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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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

School Holiday Fun @ Sunway Lagoon’s Wildlife Adventure

Back when I was a kid, school holidays = I get to mess around the house or go on a trip with the fam. Hooray!

Now that I’m a working adult, school holidays = less traffic on the roads in the morning. So Hooray to that too!

For those with kids, even better news: Sunway Lagoon, Malaysia’s premiere theme park, is having an exciting and educational programme for the school holidays! Suitable for both kids (and the young at heart!), the Wildlife Adventure gives visitors the chance to get outdoors and spend time together, while enjoying fun and interactive activities revolving around the theme park’s mini zoo. The lineup includes a Wildlife EduHunt, Wildlife Multi-Animal Show, mystery box, animal feeding and identifying the smallest monkey in the world. 🙂

I’ve been to the mini zoo in Sunway Lagoon several times, and was always impressed by how well maintained it is as well as the number of animals they have – over 150 species from around the world ! I especially like the aviary where you can get upclose and personal to the feathered friends who roam around freely.

One of the birds with beautiful plummage you’ll find at Sunway Lagoon’s aviary.

So what’s in store for guests? Take part in the Wildlife Eduhunt Challenge, where you’ll have to complete 10 challenges ranging from Peek-A-Print, Mix & Match, Mystery Box and more, as well as collect stamps at designated spots. The best thing is, while you’re having fun, you’ll also stand a chance to win fantastic prizes, including a 2D1N stay at Sunway Resort Hotel & Spa, and a Xperia C5 Ultra Dual smartphone. The EduHunt Card can be purchased at the Main Entrance or Wildlife Park (Rimba).

 

Malaysian supermodel Amber Chia posing with an albino python and guests during the event launch! 🙂

Besides the Wildlife EduHunt, parent and child in teams of two will be able to showcase their creative and artistic side in the ‘Get Wild, Paint, Snap & Post’ contest, with 30 minutes to face paint their team partner, snap a photo and upload it to their Facebook with the hashtag #SunwayLagoonMY and #SLWildlife Adventure. The prize? A cool Fujiflim Instax Mini 8 Camera, complete with a Twin Pack Film of 20 sheet prints! 🙂

Even if you’re not into joining any challenges or contests, it’s still going to be a fun day out at the theme park exploring the mini zoo, especially since they have star attractions like lions and a white tiger. There will also be feeding sessions for swans, macaws and squirrels – a good chance for the little ones to interact with wildlife! Be entertained while watching educational Wildlife Multi-Animal Shows.

Sunway Lagoon’s Wildlife Adventure is available from now until 11 June 2017.More info: sunwaylagoon.com/wildlife-adventure/

Photos courtesy of GoCommunications PR

Lost World of Tambun Hot Springs and Spa and Night Petting Zoo

My last trip to Lost World of Tambun Hot Springs and Spa was earlier this year. H & I were invited to experience their newly opened pools as part of a media trip. It was a blast, since they closed it off to the public and we had the whole place to ourselves.

This time around, I came with my fam over the weekend.  It was a far cry from ‘relaxing’  – the place was so crowded we barely had space to move around, let alone enjoy anything..

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Since it was Halloween month, fun and spooky decos peppered the theme park – from paper cut outs of clowns and zombies to a Carnival-esque atmosphere and props.

We went straight for the hot spring pools after putting our stuff in the locker. I didn’t want to get my phone wet, so if you want to see more photos of how the hot spring pools look like, you can read my previous review here.

….Let’s just say I prefer coming here when it’s quieter. With so many people the pools got dirty and there really isn’t much relaxation to be had when you’re crowded into a small space with like 20 other half naked people. .__.

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Don’t leave after soaking though – walk a little further and you’ll come to the Petting Zoo, which is also open for visitors at night.

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Greeted by the sight of a couple of fat raccoons running around in their enclosures and up on the branches which are very close to the walkways – visitors can reach out and touch them but be careful since these are not fully domesticated animals: they might bite !

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The fish in the little stream seemed to glow in the dark, thanks to the lighting.

