Bringing Bali to Chester

It took hundreds of different people with a range of skills to recreate six tropical islands in Chester. Not only did it involve building and construction but also theming and dressing to create an authentic snapshot of South East Asia.

Two people who were tasked with bringing a bit of Bali back to the UK were Myles and Jacqui Podmore from Tripod Homes Ltd. They went out to this beautiful island to find authentic everyday items for Islands, below they share their experience with us:

This was our first project for theming a zoo, although we have supplied furniture for many zoos and outdoor attractions before.

Following many meetings with Chester Zoo, Myles took a trip to Asia to make the initial search for the products required. Visiting Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia, he met lots of new people and made lots of unusual requests.

It was important for Chester Zoo to have authentic used items to theme Islands with and so this is exactly what we went looking for.

Bali view
Beautiful views of Bali

We spent three weeks in Bali sourcing the local festival street decorations and soaking up the beautiful atmosphere.

Bali culture

The people living in Bali are mostly Hindu, which is a wonderfully vibrant religion. Celebrations seem to spring up from nowhere, making it a really exciting, colourful place to visit.

Bali culture - Islands

We travelled all around the island taking in the volcanic area to the east, the very westernised area to the south and the culturally rich central area of Ubud.

While traveling through one of the poorest areas of Bali, we came across a girl making baskets in a rickety shelter, on the edge of the mountain. We stopped and talked to her and found that she was making baskets to pay for her education.

Balinese culture

It’s meeting people like her that inspire us to try and find ways to work with the small communities and hopefully to improve quality of life.

Watch this short documentary to find out how Monsoon Forest was made and how we managed to recreate a tropical climate in Chester Zoo.