I admit the Hanoi Zoo wasn’t exactly what I expected. Although I kinda knew that I’d see a big body of water somewhere near the zoo (note: Vietnam has numerous natural and man-made lakes in various parts of the country), I didn’t think that it would actually sit ON it. You see, the Thu Le Zoo Hanoi sits on Thu Le Park in the Ba Đình district, a big part of which consists of a lake. Considered an urban park, the zoo sits in the middle of high-rises, establishments, and the busy Hanoi traffic.
First, let me just note that unlike other urban zoos, you don’t have to spend a fortune for a ticket to visit Hanoi Zoo. The ticket actually costs only VND10,000 per person or roughly less than 50 cents. Not bad, right?
Since a big part of the park consists of water, you can expect to see amazing sights like this one. It’s not much, I know, but for people who enjoy big open spaces, this one is actually a big plus.
Several bridges connect the park’s ‘mainland’ to an ‘island’ situated within the giant lake. So, if you want to check out the ‘island’ where the monkeys are house, you can definitely do so.
One of the two bridges that connect the mainland to the ‘island’ features railings with elaborate crocodile designs. They’re gorgeous.
Due of the size of the lake, the entire property has plenty of spaces for walking, jogging, and even biking. As a matter of fact, a lot of locals frequent the zoo not to see the animals but to stroll, rest, or exercise.
The zoo offers an amazing view of the beautiful skyline surrounding the property.
That’s me enjoying the wonderful view just before sunset.
The Hanoi Zoo houses more than 600 species of animals. Among the animals within the zoo are big cats, monkeys, bears, and elephants.
The elephant pen, where visitors can participate in live feeding, is situated near the center of the zoo. I must say, however, that the pen can use a bit of improvement and renovation as it is quite dated and not very well-maintained.
The zoo also has an extensive collection of birds and other winged animals. Among them is this lovely peacock.
The Not So OK
Aside from the animals and walking spaces, the Hanoi Zoo also has quaint book stores, playpens for the kids, karting tracks, and even small carnival rides like trains and roller coasters.
Although these attractions are generally OK, I believe that because of too much noise from the machines and the people enjoying them, the animals are exposed to unnecessary stress.
Swan boats are also available for those who are interested to enjoy a quiet afternoon ride in the middle of the lake.
Hanoi Zoo, Hanoi, Vietnam