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Fluffy guinea pigs in an enclosure. There were also hamsters running around in a very large hamster cage with dozens of ‘rest stops’ and play spaces.

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Wee little wabbits. One came close enough to the side for me to touch. So soft and warm I wanted to take it home. .__.

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These…. can’t be touched

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Iguanas keeping warm under the lights.

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A fluffy cockatoo. Didn’t touch it because that beak looks painful.

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Tortoises hardly move and they live for a really long time.

That’s a lesson for all of us, innit?

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Out of nowhere, a chicken.

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Over at the reptile area were some really huge snakes, such as the reticulated python which is the second largest snake in the world after the green anaconda.

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I know some people who can’t even look at snakes out of fear, but I think they have very pretty skin. They also feel nice to touch.

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What does the Tapir sound like? Ever wondered?

We found out first hand when this guy started screaming at us for no apparent reason. Maybe we looked at him/her wrong. It sounded very screechy, a cross between a trumpet and someone trying to clear their sinuses.

Did you know that tapirs are wonderfully well-endowed? Don’t google it, you will be traumatized.

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The Zoo also has Fennec foxes, which are very rare in the wild and also very very pretty. Mum says they look ‘haughty’ and I agree. I mean, if you’re this beautiful, why shouldn’t you be a little haughty, right?

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We walked over a bridge across the crocodile enclosure, which was home to a number of smallish crocs and a big ass labi-labi (softshell turtle).

Although the hot spring was crowded, we still had a lot of fun exploring the mini zoo – but I would recommend visitors to come on weekday nights instead to avoid the throng of visitors. All in all, the facilities are well maintained and it’s very value for money. Great place to take the kids.

LOST WORLD OF TAMBUN HOT SPRINGS AND SPA/THEME PARK 

No.1, Persiaran Lagun Sunway 1, Sunway City Ipoh,
31150 Ipoh, Perak Darul Ridzuan,
Malaysia

Operating hours: 6pm – 11pm (closed on Tuesdays)

Theme park tel: +605 542 8888
Hotel tel: +605- 540 8888
Email: lostworldoftambun@sunway.com.my

Lost World of Tambun Theme Park, Perak Malaysia

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Rise and shine! We’re at the Lost World of Tambun in Perak, Malaysia 🙂 After enjoying a soak at the hot springs and spa last night, we woke up feeling refreshed and ready to explore the theme park.

But first things first: breakfast!

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The hotel’s restaurant is just across the road, next to the theme park’s entrance. Not much variety, but the food was decent. Guests can order omelettes and fried eggs at the live cooking station.

Besides local breakfast favourites like Nasi Lemak and fried mihun, they also had stuff like ham, toast and butter, baked beans and cocktail sausages.

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After filling our tummies, we went to tour the theme park. Divided into different sections, there is an Amusement Park, Water Park, Petting Zoo, Adventure Park, Tiger Valley and Tin Valley. Walking into the place,visitors will be greeted by the sight of carnival rides against a backdrop of beautiful limestone hills. The air here is fresh and crisp – perfect for a getaway from the city.

(Above) Dragon Flight, a spinning top ride which swings riders up into the air.

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We went on the Storm Rider, a pirate ship that claims to swing ‘180 degrees into the air’. In reality I think it was slightly lesser, and the ride wasn’t going too fast – we were even allowed to carry our phones and cameras on board.

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Small bikes for rent.

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Children’s section of the water park, with slides, a boat and playground structures.

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Those who want a good scare can enter the Haunted Chambers. I chickened out before we got all the way inside. 😛

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Fancy having a wedding, meeting or conference in a chilly, echoing cave? The Kepura Cave is available to rent for funtions, conferences and other events.

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Since the theme park was big and it was really hot, we hopped onto the Adventure Train, a funicular train that takes visitors quickly through attractions around the park. The driver kindly stopped at intervals so that we could get down and take pictures.

(Above) Tea house, built into a cave in one of the limestone hills.

