Waking up to the safari next day was a refreshing experience, we saw zebras running outside our window and fed them some carrots (complimentary from hotel) before leaving, it was very heartwarming to see the animals enjoy running around and having fun. We then left the hotel for our free buffet breakfast at Tsavo Lion Restaurant, honestly the food this time were below average, very limited choices and they all tasted like microwaveable food, only good thing was being able to watch the lions again. During this time we actually noticed another corner of the restaurant having meerkats behind the glasses, they were located very near to the entrance and we didn't notice them all along, we love meerkats! They were very curious and seemed to enjoy interacting with humans, standing on two legs are their trademark pose when they want to know what is going on ahead, in the same area there were also some porcupines, which will only come out at night when the meerkats are not around.
Views from our balcony
As we had booked online for our elephant safari package, we had some time to walk around the safari before the ride, the map circled by the staff was very helpful, we got to know the animal shows timing as well as photo taking session, the nearest to us was photo taking with lion cub so we went there first, being a guest of the hotel, we were offered a ride by the staff which we really appreciated. As we reached, we did not see any lion cub, but a teenage lion more than half the size of a fully grown adult, we simply watched for awhile before deciding to go ahead and take some pictures, the lion was chained to the bench, photo taking session lasts about 2 hours each day, probably to avoid stressing out the animals. Well the lion looked bored and attempted to challenge the staffs once in awhile, it was also excited when it saw children, as we left more and more people started to queue behind.
Nice detailed map
You call this a cub? *gulp*
Next we went to take photo with another animal called the "binturong", it looked a little like large racoon x wombat with very long tail, the tail acts like another hand, clinging onto us and licking all over our face like a dog, we had a lot of fun with it! After some strolling we walked towards the orang utan booth, we took some photos with the female orang utan, she seemed very distracted and even flipped people's hands off when they tried to touch her, she clearly didn't enjoy the photo session.
A female orang utan stealing someone's flower band
After the photo sessions we went to catch an elephant show before the actual ride, instead of just doing tricks like most circuses, Bali Safari's elephant show managed to be different - humans and elephants have to work together to portray a story, without revealing too much, this is a story about poachers and elephants, some parts of it were surprisingly funny and some of it were true and sad. Halfway through the show we saw one of the elephants misbehaving, running into the pool and playing by itself, we weren't sure if this was intended but it didn't seem like it, however no one went to stop or guide it away, this was something that is different from other zoos and its a good thing. For the seats it would be advisable to queue up before the show starts as it will be packed, especially during weekends unless you get the Rhino package, which focuses on getting priority seats on all the shows at Bali Safari - Bali Agung show, Animal parade, Elephant show, our package was the Elephant Package, which is more towards photo taking session and Elephant ride. Overall we enjoyed watching the show, the elephants didn't look unhappy, the program is only available once a day which helps to avoid stressing them our, once again this is another plus that is different from others.
The scheduled elephant ride was near so we walked towards the booth, after presenting our Elephant package tickets we were offered 1 free drinks each, drinks at Bali Safari are not cheap, even a simple coke is replaced with "slim cans" series, which means less amount for the money you pay, we gladly enjoyed our free drinks and proceeded to the ride. As we were waiting for our ride, a row of elephants lined up behind, seats on the elephant are supported with metal handles for passengers to hold, each elephant is accompanied by a trainer, we were told to keep all cameras and items in the locker but still managed to bring a GoPro camera onto the ride. The elephant ride was the highlight of the trip, she (all of them are female elephants) would bring us for a 30 minute ride around the park, the routes are planned such that they would not be in contact with other animals except those staying outside our hotel (rhinos, zebras etc), the ride was very shaky and uncomfortable initially, we were taken downslope and up small hills, sometimes we'd meet other elephants that are taking on passengers too, during the ride we noticed that all trainers had a stick with a pointed tip on hand, it looked like a tool to correct the elephants, the trainer would make a sound signal when the elephants are not behaving, then proceed to use the stick if they still don't listen, for example, our ride met another elephant and they started to walk too close together, the trainer then made a unique sound to correct the elephant, it's similar to dog training in some ways, elephants are very smart and have strong sense of hearing but human language is still not preferred, our language may be convenient for human to use but it is actually very hard even for intelligent animals to pick up unless we use only 1-2 words per command, hence we believe that the trainers at Bali Safari chose to use sound signal instead of human language to make communicating easier, the stick mentioned does not seem to cause any injuries when used, probably to alert the elephants if they misbehaved. It was pleasant to see our hotel from the elephant's point of view, there were guests waving and throwing carrots at our direction to feed the elephants, during the ride we were also able to experience having the elephant drinking water from the canal, we also got to watch the rhinos, zebras and bisons up close which was really cool. During the ride we did take a look at the elephant's body and physical state, none of them showed signs of injuries or irritated, though we may not be experts in elephants, it seemed that Bali Safari had different thoughts about animal welfare compared to other zoos out there.
