Tiger Temple – Caution: This isn’t awesome

26 Sep

When we first started planning our trip to Thailand, I heard about tigers that have been rescued and trained by monks that you can go visit. Pet a tiger? That sounds amazing.

The boyfriend did some research and read some websites where people commented that it seemed the tigers were drugged. This sounded like a bummer and made us weary of going. Trained by monks is different than drugged up. But in Saigon, we met a couple from NYC who said it was the best thing they did in Thailand and my spirits were raised again about the prospect of petting tigers.

On our way to Southern Thailand, we missed the connecting bus to Krabi, so we had a night/day in Bangkok to spend….so off we went to the Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi. It was 600 Baht to get in – which is about $18.

I am struggling to write this blog because of the excitement I had for it but let me say this before the pictures:

If you visit Thailand, DON’T GO TO THE TIGER TEMPLE! It is tempting, I know. The allure of tame tigers is hard to resist. I fell for it. But I hope anyone that reads this, doesn’t.

So, yes, here are pictures of us petting tigers:

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But, seriously? Thousands if tourists pet and pose with these tigers and they just sleep through it all? That’s what we were told – they were “napping.” I am sorry, but once there, I remembered that oh yeah, tigers are hunters! I am pretty sure, “napping” or not, they would be a little more alert. Plus, notice the huge chains around their neck.

Even more so the workers did not treat these animals very well. We saw one worker spraying a tiger down with a water bottle as a joke. The tiger barely responded. In another section, we saw a tiger sleeping in his “sanctuary,” and the worker poked him with a broom to lock him in another cage. And rescue sanctuary?

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I think not.

I did see some tame deer though. All around the “sanctuary” were cattle, hogs, and deer.

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Overall, a really depressing experience. Did I mention we didn’t see a single monk? I felt guilty that we had paid money to continue supporting this. I honestly think the tigers would be better off in a zoo. Please don’t let the pictures fool you – this is NOT something I would ever do again or recommend to anyone. Total stupid tourist trap (for dumb-dumbs like me).

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