Bangkok Day 03

Day three was a very, very long one. We had booked a tour to the tiger temple (the one that actually has tigers). But we booked the morning tour that includes breakfast with the monks. The tiger temple is a good 2.5hrs outside of Bangkok in Kanchanaburi so to get there for breakfast we were picked up from the hotel at 5am. Yes, that is stupidly early when you’re supposed to be on holiday BUT if you plan to go see tigers I HIGHLY recommend that you take this early option instead of going for the afternoon session. Here’s why.

If you go in the afternoon the tigers are more restful as they have been playing all morning and are now digesting their food. It’s their sleepy time, which is great if you just want to stand behind tem for some photos. But the morning session is a whole other can of beans.

Thirty minutes before we reach the tiger temple we stop at a service station to pick up some drink and snacks to give as alms to the monks. Our guide explains to us that the monks have a lot of Thai food but cannot get soft drink and other snacks so on his advice we buy some and also yakult for the monks. We then keep going and pick up our guide about 15 mins away in the city.

Our guide explains to us that she is a little bit “ding dong” and we know it’s going to be an interesting day.

Once we reach our destination we take off our shoes and stand behind tables piled with our gifts to the monks. We ended up with other packets of food too but I wasn’t sure where they came from. As each monk came to us we were to hold the food in two hands and place it in the monk’s bowl. Helpers walked along side the monks helping to empty the bowls into bigger containers so we could give more.

There were a total of 14 visitors and a lot of food but a staff member said that while normally there are 10 or 15 monks, today there were only 3. And since none of us knew this until we got to the last monk, he hit the jackpot and had to receive all of the remaining food and drink. His helpers were busy emptying his bowl as I had to give him about 20 bottles of drink.

The monks are then ferried off in golf buggies as we put our shoes back on and are given our “no provoking the tigers” speech. Basically don’t walk in front of them or make loud noises and try not to run if they come hurtling towards you because they will think you are a big toy to play with.

We take a short walk up to the breakfast and cub feeding area. No, we are not the breakfast. Shoes off again and we go up some stairs and are led to a cub to feed!!!!!!!!! I’m given a bottle of warm milk and a little cub is climbing to try and get it. At first the gorgeous little thing is standing up against my knee getting fed but then someone came and picked him up and placed him in my lap. The cub had soft, big paws and soft cuddly fur. Quite an appetite too. The staff are good with cameras and will take yours to take photos for you. You can tell they have been doing this for a long time and there are some amazing photos on our camera.

After our cub finished feeding we moved around the area taking photos of other cubs and there was also a little leopard cat kitten around. Possibly an ocelot kitten?? Not sure. But he was really cute and would sit in your shoulder or head. The cubs were so playful and one of them found someones bag and kept attacking it and biting it. Hehe.

After playing with the cubs we had breakfast with the monks, staff and volunteers. The monks had blessed the food earlier and now there was a huge spread of Thai food waiting for us. We were also given the first of many, many bottles of water. They keep them icy cold and all around so don’t worry about getting dehydrated.

After breakfast we walk with the cubs down to the play area. The staff are teachig the cubs to walk down but one of them was really lazy and kept just sitting on the ground. In the end one of the staff had to carry him down. Sooooo cute.

Once we were at the play area, which I heard is quite new, we were given another little safety talk because it was time to meet the older “cubs”. I guess guess these were the teens.

The play area has a few water areas, like a tiger pool, and sand areas to run in. We were given what were basically giant cat toys, long bamboo sticks with either an inflated garbage bag, shoe or random toy tied to the end. What next? Stand by the water splashing the toy around and wait for a giant kitty to come play.

This part of the morning was so much fun. They are so much like my cats back home except big enough to eat me. They run and jump and chase each other. Once they grab your toy it’s pretty much theirs. And what happens once playtime is over?

Well most of the tigers are led easily back out of the play area. But this time two of them refused to leave. They ran away from the staff and went into the deep part of the water to keep playing. If they could talk I’m sure they would have been going “five more minutessss!”
We eventually just had to leave one behind because he would just not leave.

We joined the tigers just outside the play area to give them a bath and for a quick feed. Taking care to make sure we always stood behind them we lathered them up with soap and then hosed them down. Each pair had their own playmate to clean. Hubby tried to wash the front paws but kitty didn’t like that.

Once clean we hand fed our tiger some cooked chicken. We held out the chicken and a big wet tongue just licked it out of our hands. The tigers are fed cooked meat by the monks so that they associate the cooked meat with food instead of humans etc.

