1961 and as such, is the oldest zoo in Malaysia.

Currently, the zoo houses over 1,300 animals from 180 species. During the day, it acts like a regular zoo, but at night, it turns into a night safari where visitors can stroll through the park and view exhibits lit up by soft, stimulated ‘moon’ light.

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Entrance is RM17 for adults (inclusive of GST) and RM8.50 for children. Considering that Zoo Negara charges a whopping RM40++, I think this is a reasonable price. It was a public holiday during our visit, and the place was crowded with tourists and families, mostly locals.

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Note: The zoo is massive.

If you have older people or children in your group, I strongly suggest taking one of the passenger trams. The driver-cum-guide will talk visitors through the different exhibits during the tram ride.

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The first thing visitors will notice upon entering the zoo grounds is how green it is. There are loads of trees which provide shade, and it seems like they’ve designed the zoo around the jungle-like landscape, to stimulate a natural habitat as much as possible. There are a few that feature concrete enclosures, but these are few and far between. The natural setting means that it is sometimes difficult to locate animals hiding behind the foliage.

My dad proved adept at this, often spotting the creatures before any of us could see them.

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It was very warm and sunny. While the trees are shady, they aren’t planted all along the route, so be prepared with some sunscreen.

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The chimpanzee enclosure had a group of five or six animals. They congregated in the shade in a circle, before moving to the trees and tall structures to swing about. Their limbs were immensely long in proportion to their slim bodies, and I was reminded of the film The Planet of the Apes (which by the way, I think they did a great job at capturing the mannerisms and movements of these magnificent great apes).

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A member of the troupe picking bananas out of the stream.

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The three orangutans were equally fascinating. The one on the bottom sat on the stream’s edge, using the leaf as a scoop to ladle water onto itself.

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It even used the leaf as a face wipe!

The other two moved further back for some sexy time. The larger, I assume male orangutan beckoned for the smaller one to follow it, stopping and looking back to wait for the latter to catch up. It was a gesture that was extremely human. They then frolicked and tumbled in the grass in a heap.

It makes me sad that these creatures are poached and mistreated. But then again, human beings are capable of doing worse things to our own kind, let alone other species.

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Another natural-looking enclosure, complete with small pond.

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A civet cat resting in the shade. Its colouration and pattern blended so well with the forest floor, I couldn’t spot it right off the bat, even though it was sitting right under my nose.

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Large crocodiles measuring at least 2 meters long

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Porcupines.

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A lot of walking. What I think the zoo could benefit from would be more seats for people to rest on along the way.

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Bambi

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Wild boars.

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The lion enclosure, which had a moat surrounding it. Too small for camera to make out but there were two lionesses and a lion within the cave-like structure.

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More deers resting in the shade.

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An aviary, filled with stork-like birds and huge fruit bats. No fences here aside from the net surrounding the dome, but I doubt the animals would come very close to visitors.

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The African savannah area which housed two giraffes and zebras.

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Black panther. Wakanda forever.

You can still see the spotted pattern in spite of its melanin-rich coating, which is what gives the animal its black sheen.

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A rare Asian gold cat. Very beautiful, elegant creature, from its sleek coat to the feline way it moves. Sadly, the species, native to Southeast Asia, is threatened by rapid development and deforestation in many parts of the region.

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Lonely black swan in the pond.

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Several rhinos chillin’

If there is one exhibit that I feel could see improvements, it’d be the Asian elephant exhibit. There were no trees in the enclosure, and the poor creatures were forced to stand under the baking hot sun. One of the elephants went into the pond and submerged itself in a bid to escape the heat. I saw that there were several dead tree stumps in the compound, and wondered if perhaps the elephants had stripped the plant down to its bark, leaving the place bare. Still, management should look at a way to provide them with at least some form of shade.

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All in all, we spent close to four hours exploring the place.

I was impressed by how well maintained the zoo is, as most animals looked well fed and healthy. The zoo’s overall design mimics a natural setting as much as possible, which I think is better than having the animals in concrete enclosures. If you’re looking for an educational place to take the family and little ones while in Taiping, I suggest paying this a visit.

TAIPING ZOO & NIGHT SAFARI 

 Jalan Taman Tasik Taiping, Taman Tasik Taiping, 34000 Taiping, Perak

Operating hours: 8AM – 11PM (daily)

Tickets: Adults (RM17), Children (RM8.50)

zootaiping.gov.my

Cute Animals @ Pet World Malaysia 2017, Mid Valley Exhibition Center Kuala Lumpur

It was a long weekend thanks to the Nuzul Al-Quran holiday (good thing about living in Malaysia – you get holidays for everything. Chinese New Year, Muslim holidays, Wesak, Deepavali, Christmas, etc. :D). C asked if I wanted to go to the Pet World Malaysia 2017 happening at Mid Valley Exhibition Center in KL, and I didn’t have anything else to do in the afternoon so it was a yes. We brought her pet Chihuahua, Genie, along.  

