This is taken from my blog from when I went to Asia last year... Today I went to Chonburi, which is about an hour and a half to the south-east of Bangkok. The main reason I was going was for the Khao Kheow Open Zoo (there's various spellings but this is how they spell it at the zoo itself, so that's what I'll go with), but when I was looking up about Chonburi on the internet to find out which bus station to leave from I found out there's an aquarium there as well. The Bang Saen Aquarium is at the Barapha University's Marine Science Institute but it appears to be set up as an actual public aquarium rather than a University aid that just happens to allow the public in. The entrance fee for foreigners is 100 Baht but I don't think they really get many foreigners because the ticket lady seemed confused as to where the foreigner tickets even were. Lots of locals though, so its obviously popular with them. The aquarium is a mix of fairly flash new tanks (with several areas blocked off where more are going in) and old glass-fronted concrete boxes where apart for decor no attempt is made to hide that they're concrete boxes. I really liked this aquarium. Its all local marine-life of the area. There's toadfish and stonefish and garden eels and monster groupers and remoras and all sorts of other stuff. The Aurelia jellyfish were kept in a square tank and seemed fine, which was interesting (lots of them in there too). There was a seahorse tank about 5x2 feet containing at least 200 seahorses, but probably more like 300. Attached to the aquarium is the Marine Science Museum which is very good. All sorts of preserved and skeletonised and modelled creatures of the deep. Just my sort of place. The zoo was 100 Baht for foreigners (there's always a different price for locals and tourists, which I don't have much of a problem with if it gets the locals more involved in the wildlife but sometimes the tourist price is exceptionally steep at several hundred Baht when the locals pay about 20 or 50). The publicity for the Khao Kheow Open Zoo says it is 2000 acres where 100 (or 200) species of animals roam free, which sounds really excellent, but in fact most of the animals are in standard zoo-sized enclosures, just spread out over a larger area. Some of the cages were in fact rather small, like those for the cats and the horrible little barred cages in the visitor centre for young bears, binturongs and porcupines. I didn't have nearly enough time at the zoo and only saw a small part of it. To get the best of this place you really need a whole day and your own transport. There's a shuttle train that takes you around but the stops are far apart and mostly not anywhere near the enclosures you need to be on foot to view (for small mammals, reptiles, etc). The bird section had a walk-through aviary which also had mouse deer and squirrels and so on. One of the signs inside the aviary said there were Gurney's pittas in there. So what, say non-birders. But the Gurney's pitta is one of the rarest birds on the planet, and its like the Holy Grail for many birders. I'll be trying for it at Khao Nor Chuchi in southern Thailand (the only place its accessible), probably unsuccessfully. I saw a blue-winged pitta in the aviary, but no Gurney's. There were Prevost's squirrels in the visitor centre, the most beautiful squirrel in the world, but the best animal in the zoo was the hoary bamboo rat. Its the size and shape of one of those barrel pencil cases, with thick chocolate brown fur and a white stripe down the face, a tiny little tail and tiny eyes and ears. So cute. The young binturongs play-fighting were good too. Just as a side-note, there's another zoo near Bangkok, in Minburi, called Safari World where I was at first going to go because I was intrigued by the information they had "white pandas" and as far as I knew the only giant pandas in Thailand were at Chiang Mai Zoo. So I tried to find out about these pandas on the internet before I left New Zealand, and instead found out that Safari World had had 115 (that's one hundred and fifteen) smuggled Bornean orang-utans confiscated from their premises in 2004! So I am avoiding that zoo just on principle. A number of those confiscated orangs that were supposed to be sent back to Borneo instead turned up at Chiang Mai's Night Safari Zoo later. And just the other day in the Bangkok Post was an item about Safari World in trouble again for possibly-illegal elephants it's trying to send out of the country.