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“Tin Valley” showcases Perak’s illustrious tin mining history. In the first half of the 20th century, Kinta Valley in Perak (where the Lost World of Tambun sits today) was the world’s top tin ore producer – much to the delight of the British who occupied Malaya back then. To cater to the demand, foreign labour from China was brought in – creating a large part of the Chinese diaspora we see in the country today.

One method of getting tin ore from mining lakes was through dulang washing. Workers (usually women) would stand in shallow water and sift through pebbles and sand to get to the rich deposits.

My maternal grandmother was a dulang washer, and my mum used to tell me stories of what hard work it was – she had to be out early in the morning and only got back late in the evening.

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A staff member showing a guest how to get to the tin deposits at the bottom.

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Tiger Valley, with resident tigers Putra and Jazz. The enclosure was spacious and the the tigers looked well cared for – better than a lot of other zoos in Malaysia.

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Lake view near the Adventure Park section, where visitors can try out exhilarating rides such as high rope, abseilling, kayaking and zipline. The sight of those pretty limestone hills reminded me of Tam Coc in Vietnam. Sometimes we seek for travel destinations elsewhere when equally beautiful places can be found within our own country. I should do more exploring!

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The ‘Needle of Tambun’ or Pencil Rock is a lone part of a hill which has survived for millions of years while others around it have eroded away. Jutting 40ms into the air, it has been called one of the eight wonders of Tambun.

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Last but not least, we stopped  by at the Petting Zoo! There were many small animals, reptiles and birds here, some which visitors could touch. I was impressed by how well the animals were cared for, as they had spacious enclosures and looked healthy. The birds, especially, had such vibrant colours.

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The zookeeper was really cute. And the birds seemed to love him ! A few even perched on his hair and twittered noisily from atop their vantage point.

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Inside the aviary enclosure, visitors can get some bird feed and have the birds fly right up to peck them from your hand. Aw ❤

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Furry golden ferret sleeping so cute.

Lost World of Tambun theme park is a great place to go to for a short weekend getaway. There’s something for everyone: the kids will love the water park and amusement rides, while the adults can enjoy the relaxing hot springs and spa by night. The entry price is only RM48, which I think is worth it for the value you get. Top notch!

No.1, Persiaran Lagun Sunway 1, Sunway City Ipoh,
31150 Ipoh, Perak Darul Ridzuan,
Malaysia

Theme park tel: +605 542 8888
Hotel tel: +605- 540 8888
Fax: +605- 542 8899
Email: lostworldoftambun@sunway.com.my

Open Mon-Fri: 11:00am till 6:00pm
Weekends, School and Public Holidays: 10:00am till 6:00pm
Closed on Tuesday, except on Malaysian school & public holidays.

 

Malacca Zoo, Malaysia

These last two weeks have been crazy.

The long holidays lulled me into a false sense of chill…. and then BAM! I’ve been swamped with work with articles to write and events to cover almost every single day. Doesn’t help that the deadline for our next issue is in 10 more days D:

Anyway, I’ll do what I do best – procrastinate by blogging. lol.

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After coming back from Manila, E and I decided to head to Malacca. A two hour drive from KL, this historic state was once an important trade route and was conquered by many different powers, including the Portuguese, Dutch, English and Japanese – leaving behind a rich legacy of buildings and cultures.

The weather was sunny as we set off from home. All these road trippy songs came on the radio, like The Pixies ‘Where is My Mind’ and ‘I Am The Walrus’ cover by Bono from U2. Took them as a good sign that the trip would go well (it didn’t. he fell sick lol).

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Our first stop on the way to city center was Malacca Zoo in Alor Gajah. The second largest zoo in Malaysia, this 54 acre park was once a wildlife rescue base and currently houses over 1,200 animals. Despite being a Sunday, it was pretty empty during our visit.

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Vibrant-coloured blue and yellow macaws greeted visitors at the entrance with shrill cries.

The zoo has different sections, with an aviary, mousedeer enclosure, reptile house, and more. Some of the facilities were run down, like the toilet. There were also branches and leaves strewn everywhere, spilling onto walkways. It left the place feeling unkempt and jungle-y, somehow.

Speaking of jungles, there were loads of fire ants crawling all over the place, so be careful when stepping around especially off the pavement.

