It sickens me to learn about how these animals were/are treated.
We do not know if this type of abuse was going on back in 2010 when we visited, but had we known, we would not have participated.
I do not support this type of behavior and I strongly encourage all of you who are considering this tour, to reconsider.
Our second day in Bangkok was one of those days you just can’t believe you did once it is all over.
Tour with Tong reserved a spot for us in the VIP morning program at the Wat Pa Luangta Bua Yannasampanno (Tiger Temple), which was truly a once in a lifetime experience.
On our way we stopped to see The Bridge on the River Kwai:
The Bridge on the River Kwai is a 1957 British World War II film by David Lean based on the novel The Bridge over the River Kwai by French writer Pierre Boulle.
We arrived at the temple about the same time the Monks were returning from their morning alms round.
Most Monks only eat once a day, before noon, and receive their food only from offerings.
We took off our shoes and offered our food to the Monks as they walked by, placing it in their alms bowl.
We offered milk and something that resembled ramen noodles and food that was donated by local families.
After being blessed by the Monks, the 10 of us in the VIP group went to the temple where the tiger cubs were.
We got to bottle feed and play with them!
The cubs were playful and walked all over us. Their personalities were hilarious!
They were just like little kittens, only bigger.
We ate with the Monks and sat with them during prayers.
Most of the Monks saved their milk to drink later in the day.
All of the tigers at the Tiger Temple were rescued as cubs and raised by the Monks and the sanctuary staff.
The cubs needed to be taken to another area of the sanctuary and we got to walk them there.
John’s cub was very well-behaved.
The cub I walked had a mind of his own.
If you know us you are now thinking: Well, that fits!
Next thing you know we are in a play area with 8 tigers… who aren’t tied up.
They gave us long poles with bags attached to the end and we played with the tigers like they were house cats.
Well, John did. I stood to the side and took pictures.
The workers kept saying, “there isn’t anything to worry about, just be bigger than the tiger.”
Bigger than the tiger? I am only 5’03”!
Don’t get me wrong, I never felt unsafe with the tigers. The staff and volunteers made sure we were never in danger.
But like they repeated many times… they are Tigers.
After playtime we got to wash one of them.
Once they were nice and clean we fed them chicken that had been cooked and deboned.
They were so gentle.
And everyone likes a good belly-rub after a big meal.
We had so much hands-on time with them.
For the finale, the staff put the 10 of us inside a fenced-in area and turned the tigers loose to run freely around us.
The fence was only about 4 feet tall.
The tigers ran, played, swam…
We were so close to them that we could feel their energy.
The VIP tour at the Tiger Temple costs a little bit more than the regular admission, but it is worth every penny.
No doubt, a morning we will never forget.