When I first considered going to Ocean World in Bangkok, I had no idea what to expect. I certainly wasn’t expecting to have as much fun as I did in this underground aquarium, nor did I realize that one of the world’s largest aquariums was under a street in Bangkok!
I remember seeing Ocean World when I was in Bangkok back in 2015. They’ve been around since 2005, although I think they operate more like a common museum, providing marine information to Thai students. I certainly never considered visiting, until Voyagin brought them to my attention. I’m so glad they did.
Located under the Siam Paragon Mall in the heart of Bangkok, the aquarium has a 1.3 billion-gallon water tank, one of the largest in the world. At least that’s what they advertise. I can’t find any website to back that up, so I’m thinking that’s the total amount of water between all their displays. Either way, there is a ton of water (or more like 5 million tons), and the main tank really is huge!
The first part of the attraction contains dozens of different sea creatures, and not just those found in SE Asia. As with many places in Thailand, the information is translated into English. One thing I particularly liked about Ocean World is that the information displays mention where on the endangered scale each animal is. There were quite a few really interesting creatures on display. These included flashlight fish with their glowing patches beneath their eyes, lionfish at the top of their food chain, a giant octopus and an even bigger crab.
Next we had, as part of our entrance ticket, a fish feeding tour in a glass-bottomed boat. We were brought around the top of the main tank while the guide described the different fish, sharks and other creatures to us. Toward the end, she started throwing “bait” into the water, and we got to see the fish duke it out for the morsels. The tour didn’t take long, yet it was a unique and fun experience.
After that, there were more tanks, and even more tanks. We saw deadly eels, different colored sea horses, sea snails and all kinds of frogs and toads. That’s also were I found Nemo! Either that or his identical twin brother.
The next attraction was the shark feeding show. Two divers went into the tank and an announcer described what was going on. I don’t remember what types of sharks they were, but it was mentioned that their mouths were too small to endanger the divers. That didn’t stop the divers from using steel rods to put the fish into the sharks’ mouths. Unfortunately, the sharks weren’t as hungry that day, but the rest of the fish were. The divers spent half their time trying to fend off the other big fish and manta rays.
The last attractions and tanks held tea turtles, jellyfish and finally a full exhibit of penguins. This also had the underwater tunnel, running the length of the main tank, from which we watched all the creatures passing above us. I know the aquarium in the Dubai Mall has a tunnel, and I remember being in one in the States, but it’s still a fun experience, especially if you haven’t done it yet.
Unfortunately, at the end of the aquarium we realized we had missed a part of our ticket – the behind-the-scenes tour – and we had to backtrack to the entrance where the tour started. It wasn’t long, and we weren’t allowed to take any photos, but it did give us a better understanding of how the aquarium is maintained, what they do to improve the living conditions of the animals and their breeding programs.
And that was Ocean World. Altogether it takes about 2-3 hours to see everything, including the shows. I personally really enjoyed it, and I would definitely say it’s perfect for the whole family. Click their website to find opening hours and prices, and don’t forget to get a 25% discount with Voyagin.
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Couchsurfing is my favorite way to stay in a city, and there are a lot of hosts in Bangkok.
If you’re traveling with more than one person, I’d recommend using Airbnb. Some locations can be fantastic.
You can also find opportunities to volunteer in Bangkok via Workaway. I worked for a hostel there myself.