Floating Market / Tiger Temple Kanchanaburi - Hear Me Roar
Bangkok Travel Blog› entry 2 of 10 › view all entries
December 25th, 2007 – by: Traveller_Gin
Wandered around a bit more and then saw that there was this guy that was hawking his pet snakes - which were quite large - so that you could get your photo taken with it. This seemed like a good idea at the time, and I thought that I probably wouldn't have the same opportunity again.
After more browsing at the market stalls by the canals, we set off to the Bridge Over River Kwai. This was probably another 35 minutes away from the floating markets. The historical significance of the bridge is obviously quite unique and walking around on the bridge (which I have to assume is a replica seeing as I figure it was destroyed) was interesting. They also run an old train along it which you can ride on for a nominal fee.
So finally we were off to the Tiger Temple. Upon arriving there we were quickly ushered through the gates after signing our release form in case we came out with a few limbs less than what we started with. It was almost 3pm by the time we arrived there and the tigers are put away sometime before 4pm. Walking through the compound which was like an open ground there were random deer, boars, and some other animals that looked like a cross between a goat and a deer.
I'd read a few reviews of this place on the TravBuddy forums and also on a few other travel websites. Some were very positive about the experience to be able to walk with the tigers, have your photo taken with them etc, whilst others were completely negative and commented on how the tigers must have been drugged etc. As some have pointed out, I guess you can only make your mind up if you have gone there to see it for yourself. Just as an aside, none of the reviews that I'd read mentioned the absolute STENCH that lasted for a good 10 minute walk to the middle of the compound. I later found out that the smell was due to the call of nature of the many wild boars wandering around coupled with the extreme heat.
So, back to the tigers - we continued to walk to what was like a canyon where the tigers were kept for the tourists viewing. We were instructed that if you wanted to have your photo individually taken with the tigers you would pay a certain fee and would be escorted by one of the workers. You could give your camera to the workers at the temple and they would take your photos for you. So, we decided on this option and I have to tell you that when they say you will be escorted, be prepared to be literally dragged around to each area where the tigers are and instructed where to sit, stand, and to make no noises etc. I understand that this is done for everyone's safety and to minimise any disruption to the tigers, I just was a little surprised at the military style everything was carried out in.
After we had all our photos with the tigers taken, we walked a little bit more around and looked a two sun bears which were kept in separate enclosures, and on the way back, we saw two tiger cubs which were being looked after two monks and a couple of volunteers. We were able to play and have our photos taken with the cubs and they were very very cute (and active!) This was good value and got some good pictures from here and the opportunity to interact with the cubs.
And then, it was time for us to start heading off on our way back to the city. We had to walk past yet again, that foul smell emanating from the front of the compound - more boar smells - I know I'll never forget that smell ever again!!! Luckily, the three hour drive back to the city was someone else's duty to ponder whilst I napped in the back of the mini van tired after my day with the big cats.....
Dinner tonight was at the Face Bar - there are a few other namesake bars in other Asian cities such as Shanghai and Beijing. The food here was OK, nothing spectacular, but the space is nicely designed and decorated in traditional and modern accents. There was a nice bar with pool tables to relax by whilst waiting for your table.
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