a pleasure-hunting monkey.

One Day with Giant Pandas at Taman Safari Bogor

Taman Safari Bogor recently has a new species that gives you all the more reason to go there, especially if you are looking for a short escape from the Capital. Located in Cisarua at West Java, Taman Safari Bogor now makes a wonderful home to two giant pandas who came directly from Shicuan Province in China.

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Meet the duo Cai Tao and Hu Chun, the new giant pandas that flew all the way to Indonesia from China as one of the diplomatic instruments between the two countries. Since there has never been any pandas living in Indonesia, this duo has become the most interesting species to see at the park. Now we do not need to go to China to see giant pandas.

Together with a Indah, I decided to see these pandas up close on a recent weekend. Our trip to Taman Safari Bogor took less than two hours drive from Jakarta with a private car as it was the most comfortable way to go and explore the park.

Safari First

For those who live in the Greater Jakarta, you may want to ask yourself this question; when did you last visit Taman Safari Bogor? It could be years ago, perhaps when you were still in high school or even elementary school.

The most memorable experience at Taman Safari Bogor is surely the safari journey. Using a private car, we explored the wildlife in the park. When we arrived, we bought our tickets at the entrance gate and directly entered the conservation area by following the direction board. For those who don’t ride their own car to Taman Safari Bogor, don’t worry because the park provides shuttle buses tours.

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Safari trip inside Taman Safari Bogor

On this visit to Taman Safari Bogor, our main purpose was visiting Cai Tao and Hu Chun. But to get to their sanctuary, we still needed to do the whole safari journey where we encountered numerous animals, not only from Indonesia, but also from other parts of the globe, such as camels and Indian tigers.

The safari journey took about one hour. After that, we arrived at the amusement park of Taman Safari Indonesia that is filled with rides and attractions, including a baby zoo for an encounter with newborn animals.

Teenage Pandas

The teenage giant pandas Cai Tao and Hu Chun were born in 2010 at the China Conservation and Research Center for Giant Panda in Bifengxia, Yaan, Sichuan Province, China. Each of them has a name with a beautiful meaning. Cai Tao is the male panda, and his name actually means a charismatic or a noble man, while the name of the female, Hu Chun, means a lake in the spring or the beauty of nature.

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Both of them came to Indonesia as special guests that will stay for ten years. The preparation to welcome them began four years ago, including building the Istana Panda (the palace of the pandas) as their home. Traveling for 4,400 kilometers from Shuangliu International Airport in Chengdu at China, they finally arrived at Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport on September 28, 2017.

It took two months for these pandas to adapt with the new environment before they could finally meet the public in November 2017.

Panda’s Palace

Using a shuttle bus, we went to Istana Panda (the palace of the pandas) where a gigantic panda statue stood at the entrance and a natural view of the surroundings made our jaws drop. Nestled 1,800 meters above sea level, this palace boasts a magnificent view of Mount Gede and Mount Pangrango, making it the highest panda conservation in the world.

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Indah in front of Istana Panda

Before we finally met Cai Tao and Hu Chun at their home, like other visitors, we had to see a short video about the lives of these pandas before they were relocated to Indonesia. The palace also displays so many photos and posters with more information about how pandas live in their natural habitat or conservation in China.

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The copy of a panda conservation center in China.

We were quite lucky as the weather that day was sunny enough for both Cai Tao and Hu Chun to play outdoors. From where we stood, we could see them chewing bamboo and other food. These big black-and-white fur balls looked even more adorable as they walked around their home, almost fell asleep and finally dozed off. When it’s raining, they both will move indoors.

This palace is a giant exhibit, complete with food inside.

A little tip; don’t forget to bring a camera to capture the amusing behavior of Cai Tao and Hu Chun.

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Istana Panda also has a food court serving a variety of dishes, so visitors won’t be starving after spending the whole day exploring the area.

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