Friday, January 6, 2017

3 Pet Cafes to Visit in Bangkok

They say when in Bangkok, shop. Unless you're a frantic animal lover who constantly needs some furkid therapy to survive the hustle and bustle of the busy city. Well, lucky you because the pet cafe scene is just purrrfect (hah!) in the city and most are easily accessible via BTS. If you're looking for a place to rest your weary feet after a long day of walking or just want to get your furkid fix, here are three animal cafes (in no particular order) which I visited on my recent trip to Bangkok in Dec 2016.

1. Caturday Cat Cafe
Cats cats cats! So many cats in one room just running and snoozing all over the place. I was in search of a place to rest my feet and kill time without spending a bomb and discovered (via Tripadvisor) Caturday Cat Cafe, just a BTS train ride away from Siam. Caturday Cat Cafe was the kind of place that you could visit regardless if you're in a group, a couple or just flying solo like I was that day.

With about 20 cats in the room, there were plenty of furkids to go around. As I sat in a corner against the window sipping on a hot cappuccino and enjoying their chocolate lava cake, one of the cats joined me and proceed to snooze right next to my drink. Underneath my table, a munchkin ran up and down before darting off across the room much to the delight of several children there. There was no fixed entrance fees as you can order anything from the menu and can stay as long as you want. I ended up being there for almost two hours.

Nearest BTS: Ratchathewi station, head towards exit 2 down the stairs and turn left immediately to Co-Co Walk Plaza. The cafe is along the row of shoplots there.
Address: Co-Co Walk Plaza, Phaya Thai Rd.
Opening Hours: Tue - Fri 12:00 - 21:00, Sat - Sun 11:00 - 21:00
Price: depends on what you order.

2. The House of Paws (HOPS) 
The House of Paws is an escape in the middle of a city with many dogs of various breeds to entertain and rough house with you. I went as soon as it opened at 11am and aside from myself, a friend and a few other tourists, the place was relatively empty.

We were thoroughly entertained by the antics of a hyperactive Corgi, nipping and chasing his bigger companions, a golden retriever, a Samoyed and a Alaskan Malamute. An elderly beagle slept in his little cushion the whole time we were there but didn't mind us patting him now and then.

Entrance fee was 150baht inclusive of a drink and two hours of playtime with the dogs. Food is limited to cupcakes so having a bite before or after your visit would be recommended. But fret not because some of the yummiest Thai food are in the area such as Som Tam Nua at Siam Square Soi 5. In fact, stroll a little further down from Som Tam Nua and nearer to the main road, you will find an secret alley way of Thai street food frequently by the locals.

Nearest BTS: Siam Station, near Novotel Siam
Address: Siam Square Soi 8, Bangkok Thailand
Opening Hours: Tue - Fri 11:00 - 21:00, Sat - Sun 11:00 - 21:00, Closed on Monday.
Price: 150baht

3. TrueLove cafe @ Neverland 
This was my second visit to TrueLove cafe, the first being two years ago. Back then it was relatively quiet with just us and 12 huskies to play with but on this trip, we were surprised to find the place filled with so many people. It was so crowded that the living room of the owner's house has been extended as part of the cafe. We purchased our ticket at 350baht before entering the cafe which entitled us to a drink, a cake or ice-cream cake and an hour of husky playtime.

We were shown to the living room-turned-cafe and served with our ordered drinks and cake. Upon finishing, plastic shoes were given to us for us to wear. Then us along with 30 other people were unleashed into the compound and were immediately greeted by 15+ beautiful well-groomed huskies.

Due to the crowd flocking around the dogs, I just ended up parking myself under one of the trees most of time and just waited for a husky to brush by or for one to flop to the ground near me before approaching it. Then came the moment everyone was waiting for. We were ushered to the specific area in front of the husky kennels and on cue, the huskies were let loose as a pack from the other end of compound. What a sight it was to see them barrelling down the compound to their kennels for feeding time - a moment best captured in slow-mo video.

Nearest BTS: Ari station, from the station to the cafe, it's only 40baht by tuk tuk. TrueLove cafe will also help you call a tuk tuk to return to the station after.
Address: 153 Soi Ari Samphan 2, Phahon Yothin Rd, Samsen Nai, Phaya Thai, Bangkok, Thailand
Opening Hours: Tue- Thurs: 12:30pm, 3:30pm slots, Fri - Sun, 12:30pm, 3:30pm and 6pm, closed on Monday
Price: 350baht per person.

Basic Practises at Animal Cafes
Just a heads-up on the common procedures before, during and after a visit to an animal cafe based on what I've observed from all three cafes as well as other places I've visited.
1. Always wash your hands before and after playing with the animals
2. Remove your shoes and store them where indicated. We wouldn't want you tracking dirt into the animals' home.
3. Do not feed the animals with human food as some food might be deadly to the animal. Check with the staff for treats.
4. Do not pull or grab the animal. Let them come to you.
5. If they are sleeping, do not disturb them.
6. No flash photography as their eyes are very sensitive.
7. Parents, please watch your kids and supervise their interaction with the animal for their sakes and that of the animal.

Bangkok travel tip: Do consider using Uber or Grabcar as the cost is might be cheaper if share in a group of 2 or more. 

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