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I find it adorable how these lovebirds seem to constantly be making the ‘double chin face’.

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We caught the animals during feeding time. A pair of white rhinos (which were not white when we saw them) were munching on grass along with a lone, skinny wildebeest. It looked pretty malnourished D:

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Capybaras are the largest rodents in the world. They don’t look so much like rodents as they do furry pigs.

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“Why good morning Alfred. Nice weather we’re having.”

“It certainly is, John. What do you think’s for breakfast today?”

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“Don’t give me that look, I don’t want to put you in a cage either. I told you to eat your medicine on time, didn’t I? You know how crazy you get when you don’t take your meds”

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Some type of deer. Pretty sure they’re not mouse deer coz I don’t remember them having horns.

There’s an interesting story that all Malaysian kids learn in history about the founding of Malacca.

Parameswara, a Srivijayan prince, was the ruler of Singapura (Singapore) in the 1400s,  before the invasion of the Majapahit forced him to flee to Malacca. While in this new land, the prince rested under a Melaka tree and saw his hunting dog being kicked into the river by a tiny mousedeer (they weigh about 0.7kg to 8kg). Taking this as a good omen (although small, the mousedeer was fearless against a hunting dog many times its size), he decided to found a new kingdom and hence, Malacca was born. It quickly became one of the most important trading ports in Southeast Asia, even making trade relations as far as Arab and China.

Hail the tiny mousedeer! They’re adorable by the way. Like a fat round thing with spindly legs.

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Graceful giraffes nomming on leaves.

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Why hello there, ladies.

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Bullseye butt. These deer scared easily. E accidentally made a sudden movement and they scattered so fast it scared us lol.

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Dinosaurs Ostriches. Scientists now believe that birds are the modern day descendants of dinos.

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Sleeping leopard. An impressive set of balls.

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Tiger resting in the shade.

Sometimes they look so fluffy and cat-like that it’s easy to forget that they can kill you.

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A mama tigress and her cub getting some R&R. Aww.

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“Have you no manners, sir? Can’t you see that I’m eating?”

This was one picky hornbill. There was a whole tray of fruits, but it only picked out the papaya and left all the bananas intact. lol.

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Mean geese that honked at us. I bet they would have chased us if it weren’t for the fence. Ever been pecked by a goose? It hurts like a biatch

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Orangutans chilling on a platform.

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Is that you, Baloo?

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Last but not least, two Asian elephants. They were orange from dried mud, probably to keep cool in the sweltering heat. Visitors can buy food to feed them. But instead of fruits and veggies, the zoo sold packets of bread (??) – must not be very nutritious for the elephants.

Malacca Zoo is okay to visit if you’ve run out of places to go to in Malacca. Needs better maintenance, but there are some nice animals here that I think kids (and adults) would enjoy seeing.

MALACCA ZOO 

75450, Malacca, Malaysia.

Opening hours: Daily (9am – 6pm)

*They have Night Safari on Fris-Sats (8pm- 11pm)

Ticket price: Adults (Malaysian – RM17.80), Children (Malaysian – RM7.10)

Phone: +60 6-232 4053

Los Angeles Zoo

I have a love-hate relationship with zoos.

While it’s great that I get to see the animals up close, it’s not good to keep them fenced up in cages either. They should be roaming free; wild and happy. But then again, habitat destruction and the eradication of various species is so common that people have started justifying the actions of ‘protecting’ animals by keeping them in zoos, where they are safe, well-fed and cared for.

Is life worth living behind bars?

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Not everything is bad about zoos though. I think it’s a great place to take young children, to educate the next generation about the importance of caring for the environment, lest these amazing creatures become extinct in our time. People learn from seeing, observing and experiencing much better than from reading about tigers in a text book.

Anyway, we visited the Los Angeles Zoo during our stay in the city. Founded in 1966 and sprawled across 54 acres of land, the place is pretty old.  And huge. Allocate at least a day if you’re planning to visit while in LA.

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Palm trees! Why am I not surprised? Palm trees are everywhere in LA.