Didn’t bring a carrier, so Genie sat on my lap throughout the drive. She was very quiet; probably wondering if it was a journey to the dreaded vet lol.

Returning for its 10th year, the event is touted as the ‘largest pet exhibition’ in the country and was held at MVEC, which had plenty of floor space. There was an entrance fee of RM5. Place was pretty packed out, but we saw lots of cuties!

Pet owners were having fun introducing their dogs to each other and making new friends. Not sure about how the dogs felt though.. it was crowded and noisy enough for me, a human, let alone a small doggo who has senses of smell and hearing much more acute than mine.

Booths sold mainly pet products such as pet shampoo, food, treats, leashes, carriers, etc.

One of the grooming booths had this magnificent dog with long, soft and curly fur. When it flopped down I could easily have mistaken it for being a rug!

Corgi doggo.

Pug in pram. Most of the dogs were well behaved and no fights broke out.. at least not during our visit.

Not real fish, made from resin. They looked so life like tho!

Cat section. They were mostly in cages 😦 except when their owners took them out for grooming.

There was a corner dedicated to insect lovers. Look at this giant Rhinoceros beetle! It was really shiny and wasn’t moving, so I thought it was fake.. turns out they were real. The sticky bits on the stump was actually sugar-water + honey made into jelly, which they eat.

Show pigeons. Again, from afar,  I thought these were fake coz they weren’t in a cage.. until they started moving and plumping their breasts out.  Sooooo fluffy.

A sort of soft shelled turtle from the Amazon. I held it in my hand and it was cold, soft and squishy.

Balls of hamsters.

Some sort of flying fish with dragon wings.

We waited til 1.30PM so that C and Genie could have a Chihuahua photo session! We got a can of beef to take home.

A very fluffy and somewhat sad husky.

 

Til next post!

 

Of Birds and Indian Food

So it was just another morning getting ready for work when….

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I saw this fat bird sitting on my windshield! At first I thought it had its leg stuck because it didnt move even when I took my phone out and leaned close to it for a picture. I tried lifting my wiper, but then noticed that it wasn’t stuck. Maybe it was injured, so I tried to touch it, but it flapped its wings at me and then flew off….

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And settled at my mom’s car.

Looking at how fat it is, perhaps it’s pregnant and looking for a place to lay its eggs?

By the way I am looking up the lottery number I should buy for ‘pregnant bird’. lol.

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Lunch with colleagues at the Indian restaurant. Ever had banana leaf rice? It’s a variety of smaller meat/veggie dishes in curries/spicy sauces, served on a banana leaf with rice.

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Tried Mushroom Rawa Thosai for the first time. It’s thosai stuffed with mushroom masala.

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Taste was pretty good, albeit a little spicy.

Random post. Kbai!

Ranca Upas Deer Farm, Ciwidey Bandung

Located within vast camping grounds, the Ranca Upas or Deer Farm was our last stop for the day on our tour of Bandung’s south district. The road leading to the place was bumpy, but lined on both sides by gentle forests and fields dotted with tents and cooking pits. The grounds are a popular weekend getaway with city folk and offer extreme sports activities such as flying fox and ATV riding.

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Crossing a small stream to the farm.

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The deer farm is a wide enclosure with an elevated wooden walkway, ending in a low platform. Visitors can buy deer feed for the animals, and walk down into the enclosure if they wish to.

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It was really muddy and soggy though, probably because it rained the day before.

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Not wanting to ruin my only pair of shoes, I was content to watch the deer from the walkway. They were all clustered up at the other end, where there was more green.

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A visitor feeding a deer. I think the feed was baby carrots. They eat out of your hand!

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You can touch them, but be careful since these are still wild animals after all.

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Once the deers knew that there were visitors with food, they started swarming the platform. Some even tried to climb up !

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Other than feeding the deers, there’s nothing else to do here, unless you’re camping or taking part in other outdoor activities. Good for a quick stop if you’re returning to the city from Kawah Putih and Situ Patenggang.

RANCA UPAS (Deer Farm) 

Jl. Raya Ciwidey – Patenggang KM 11
Rancabali, Ciwidey Bandung

Contact:  0853-2000-0743