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Best Destinations to See Wildlife in Asia

by Angelique Platas

Jan 18, 2020

Hsu Yu Sheng | Dreamstime.com

Destinations / Asia

There’s something so pure and special about seeing an animal lover visiting their favorite species in person. While the zoo is home to a slew of wildlife, there’s just nothing like seeing it in the wild.

 

Sure, this may mean an epic vacation to Asia to do so, but it’s 2020 — live a little.

 

China

What’s a wildlife list without mentioning Giant Panda bears in China? This endangered species can be viewed throughout the country in zoos, but for a truly wild experience, the Bifengxia Panda Base (near Ya’an in the Sichuan province) is home to more than 80 pandas. This park offers volunteer programs giving guests up-close encounters, including feedings and cleanings.

Another option, the Giant Panda Breeding and Research Base in Chengdu houses about 60 pandas, including babies.

 

Japan

Whether visiting the famous snow monkeys of Joshinetsu Kogen National Park in Jigokudani or the adorable deer of Nara Park in Nara, Japan offers some incredible animal experiences.

 

Observe snow monkeys taking a dip in the steamy hot springs of Joshinetsu Kogen National Park by day before they scatter back into the forest at night.

Group of Japanese macaques Macaca fuscata bathing in Joshinetsu Kogen National Park Nagano, Japan. Photo: Atosan | Dreamstime.com

 

Traveling families staying in Kyoto can easily take a daytrip from the city to Nara, where more than 1,000 wild deer roam the temple grounds. Purchase crackers outside the park to feed the deer, but look out, these deer are not wallflowers — they will nudge, pinch and even follow you around in hopes of getting fed.

 

Japan is also home to several cat islands, which you can read more about here.

 

Thailand

You’ve seen the pictures of tourists riding elephants in Chiang Mai, but there are actually far better ways to see and interact with Thailand’s national animal.

 

The Elephant Nature Park, 40 miles outside of Chiang Mai, is a sanctuary for mistreated elephants. These rescues come primarily from abusive situations within the tourism industry. Guests can visit the park for the day, overnight or on weeklong visits and see these majestic animals living their best lives. Join volunteers in feeding, bathing and spending quality time with the elephants — all while knowing admission proceeds go toward the Save Elephant Foundation.

 

India

Riding a camel in the desert is a truly incredible experience — and where better to do it than the Pushkar Camel Fair? Each November, this epic event brings thousands of tourists to Pushkar, India, to celebrate the country’s beloved camel. Join in the festivities and see more than 50,000 camels parading around the desert village in decorative garb.

 

This is a popular event and will take some planning, so if it’s on your family’s list of 2020 experiences, get started!

Camels at the Pushkar Camel Fair, India. Photo: Manav Lohia | Dreamstime.com

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