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Just at the entrance is a large tank with a resident manatee. They look fat and tubby but are super graceful and fast swimmers. I can see why sailors (who were probably dehydrated/famished/hallucinating while on dangerous journeys) would mistake them for being mermaids.

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“Reggie” – a gator that became a media sensation after irresponsible owners let him off in a lake in Cali. He was captured after two years of eluding the authorities, and became an unofficial zoo mascot. They even have an eatery in the zoo named after him.

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Bad composition photo lol.

It was a weekday and there were lots of elementary kids running about on school trips. We (evilly) nicknamed them little zombies because they seemed to go to each exhibit in droves, screaming. I applaud teachers the world over – how do you guys handle it?

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Also within the zoo is a botanical garden with lovely roses.

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It’s Timon!

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“Some day, I shall gaze at the sun from the vast fields of Africa instead of this small excuse of a ‘habitat’.”

Well, a meerkat can dream.

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Flamingoes. The ones here have a healthy colour – bright pink/orange. I’ve been to a lake in Putrajaya back in Malaysia where they kept flamingoes, and their colours were pale and sickly-looking.

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An indoor area with small animals like reptiles and frogs.

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We had to wait for the horde…I mean, the school kids to pass through the area before we could take pictures and look at the animals.

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More gators

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All the way from Down Under, the Kangaroo…

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And fluffy koala bears.

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Bougainvilleas in bloom.

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Mountain goats. They made a hill-like structure to simulate their natural habitat.

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It is hard to see stripey zebras behind foliage. #theoryproven

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Mountain gorillas

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A type of African gazelle which can stand on its hind legs to eat high shoots and leaves. We waited for a long time but they didnt do it ._.

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Okapi – a shy animal that looks like a cross between a tapir and a zebra.

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They also have large animals like hippos, rhinos, giraffes and Asian elephants.

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The zoo is relatively well kept on the most part, but it is old and needs upgrading. I had a nice time exploring the place and there is lots of greenery even when you’re not looking at the animals.

LA Zoo

5333 Zoo Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90027, United States

10am to 5pm (daily)

Admission Adult: 19$
Getting There 
Take the Bus line 96 route, which originates in Burbank and Downtown.

Dai Nam Zoo, Binh Duong Vietnam

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Hi and welcome to another part of my trip to Dai Nam, a sprawling tourist complex in Binh Duong Province and the pride of Vietnam – being one of it’s first and largest theme parks. The dry park was a bit of a disappointment and we didn’t go to the man made beach, but we did drop by the zoo for an hour before heading back to Ho Chi Minh City.

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At the entrance, we are greeted by cartoonish figures of the 12 Chinese zodiac animals. My horse looks more like a cow donkey hybrid, but points for trying, ja?

We rented one of the small tourist buggies which took us around the smallish zoo and stopped where we wanted to take pix.

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Small animals section. Here are some porcupines. Some of the enclosures looked unkempt, and there were ‘extra’ wildlife scurrying around… by that I mean huge ass rats scampering across the rocks.

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A sad looking wildebeest (?)

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We spent a lot of time looking at these white and black gibbons. They looked really fluffy and energetic, swinging left and right while some visitors tried to give them food (even though there were signs clearly saying that you shouldn’t). There was a mamma gibbon with a baby clinging to her belly… so cute!!! But my camera didn’t manage to capture the pictures.

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Inter-species besties

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The white tiger enclosure. They really acted like big cats… ones that can kill you and eat you, but still cats all the same.

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Dedicated journalists at work.

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Another shared house arrangement which seemed like they were getting along fine – a couple of black dogs and a big cat. Apparently the sign said they had been living together since the dogs were puppies and the tiger was a cub.

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Baloo so chill

Overall I’d say the zoo was the best part of our visit to Dai Nam. Although some of the enclosures weren’t well kept, the animals appeared fine and there were quite a number of things to see, like the white tigers, lions, hippos, etc.

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We missed exploring the Historical area where they have all the big structures and temples. But other than that, I don’t think Dai Nam was worth our two hour ride from HCMC.