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The observation tower once planned to hold tourists on Phang Nga

Phang Nga Aims for Zoo and Botanical Gardens

Thursday, July 5, 2012
PHUKET: Phuket's neighboring province, Phang Nga, is developing a plan for a large zoo and botanical gardens to attract a larger share of tourists and income.

Several schemes have evolved over the years but the zoo and botanical gardens may be the one that gains funding, Phang Nga's head of strategy, Prayat Chorpakaphan, said yesterday.

The project would be on 560 rai at tambon Nop Pring,near Song Preak and close to Phang Nga Town.

''It would be the biggest botanical gardens and zoo in the south, modelled on Chiang Mai Zoo,'' he said.

The idea has won some government support and a budget is expected to be set in the finasl quarter of 2012.

''It could be open and operating within a year,'' Khun Prayat said.

The zoo and botanical gardens would be set in a valley and include whitewater rafting, bicycle trails, viewpoints and camping facilities.

Phang Nga, directly north of Phuket, has a growing reputation for natural sacenic beauty but retains a low profile with tourists. Some people think it is part of Phuket.

While the diving off the coast of Phang Nga is excellent and its beaches are kept free from jet-skis and vendors, the monsoon seasons usually keep visitors away at some times of the year.

Having a zoo and botanical gardens would provide many visitors with an additional reason to stay in Phang Nga longer and spend more money there, rather than simply making a fleeting day trip from Phuket.

The limestone formation karsts that rise up on land and sea give Phang Nga Bay and the surrounding region a prehistoric quality that Phuket cannot match.

One of the ideas that was once being developed, a 200 million baht, 120-metre observation tower - a concept talked about by former Phuket Governor Wichai Praisa-ngob in his earlier role as Governor of Phang Nga - appears to have lapsed.

Comments

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foreign tourists do not want to see animals in captivity... they want to see animals in the wild. botanical gardens - great idea!! animals in cages - terrible idea!!

Posted by another steve on July 5, 2012 16:26

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A zoo, or a place where wild animals are confined to small cages, is out of date and not in keeping with modern trends. A safari park on the other hand would be somewhat more acceptable. If it is modelled on Chiang Mai Zoo, no doubt they'll have the disgraceful two tier pricing system and extra charges for every different enclosure. When we went, the animals seemed out of sorts and clearly unhappy about their confinement. They belong in the wild.

Posted by Pete on July 5, 2012 16:57

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what a smart move... i just hope it's not the start of a new phuket 2

Posted by mike on July 5, 2012 17:36

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Unfortunately a zoo will probably be a great attraction for the less adventurous Chinese and Russian tourists.

Posted by Mac on July 5, 2012 18:09

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Safari parks in Africa are often successful, there is a trend for that nowadays - the quality of pictures of free animals that can be seen on exchange sites like facebook is often amazing. But a zoo is an "old fashioned " thing that will not help as far as high quality tourism is concerned. The botanical garden is an excellent idea.

Posted by Anonymous on July 5, 2012 19:51

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An open range zoo, similar say to the Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo, Australia, would be a great idea. Plenty of space for the animals and wide open spaces for the people.
Having said that another animal prison like the Phuket Zoo would be a disaster for tourism. Most people today do not want to see animals in rusty cages crowded into to small enclosures.
A modern open range zoo, please yes, go for it.

Posted by Arthur on July 6, 2012 09:23


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