Next stop, getting ready to walk some bigger tigers down to the canyon (play area for the bigger cats and photo area for the afternoon groups). First a few photographs and then we take turns in pairs to walk next to the tigers as we get more photos taken. Some beautiful shots were taken by a brave staff member walking in front us and the tiger.

Once we reached the canyon we were given more water and put inside a fenced “cage” area in front of a water and rock space. Then about 8 tigers were let loose and led to play. These were the big ones, hence he safety fence. They played just like the smaller ones, except with a little more force. The staff this time had a few toys to play while the rest of us photographed. We watched tigers swimming, jumping into the water from rocks, playing with each other, rubbing and scratching up against the rock wall and all sorts of fun things that cats love to do.

I recommend that you wear clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty. We left with flecks of mud all over us from the tigers jumping around us. Don’t wear red or bright colours either.

That was the last time we had with the tigers, but you can get a stamp to come back for more photos in the afternoon I you like. You can also get the special tiger photo at no extra charge where you can hold a big tiger’s head. We couldn’t do this in the morning because they are to active.

But it wasn’t the end of our day. We decided to go to the elephant camp nearby and ride an elephant and also take a river raft ride. $700 baht for both per person. Hubby was even allowed to sit at the elephant’s neck while our driver was on the ground giving verbal instructions to the elephant and taking photos of us. I suspect he let us do this because he saw us taking out a 20baht tip (which ended up being more because hubby had so much fun).

Our guide came with us on the river raft and brougt with her the village monkey. He was a tiny baby monkey whose mother had apparently died. We are a bit skeptical and his great big eyes just break your heart. But we fed him some banana and he seemed to liked us after we fed him.

There wasn’t a lot to see when we went rafting but it was very peaceful and a nice chance to chat with our guide about the area. She was very patriotic and loved that people from Australia come out to visit her country.

Raft ride over, we head along a road where wild monkeys live. Our guide brought us to a roadside fruit and vege market on the way to buy some monkey food (bananas, grapes and peanuts). Like crazy tourists do, we stand by the road as or guide calls out to the monkeys. They run across the street and out from the trees to us. Young ones, old ones, a pregnant one and a mummy and her baby. They come right up to us and take fruit from our hands. Unlike any monkey I’ve seen before, they scoff a whole bunch of grapes or peanuts and store them in a throat sac then slowly chew it all. Their throats puff up with all the food and they look like frogs.

After the monkeys we stopped for some lunch. I can’t remember where it was or what it was called but I think all the tours stop here. There is a video playing about the tiger temple and clean toilets. The food was realllyyy yummy. We let our tour guide order for us which I think was a good decision.

We had fried roti that was rolled up into little cigar rolls, fried garlic chicken, vege stir fry and I think a larb, maybe pork. Pretty good for tour food and it was included in the tour price.

After lunch we took a quick stop at the River Kwai railway bridge but we were so tired and hot by then we didn’t bother with the museum. Dorene did stop to take a photo and feed a little leopard though.

We slept on the two and a half hour bus ride back to town and also watched some DVDs on the bus tv screen. The subtitles for the corpse bride were actually for some surf movie and that entertained us. The second movie was “The Cave”, my advice is not to ever watch that movie.

We reached our hotel by about 5pm and decided to take advantage of our hotel’s pool and the executive lounge happy hour. Free drinks and canapĂ© between 6 and 8!!

The canapes are always different and you may find yourself fighting for the good ones. But there is free beer, wine, juice, soft drink and spirits. You make your own cocktail and mixed drinks and they even give you lime and cherries to garnish.

After filling up on canapes we went downstairs to get some massages where I embarrassed myself when I fell asleep and started snoring. A foot reflexology massage is GREAT after a long day. Even better after a day of shopping.

Feeling relaxed we made the decision to go on our late night Thai maccas run. Maybe it was a bad idea but how do you say no to a double filet o’fish? And hubby couldn’t pass up a double big mac!

So that was how we ended day three, with relaxed legs and a full belly. We had our four day food your ahead of us, so there would be many more opportunities to eat well an eat lots!

2 Responses to “Bangkok Day 03”

  • Alice:

    Everything Looks and Sound Amazing!

    Im so going to try that the next time i ever go to Bangkok. :) Can’t wait to hear all your stories in person!

  • Froggy:

    *wishing I could upload pics on the website too*

    Got a picture of the kitten sitting on your shoulder and pushing your head away … v.v. cute

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