Animal lovers will be happy to know that Bali is a wonderland of flora and fauna, as well as a plethora of fun parks where you can see rare and exotic creatures. Whether you’re into elephants, Komodo dragons, starlings or monkeys, you can really get in touch with your wild side at Bali’s animal attractions.
Home to over 350 animals, many of which are indigenous to Indonesia, the Bali Zoo is the first and only fully Balinese-owned zoological park. The animals here are spread out across 22 acres of natural landscape, and the exhibits include rare Sumatran elephants and tigers, binturongs, Komodo dragons, pythons, monkeys and even a pride of lions. Visitors can wander the grounds to get up close and personal with the animals, or join one of the unique programmes like the Night at the Zoo or Mahout for a Day experiences. There is also the gorgeous Wana Restaurant on site that serves Indonesian and Western cuisine in a jungle-like setting overlooking the lions’ den.
Bali Safari and Marine Park
If it’s an all-in-one animal adventure you’re seeking, head to Bali Safari & Marine Park located close to the sea in Gianyar. Here you’ll find exhibits with exotic animals from across Asia, safari journeys that take you through the habitats of Indonesian, India and Africa, a freshwater aquarium with sharks, piranhas and other tropical fish, and a fun zone and water park with thrilling rides, slides and chill-out areas. For those who can’t bear to leave the lively atmosphere of the park, the Mara River Safari Lodge is a unique accommodation option that offers modern thatched bungalows just metres from the animal enclosures.
Bali Bird Park and Reptile Park
For lovers of all things avian, the Bali Bird Park is spacious centre for the preservation, conservation and breeding of birds from all over Indonesia, Latin America, Australia and Africa. The park has been divided into different areas that recreate the natural habitats of the birds, and visitors can explore each region to see thousands of birds and over 250 species including the rare endangered Bali starling. There is also a 4-D cinema, a restaurant on site that serves Asian and Western dishes, and the neighbouring Reptile Park that houses Komodo dragons, Indonesian monitor lizards and an 8-metre reticulated python.
Elephant Safari Park
Animal lovers on a holiday in Bali can enjoy an action-packed day at the Elephant Safari Park in the village of Taro, just north of Ubud. Here you can stroll the gorgeous landscaped grounds on foot to catch glimpses of the elephants as they go about their daily activities, or take a scenic jungle trek on the back of one of the elephants, meandering through the park past glittering lakes and through botanical gardens. The Elephant Safari Park also features an information centre, historical displays around the grounds and an interesting museum where you can learn all about the ancestry and history of the elephants. The museum is worth the trip alone for its massive mammoth skeleton, which is the only specimen of its kind in all of Southeast Asia. Moreover, the 200-seat restaurant is sure to have something to please all palates, and the gift shop offers unique elephant-themed souvenirs, including paintings by the elephants themselves.
Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary
Located smack dab in the middle of Ubud, the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary is actually a Balinese temple site that was taken over by monkeys many decades ago. Today the temple and surrounding forest are part of an ecological reserve that houses over 600 monkeys from four different troops. Guests are welcome to enter the forest for a small fee, although it is not advised to feed the monkeys or take in any valuables that are visible to the monkeys, as these naughty primates have been known to jump on people and pilfer whatever they can grab.