Although I had lived in Thailand for a long time, I have never been to the crocodile farm and zoo in Samut Prakarn province until recently. The initiative was inspired by the urge to entertain my kids who were very keen to see these dangerous reptiles in action like nowhere else in the world.
It took us about an hour from the Prakanong district, Bangkok by car with moderate traffic. The one-time admission fee includes all shows and rides offered throughout the day. We were there around noon and decided to go straight for the crocodile show scheduled around 1 pm to get the best view.
The show somehow started unexpectedly half an hour early. Two men dressed in red walked fearlessly into the pond and busy themselves pulling a few full-grown crocodiles onto the rocky island in the middle.
We were unsure why poor crocodiles had to be dragged out of cool water at this point. Many of them just crawled back quickly into the water while some of them were contented to stay in the hot sun.
Even though we realize how dangerous they can be – imagine hungry and fierce creatures furiously snap-close their sharp teeth mouth and clean-cut their prey in half, these crocodiles seem to be very passive and harmless.
The men continued to annoy their fellow crocodiles by poking them with the stick. The highlight of the show was when one of them put his arm in the animal’s open mouth and pulled it back in virtually the same millisecond the big brother closed his mouth with a loud snapping thump.
The second highlight came when the second performer gently placed his head into the animal gaping open mouth.
My folks were breathless, wondering if this was going to be the last time we saw him in one piece. Although as far as I’m concerned that the show has been going on for ages and that things should not go wrong but at one moment, I visualized becoming one of the unlucky audiences to witness a potential barbaric event.
This seemed to be not the case. Everyone was fine. There was no bloodshed. The show lasted about half an hour with men and crocodiles working in perfect harmony.
We gave them a loud cheer, many rounds of big applause, and a big tip, the least we could do to contribute to such a spectacular undertaking and most of all, the relief that the guys survived for another day.
I exaggerate here. These are respectable professionals and they are very good at what they do.
There were also other activities for the family. Visitors can then stroll around the park, enjoy the zoo, feeding the bird, fish, turtle, and elephants, watching the elephant show, and rode one of them.
You can boat, have pictures taken with the tiger (and I mean side by side like best buddies which I thought twice and decided against it).
We ended our trip by walking on an elevated wooden bridge over the large crocodile’s habitat where we were told Yai, the born in captivity world record biggest crocodile, resides.
Like other zoos that we have been to, we can’t expect captured animals to be happy in less than ideal, manmade habitat and could not help feeling for them but kids had a lot of fun watching incredible crocodile show, observing and feeding animals on another tropical hot and humid summer day.