Bangkok - on the waterfront
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Kanchanaburi Thailand - Tiger Temple and Bridge on the River Kwai

 

The Tiger Temple

Kanchanaburi, Thailand

 

Tiger park 6
 

 

When we first arrived we observed the monks playing with "their" tiger.  Many of the staff and volunteers work with each and every tiger in the park, but each tiger has one primary monk who cares for them. 

 

 

Tiger park 4

 

Look at the size of her paw!

 

 

Tiger park 5

 

The temple is a fully functioning Buddhist temple called, “Wat Pha Luang Ta Bua”; but is known as the “Tiger Temple”.

 

 

Tiger park 8

 

Next we got to pet and interact with the tigers.  This was an ABSOLUTELY AMAZING experience. 

 

D and 2a
 

 

Tigers are the biggest cats in the world.  There are six different kinds or subspecies of tiger alive today and all are considered endangered species.

 

  Tiger temple c 60

 

Many people have asked us if the tiger's teeth were removed… take a look at the photos below to get the answer.

 

 

Tiger temple c 52

 

  Me and the tiger

 

  

Visitors are allowed to participate in several programs including playing with and feeding the baby tigers.  We were very lucky to purchase tickets to feed the cubs.  We thought we would just get to hold one for a few minutes to feed them, but we actually got to play in the cage with them. 

 

Tiger park 25

 

There were three babies, two staff, and only six of us.  We were in there for about 45 minutes.

 

Tiger temple c 190

 

 

I fell completely in love as soon as I touched the cub.  Look at my face - I am talking away to him.  I think I was telling him how beautiful and special he was  :  )

 

 

Tiger park 17
 

 

He loved to be scratched under his chin.  Their fur was softer than the adult tigers, but still not soft like a domestic cat - more wiry.

 

  Tiger park 18

 

The little one was very feisty.  He hissed/baby-growled at D several times. 

 

D

Tiger park 20

 

 

Tiger park 28

 

This is the middle sized one.  Look how he is holding my hand.  Precious!

 

 

Tiger park 27

 

After their feeding they were full of energy.  They were bored with us humans and wanted to play with each other...

 

 

Play

 

 

 and love each other...

 

 

Tiger park 24

 

Tiger park 19

 

Tiger stripes are like human fingerprints; no two tigers have the same pattern.  The cubs have two round spots on the back of their ears.  Scientists think this may be a protective feature so that other animals will be fooled into thinking it's two big eyes looking at them.

 

Tiger park 3

 

 Such gorgeous animals.

 

  Tiger cub

 

 

We also walked the larger tigers with the monks.  They told us to keep our hands on their back with firm pressure.  If it is too light they think it is a bug and may try to swat you away.

 

 

Tiger temple 105

 

Tiger temple 113
 

 

This is one of the biggest tigers in the park.  The temple received its first tiger cub in 1999 and they are now up to about 124 tigers and various other animals.  Not all of them are able to interact with humans.

 

  Tiger temple 129

 

 

In Thailand, Buddhist temples frequently receive abandoned animals from the surrounding neighbors because Buddhist doctrine compels the monks to care for the animals.  Once the monastery took in the first tiger cub, they began to receive more tigers from other parts of the country and shortly thereafter became the "Tiger Temple" and grew to be the primary tiger care center in Thailand. 

 

 

Tiger park 14

 

 Tiger park 11

 

 

Before we arrived I told D I will take photos of him, but I do not want to go near the tigers.  Shortly after being in the park, I wanted to lie on top of them!  I never got to lie on top of one, but I did lie next to them - actually in between two tigers.

 

 

Tiger park 15

 

  Tiger park 16

 

There is a lot of controversy about the temple… Is it natural?… Is it safe?…. Do they drug the animals?  We walked away with a very positive opinion of the park.   Many of the animals are rescued and would be dead if they did not live there.  As to drugging them… anyone that works with the tigers knows that this is ridiculous.  Far too difficult and would make the animals more dangerous, rather than less dangerous.  Yes they lay around, but this is what tigers do when it is very hot and they are full.

 

Tiger temple 72 

 

I viewed it like a zoo, except that we got to touch them.  Now the question as to if it is safe?  Well..... this I am not 100% sure of this  :  )  We need to always remember, they are wild animals.  But if you have the chance to visit the temple I would tell you ABSOLUTELY!

 

 

 

We also visited the well-known Bridge on the River Kwai.

 

 Kanchanaburi 3

 

During WW II, the Japanese constructed a railway from Thailand to Burma.  

 

Kanchanaburi 2

 

Unfortunately, the construction was done using POWs and Asian slave laborers under unfavorable conditions.  The work started in October 1942 and was completed in a year, but at the loss of thousands of lives.  

 

Kanchanaburi 9

 

Kanchanaburi 8

 

Allied Forces bombed the bridge in 1944 and three sections were destroyed.  What we see today is part original and part rebuilt.

 

Kanchanaburi 4

 

Kanchanaburi 6

 

The track is still used today.

 

 

Kanchanaburi 5

 

There is a well-kept War Cemetery nearby where over 7,000 POWs, who sacrificed their lives in the railway construction, are buried.  Another 2,000 are laid to rest at the Chungkai Cemetery. 

 

Kanchanaburi 7

 

To get to Kanchanaburi we took a local train.  It took three hours and cost $3 each.  A deal and great fun.  We met a very nice couple from California and chatted with them the entire trip.  There was also a couple from Poland who joined in.  

 

 

Kanchanaburi 11

 

 

Kanchanaburi 13

 

The taxis in Kanchanaburi and many parts of rural Thailand are open backed trucks.  Safety first!  And I worry about airplanes.  :  )

 

 

Kanchanaburi 14

 

Our hotel/resort, The Oriental Kwai was awesome!  Each room was a little cottage and ours looked out onto the River Kwai.  The grounds were lush and tropical.  They even had a handful of goats.

Resort 2

 

We had such a great time on this excursion.  To see more on our time spent in Bangkok, click here.

 

 

Comments

Pierrette

These pictures with the tigers are amazing !!! it must have been such a fabulous experience !!! Bye, P.

Earl

Fantastic…fantastic…fantastic! Fabulous photos of the tigers and you. I want one on my lap, too. I have always wanted a snow leopard for a house cat. I know it's not practical or even good for the snow leopard . . . but, I still would like one. Thank you so very much for sharing your life with me. I really enjoy your photos and comments. Again, thank you.

Michelle - Very Hungry Explorer

I loved the River Kwai - I remember I was standing on the bridge when a train went past and had to quickly step to the side... then an hour later when I was going across on the train, there were lots of people doing the same thing! It was an amazing experience.

I'm gutted that I missed the Tiger Temple though - it looks unbelievable!

Carol aka Traveller

fabulous photos of the tigers. It's quite an experience isn't it?

Gerda Pretorius

WOW! Absolutely amazing! And your photographs are stunning.

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