TrueLove @ Neverland is an amazing, if surreal experience. A Siberian husky café in Thailand’s capital city Bangkok, it gives animal loving visitors the chance to get up close and personal to 25+ friendly and fluffy dogs. Yes, most of the dogs are huskies but in the mix are a few other breeds, including some old english sheepdogs and Australian shepherds and this cute little guy who seemed to rule the roost – Momo.
For just 500 Baht (at the time of writing roughly £10), you get to enjoy a slice of cake and drink in the cute little café before venturing outside to spend the next hour interacting with these gorgeous creatures and laughing as you see each of their unique personalities come out.
Where is Bangkok’s husky café?
TrueLove at Neverland is found in a pretty suburban area in the north of the city. As there’s no parking on site, its best to travel to the café by taxi or train. The nearest BTS (SkyTrain) station is Ari, but it’s still a bit of a way away, so you can either hire a tuk tuk just by the station or, like us, use Grab.
Are the dogs well looked after?
I adore spending time with animals but am always concerned about their welfare and so before I decided to visit I did my research to ensure it was a worthy place to visit and that the animals were all well cared for.
Happy with what I found, I was excited to visit and as soon as you arrive you can tell these people love their dogs, from the way they talk to you about them through to the way they were with them in the enclosure and even the safety video – which made you sure that the dogs’ welfare came first.
Visiting TrueLove at Neverland
Sadly you cannot book a visit to the husky café in advance, instead you have to rock up early on the day in the hope you nab a spot. The ticket counter opens at 10am, shutting when the last ticket for the day has been sold, so get there early in order to secure a spot in the queue ready to buy your ticket straight away when they open the till.
The whole affair is very organized. When you arrive someone there will point you towards where to get a queue number (near the red phone box) and then take a seat, if there’s one free. Just a few minutes before the ticket office opens the team will appear from behind the scenes to set up the queue barriers and call you up number by number ready to pay. There’s two sittings, at 12pm and 3pm, so if you get in the first one you just wait ‘till its time to go in, otherwise you can head off for a couple of hours, safe in the knowledge you’re space in the 3pm setting is secure.
While we were waiting it was fun to people watch. There were lots of guys earning ‘boyfriend points’ as we call them, by bringing their girlfriends for the day and it was amazing to see how far people had come from to visit – including Singapore and Myanmar.
The café experience
When it’s time to go you’ll be assigned a table, so if you want to spend that time outside by the dogs then I recommend getting into the queue early, as we were 12th in the line and all the outdoor spots were already taken. Don’t be disappointed if you don’t get an outdoor table though, you’ll have more than enough time with the dogs coming up, plus you get some respite from the stifling Bangkok heat by enjoying your treat inside the cute air-coned café.
You can see that the café was once used as someone’s home and the decoration is really kitsch, with a sideboard full of books and pictures and I loved the mismatched tables and chairs.
Once seated you’ll be given a small menu of free hot and cold drink options, although for an added cost you can order a wider range of drinks. The ticket price also includes either a slice of cake or ice cream cake (think posh arctic roll – am I showing my age?!). They’re not anything particularly impressive,
but that’s not the reason you come, is it?
You’re given around half an hour to enjoy your cake and drink and during that time everyone’s shown a video regarding your upcoming husky experience, highlighting etiquette and rules. I thought the video was great – it clearly shows you how the dogs’ welfare comes first, but in a really fun way.
‘Voiced’ by the dogs themselves, you learn a little about each of them – their names, characters and ages etc and are advised what you can and can’t do. The care of the animals is of the utmost importance, with the video telling you that you’re not allowed to run around, push the dogs or try and make them do anything they don’t want to do, feed them or let them lick your hands. They want to ensure that the dogs are kept happy and healthy.
It also explains that they don’t make the dogs do anything that they don’t want to, so don’t expect them to sit down and cuddle with you or to pose for a picture, although I bet you won’t leave without a good one!
The husky experience
After the video you’re given little plastic shoe covers to wear and then you head outside to thoroughly wash your hands and use an alcohol hand rub before being let into the dogs’ enclosure.
