I was waiting for my change at the counter after lunch when the cashier asked when were the pandas arriving in Malaysia.
Hmm, he’s either read The Star or China Press, I thought to myself before telling him what I’d been telling everyone who’d asked – no new date has been set for their arrival.
Somewhere in the conversation, he said he’d never seen a panda in the fur before.
“Well, you must go and visit them after they arrive,” I replied.
“Maybe you can get me some tickets … ”
I’ve been asked this before so I had a ready answer to that: tickets are only available on the day of visit. Not true as I’ve since found out; see below.
Can you get us tickets?
Yes, I’ve been asked this question before, by Malaysian FB friends and by members of my extended family, too.
The first time, a cousin’s daughter had said, “My sister said can you get her some tickets to see the giant pandas when they arrive? After all, you’re on the committee … ”
I explained that I wasn’t on the committee but just a private citizen with a personal interest in the Malaysian giant panda project trying to make my existence known to the relevant people.
The next time the subject came up, husband of another cousin said, “When the pandas arrive, you must invite me to visit them.”
Who am I to invite anyone to visit Fu Wa and Feng Yi in Zoo Negara Malaysia? Like any other Malaysian, I expect to pay to get in to visit them. Unless I’m accepted as a volunteer in the giant panda exhibit, and then only on days when I’m on duty (I think).
It’s not that expensive to visit Zoo Negara Malaysia – RM30/- for Malaysians (you have to show your MyKad) and RM50/- for non-Malaysians. There will be another fee for visiting the giant panda exhibit but the Zoo has not announced the rate yet.
Info: Zoo Negara Malaysia
As for membership, there is a Zoo Negara Loyalty Card but it is only available for ages 3 to 12. Perhaps the Zoo is getting ready to launch a new membership initiative. Perhaps, but please don’t take my word for it.
I’ve since checked the Zoo Negara Malaysia website and found that there is e-ticketing. Yes, you can buy tickets online but first, you must register as a member. There is a 10% discount for buying entrance tickets online and from what I could see (yes, I signed up as a member), while tickets can be redeemed at the Zoo on the day of visit, this can only be done two days after online purchase. The tickets are also valid for a month from date of redemption, which means there’s no specific visit date on the tickets. From my previous visits to the Zoo, I saw no separate counter for collection of online tickets. On a normal day, this might not be a problem but big crowds are expected once Fu Wa and Feng Yi go on public display. Perhaps by that time, the ticketing system will have been improved so e-ticket purchasers have a separate counter to collect their tickets. Perhaps, but please don’t take my word for it.
Malaysians are getting ready to welcome Fu Wa and Feng Yi, and to visit them once they go on public display. Many have said they can’t wait to see them. I hope once they see Fu Wa and Feng Yi in the fur, they will be encouraged to learn more about this endangered species as well as other endangered species. I also hope that visiting Fu Wa and Feng Yi will give us new eyes to see and appreciate other animals.