Taman Safari: Or How I Got to Hold an Orangutan
Yes, that is a baby orangutan. Holding a baby orangutan was on my to-do list for Indonesia. So when I heard that in a suburb of Jakarta there was an animal park, I decided it was time for a day trip. Taman (means park) Safari is in the city of Bogor. Bogor is actually a large city and the president has a palace there. And for about $2.50, you can take photos with an orangutan (and white tigers but they looked drugged and sort of sad). It was the best $2.50 I have ever spent. The color of our hair sort of matches:
The baby orangutan was such a gentle and lovely animal. It just clung to whoever was holding it. Weight-wise, it felt like holding a young child. It was wonderful. A little girl was a bit nervous to hold the orangutan, and I think he sensed this because he wrapped his arms around her — it was adorable.
Getting to Taman Safari was a trek. We took the train from Jakarta to Bogor. In Bogor we found out we’d have to take three angkot. Angkots are vans with one door tied open so people can hop on and off. They are cheap to take but being on them for about two hours wasn’t the most comfortable thing in the world. As we started getting close to Taman Safari, there were many stands with carrots.
Although feeding animals in the park is not technically allowed, it is not enforced. The way Taman Safari is set-up is very Jakarta. It involves staying in your car and driving through the park. Taman Safari is a weird mix between nature park, amusement park, water park, and safari.
Since we didn’t have a car, we got to get on the rhinoceros to take a ride through the park:
Animals will come right up to the cars to get carrots and bananas.
The one section of the park where people roll up their windows? You guessed it — where the lions live. Most of the animals in the park were asleep, so I really wonder if they were drugged.
The view from our table at lunch:
We saw signs for a cowboy show at the park, so we decided we had to see an Indonesian take on a cowboy show. Answer: it was pretty racist. It was very stereotypical with Indians, robbers, and saloon girls running around. The show was also very violent. I had a hard time taking the whole thing seriously because when you looked past the set, there was tropical jungle.
Honestly, the whole place was pretty kitschy. Just look at the area the white tigers were held in:
We saw some other monkey friends. But this guy wasn’t very interested in us:
And these two were interested in people giving them food.
All in all, the trek to Taman Safari was worth it. And, we got a true Indonesian travel experience with a cramped train on the way back!