Tiger Temple

by FieryTree on April 4, 2013 · 17 comments

Post image for Tiger Temple

Wednesday found us at the Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi, a few hours outside of Bangkok. I was a bit concerned about going because I didn’t want our year stay to end within the first two weeks due to gashes on any parts of our body.

TigerCombo

My other concern was because I am not a huge fan of zoos and animals being locked up. I was worried how the animals were treated and how they could possibly be so calm around humans. The staff’s answer is because they have been around humans their entire life (all were born in the park), they get lots of exercise, are loved, and fed a diet of cooked chicken  (4-5 whole chickens for the bigger cats) and carnivore supplements. I’d say a bit of magic is involved too, for no one was chewed on while we were there, and we all got up close and personal with them.

First pet, starting with the sleep one...but 'you want me to actually touch him?'

First pet, starting with the sleeping one…but ‘you want me to actually touch him?’

The staff was a really nice part of the experience too. They guided us how to walk around the animals and had a constant watch on us. They also took a lot of close-up pictures for us, putting the camera right in the tiger’s face. They all seemed shockingly comfortable with the tigers, even when the only thing controlling the tigers appeared to be a simple leash and skinny piece of bamboo.

First time we saw tigers, 10 feet away being guided by their handler.

First time we saw tigers, 10 feet away being guided by their handler.

The price for admission was 600 baht, so at the current rates, about $21. This gave you access to pet the tigers and have pictures taken, by yourself. A few times group photos were allowed with the smaller beasts. One special photo involved the opportunity to walk the tiger, where you are given the leash. I took comfort in the many staff around, and the monk beside me.

TigerWalk

We were directed to “Touch them with a firm hand” so as not to get bitten.

The walk lead us into a canyon where we all waited until each tiger was down before we were allowed to leave.  As each tiger came down, we were told to stand up and look at the tiger (as they attack from behind).

TigerWalkC

Last tiger approaching with Abbot, us all standing to watch. [Thanks Manee for photo.]

If these opportunities were not up close and personal enough for you, there were additional programs for 1000 bahts ($35), which we decided to take advantage of.  James opted for “exercising” the younger tigers, which still weigh in at over 200 pounds, in a pool. For me this sounded like an excellent way to be drown and eaten.

TigerJamesPlay

James first to enter pool with two tigers and a young lady with a stick.

TigerJump

The goal of the exercise: a leaping tiger. Just watch where it lands.

So, for the same price, I choose to feed and play with the cubs, which were about the size of a medium size dog. This activity had the added adventure of a slick floor, in bare feet, and the cheeky buggers jumping on you if you had your back to them. They were fun to feed though.

TigerBath

They loved the water.

TigerFeed

Chicken not fingers please!

Overall, the day exceeded expectations. One of the staff praised all of the good work of the monastery and Abbot. They’ve setup a daily soup kitchen, provided rabbies vaccinations to local animals (and people) and provides scholarships for schooling. Their goal is to help the locals so that they didn’t have to poach animals to survive.

TigerAbbotEnd

Group shot with one of their bigger cats Cosmos(?) and the Abbot.

So I would definitely recommend the opportunity to touch a tiger and I think James is debating the one month opportunity to volunteer there. They said they’d work you to death but you get to take care of the cubs. That would definitely be an experience! Check out tigertemple.org for details.

Want to play with a tiger?

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Click on a picture above or below to see more details. Few more pics from the day:

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Christina April 4, 2013 at 9:56 am

What an amazing experience. They are beautiful animals. I can see James signing up.

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2 FieryTree April 5, 2013 at 3:40 am

Yeah. I thought he might want to stay but he is enjoying the city too much for now.

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3 Pam One Feather April 4, 2013 at 10:43 am

WOW, WOW, WOW! Tom and I were loving this adventure. Tom loves tigers so he wishes he were there with both of you. I myself Maria feel like you, I love them but would much prefer playing with the cubs. Thanks so much for sharing.

Our you both working at jobs there? Where are you living?

Love Ya, Pam

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4 FieryTree April 5, 2013 at 3:45 am

It was an awesome experience. So strange to be so close to these amazing animals. They were chained to their area with a medium size clasp and some buried concrete (I’m guessing), or a tree:
http://fierytree.com/?attachment_id=266

We are living in Bangkok with a friend. Such a busy city!

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5 Louise April 4, 2013 at 12:58 pm

How cool! I would love to do this. How did the fur feel? Soft like a house cat, or more rough?

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6 FieryTree April 5, 2013 at 3:46 am

The larger ones were more rough like dog hair. The babies were all wet from the water so it was hard to say for them.

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7 abk April 4, 2013 at 2:56 pm

Totally awesome Maria!

Great pictures.

Having 4 cats at home I completely relate. Definitely a place to go and see, and volunteer! 🙂

Alfred

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8 FieryTree April 5, 2013 at 3:48 am

Definitely a cool experience! Unlike house-cats when you have your back turned and they pounce, they could take you down. 🙂

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9 Todd April 4, 2013 at 3:37 pm

That was awesome!

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10 FieryTree April 5, 2013 at 3:48 am

Agreed! 🙂

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11 Dawn April 14, 2013 at 10:41 pm

What can I say – Looks like a fantastic adventure! Good for you!!!

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12 Karen May 2, 2013 at 7:03 pm

These pictures of you with the tigers are amazing! When you get back you can impress everyone with all the photos of you and your friend, the tiger! Maybe Bush Gardens will hire you as a trainer.

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13 Traci June 2, 2013 at 1:57 am

Maria,

Oh how I envy your experiences. You, of all people that I know, must be having an absolute blast with all the new experiences and well, the strange experiences too! Congrats on living your dream. Keep us all posted!

Love you, girl!

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14 FieryTree June 3, 2013 at 1:37 am

Thanks so much Traci! We are definitely having an amazing time and enjoying our experiences, so glad to have friends to share them with!

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