After the elephant ride we went over to another area which was having elephant bath session, two elephants were in a pool and seemed to be having fun, beside was a staff selling carrots to see if anyone wanted to interact with the elephants, we got a bunch and started to feed them up close, it was our first time touching an elephant's trunk and feeding them directly, they were putting their trunks all around our body while the staff helped to take photos, our clothes were wet from the session but it was really enjoyable.
Friendly elephants interacting with tourists
Thereafter, we walked to the Marine park, it took quite awhile to search for the location, we did see some aquariums but there were no signs or anything to show the way to the "Park", it was only after walking around the location for awhile when we found out that we were actually at the Marine park already! This was no marine park in our opinion, but just a couple of fish tanks with very common saltwater fishes, it was a huge disappointment and Bali Safari should not add the Marine Park behind their name. As circled by the staff that there were piranha feeding at that time, we found the area and waited patiently, soon enough the whole area were crowded with people, feeding time started and the feeder dropped a raw chicken(dead) into the tank, after about 5 minutes of waiting, the piranhas simply swimmer passed their meal, not a single one cared about the chicken, everyone was laughing and we left thereafter.
Not so hungry pirahnas
We then walked back to the safari and took a tram around the park, having thought that we had already seen all the animals during our night safari ride, we were wrong! The tram ride surprised us with a lot more animals deep inside the safari, some of them are hippopotamus, giraffes, ostriches and more lions, all up close with a glass protecting the vehicle, it was a fun experience!
Right beside our vehicle
With glasses blocking of course!
Dinner at Tsavo Lion Restaurant was pleasant as usual, we tried their rib and duck, both were pretty good but can be improved, after our main course we ordered their caramelized banana dessert, a waitress came over to prepare the dessert in front of us, even had a little fire surprise to end the preparation, the dessert tasted really good.
On our third and last day, we went to the stage area to catch an animal show before leaving, it was very packed and hot having to watch under the sun, there were orang utan, binturong, birds, guinea pigs and also poodles, reminded us of Amber. The orang utan was the same one at the photo booth, once again she seemed very moody, guess monkeys really need more mental stimulation than other animals due to their active nature and intelligent mind. The show was unexpectedly dull, not really worth our effort to wait under the hot sun, there wasn't any wow factor either, as this was our last activity at Bali Safari we sat through the whole show, then went back to the hotel for the last time, we threw all the carrots to the animals and left the place. Though it was only for 2 days, we really enjoyed ourselves and the welcoming staffs, they offered to drive us to the entrance to take the car ride to airport.
During the car ride to Bali Airport, we felt uncomfortable constantly being asked whether we wanted to visit other places before leaving, the timing of the car ride was booked by the staff at Bali Safari, who advised us to have at least 2 hours as the drive may take 1.5hours during peak period, we followed their advice only to find out that we reached the airport in less than an hour, if I think about it, it seemed that Bali Safari was associated with the drivers, who will charge you extra for bringing you around during transfer to the airport, this was very disappointing as we had no plans to visit other places, they could've kindly asked instead of wasting our time. When we said no to the driver a couple of times, his face turned black and did not even say goodbye to us when we reached the airport, we had to spend 1 hour strolling around the very expensive shops at Bali Airport, upon check in we had to pay $20 for tax, and was asked to remove our belts for security purposes, it was very awkward for all the tourists there.
Overall, Bali Safari is a must visit if you love animals, the staffs are very friendly, concept is unexpectedly great, resort space and design is one of the best, for people who are afraid of open concept can adapt within a few hours, we love all the animals and they seemed to be pampered, the only downside are the prices of the activities and also the food choice at the park.
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