You then have an hour of amazing puppy time! I loved the vibe of the place and the people – the team are there to care for the dogs but they’re so thoughtful and you can see that they really want you to have the most amazing time possibly too. The ladies would help spot opportunities for great pictures with the dogs and ensure that everyone had a chance to get close and have a cuddle at some point during their visit. They’d grab phones and take a million photos for you, so you can go home with some wonderful memories from your visit.
For example, when you enter the enclosure on the right there’s an area when you can queue to have your photo taken ‘covered’ in dogs. Of course they won’t do it if they don’t want to, but a group of the older, more well trained dogs love to take part in return for the odd treat. One of the lovely ladies grabbed me by the arm and said to get a good picture it’s best to join the queue straight away, as the longer you go in, the less likely they are to sit still. So we went and did this straight away and got some great photos (and cuddles) from those gorgeous guys!
That photo op aside you’re free to just wander around the enclosure and say hi to the dogs. Not wanting to herd around them as others had done, I found a nice spot on the floor and let them decide to come to me if they wished.
I have to say it was so much fun watching them play and have cuddles. The ladies were great at making sure everyone had some time with the dogs and I was called over from time to time to come sit with some of them, including a gorgeous one-year-old Old English Sheepdog. Often after a mad five minutes running around and having fun with the guests the dogs would find a shady spot by a fan and just chill for a bit. This was a great time for a photo op and they looked so cute – especially Momo, who had one fave spot and with so much floof he always looked like he was melting into the floor. Awwww!
Although this wasn’t in anyway his idea of a fun time Justin came with me, so it was pretty hilarious when they clocked he hadn’t really spent much time with the dogs, as they picked up a rather malleable husky and just plopped him on his lap! The dog was completely unbothered by this turn of affairs and just got comfy and Justin just laughed!
Cool treats and slo-mo videos
The times visitors are welcomed to TrueLove @ Neverland are two of the five playtimes the dogs get each day, when they’re free to play and explore all together. Throughout the day they’re separately given enrichment time, but these five sessions are when they all get to come together.
Half way through each session madness ensues – at first I thought a doggy fight was kicking off as en masse they all began barking, but one of the ladies explained to me it was because it was ‘ice treat time’. They use the ice to help the big fluffy dogs regulate their temperature and they go mad for it. Seriously, it was like me hearing that there’s a gluten free chocolate brownie on the menu!
Guests were invited to hold big bowls of ice that the dogs would clamber around to crunch on, which were devoured in seconds. Then, normality resumed, until it was time to say a spectacular farewell to our new fluffy friends.
The end of the session heralds time for them to eat, and a great video opportunity for us. With the dogs herded to the far end of the enclosure, the guests are directed to the opposite end and advised to stay inside the white lines and get our cameras set to slo-mo. This is because when they open the gates the pack excitedly runs in en masse to get their food and so you can get an amazing video.
I was dragged over to a good spot by one of the ladies – when the gates open run behind for a good view, but be quick or you might get trampled! It was chaos, with dogs barking and the women shouting but very cool nonetheless – especially when I watched the slo-mo footage I captured.
Once the dogs run inside the door is closed and big cheers and clapping ensues. This is the cue that your husky experience has come to an end and it’s time to go home.
There really is a lot of love at Bangkok’s husky café and if you’re an animal lover I definitely recommend it as a unique experience. The price is cheap, the animals are adorable and the people are so kind, you can’t help leaving with a flutter in your heart and a grin on your face.
Tips and tricks for visiting TrueLove @ Neverland
- No children under 15 are allowed to visit the husky café, and 16-17 year olds can only enter if with an adult.
- No reservations are allowed and slots fill up really quick, so get there early to ensure you get a ticket.
- Take cash as they don’t accept card!
- If photos just aren’t enough for you, you can pick up a cute souvenir while you’re there – from cardboard placemats for around 5p through to £7 for a plastic souvenir cup and straw.
- Bangkok’s Husky Café – TrueLove at Neverland can be found at 153 Soi Ari Samphan 2, Samsen Nai, Phaya Thai, 10400 Bangkok.
- Find out more about TrueLove @ Neverland by visiting their Facebook page.