Last April, a good friend of mine treated me to an ocean rendezvous right in the confines of an Oceanarium. Though I have to admit that I am not a big fan of fishes ( I do not despise them but I would rather not spend my day fawning over them), my curiosity stoked my interest. There had been a lot of word about the Manila Ocean Park. So off I went. And fun I had! The beauty of some species – corals, alien-looking sea creatures, etc. – was just jaw-dropping! A tweety bird told me that a Singapore conglomerate is partly responsible for this Manila project, making maintenance more feasible. This prompted me to want to compare Thailand’s very own Siam Ocean World to Manila’s version! And in all my drop-bys in Siam, I have never set foot at the Ocean World. So, with no schedule to really follow, what the heck! I decided to shell out a few bucks – 750 baht or $21.95 – for a ticket! Compared to Manila’s ticket rate, Bangkok’s fees are more expensive – PhP1020.50. Manila’s entrance fee for adults is PhP400 – or just 294 baht - $8.60! The discrepancy is not minimal! Is Bangkok’s Ocean World really all that different from Manila’s Ocean Park?
In terms of area size, Bangkok is way roomier, the ceilings are higher. Manila tends to get too congested for comfort especially during weekends. At the dark room, if you stretch your arms, you might touch aquarium glasses at both hands! This isn’t the case in Siam Ocean World, which is a curiosity since if you really think about it, Bangkok’s version has a limited area. It is located at the basement floor (B1 Floor) – a car parking level – right below the main food court of Siam Paragon! Manila’s Ocean Park is housed at a spacious sprawl of a building facing the seas! Visit my post on the Manila Ocean Park for comparison - http://eye-in-the-blue-sky.blogspot.com/2008/04/manila-ocean-park.html.
In terms of species, the Manila version has more colorful and unique corals and sea anemones compared to Bangkok’s. The latter however has more diversity. The huge wall-to-wall concave Aquaria is bigger and walkway is longer! It is touted as Southeast Asia’s largest aquarium – containing 2.8 million litters of water – and about 400 species of sea animals. Their displays are thematically separated into the following: Weird & Wonderful, Deep Reef, Living Ocean, Rainforest – complete with a waterfall, a jetty with a boat; Rocky Shore – where some penguins can be seen; Open Ocean and the Sea Jellies. A tarantula and a few scorpions are also on display at the Rainforest area. Finally, there is a Nescafe Coffee Bar inside! Do not forget to claim your free Pepsi! I forgot mine! I remembered mine too late. I was already outside and there’s no going back once you’ve exited.
Another special feature at the Siam Ocean World is a 4D Show – a Sanyo Technology that has tricks which reminded me of the 4D Cinema at the Genting Highlands in Malaysia! I have to warm people that these seats employ a lot of sudden jerks and tilts. They even have air blowers that will suddenly sprinkle water and blow air on your face as the movie is being played – all in the name of 4D! Fun and nakakagulat (startling) – so, mind your nerves!
OTHER SPECIAL INTERACTIVE EVENTS AT SIAM OCEAN WORLD:
Here’s the daily program: Dive underwater Talk 11:00-19:00 weekdays (and hourly every weenends and holidays); Rainforest Zone Feeding 12:00-16:00 everyday; Animal Contact hourly from 11:30 to 19:30; Otter Feeding daily 11:30 to 15:30; Penguin Feeding 12:30 to 16:30; Rocky shore Feeding 12:00 to 16:00; Shark Feeding 13:00 to 16:00. Siam Ocean World is open daily from 9:00 to 22:00 (9AM – 10PM) with the last entry at 9PM! Also, they have “Dive with the Sharks” program (facilitated by Planet Scuba) as well as Glass Bottom Boat Adventures (a 25-minute program that can accommodate 10 people – minimum of 2, and leaves every 10 minutes). Major credit cards are accepted! Visit their website @ www.siamoceanworld.com if you need more information or updates.