Tuesday, January 19, 2010


A peaceful morning on the river Kwai with french toast and coffee. Then off to the bus station to catch a bus to the Tiger Temple. The monks who live at this temple care for the land and the animals which, obviously, includes tigers. The tigers are the big draw because visitors to the temple can get up close and personal with the big cats and are even allowed to pet them. There's some controversy and rumors surrounding the Tiger Temple; some people believe that the tigers are so docile because they are drugged or even mistreated. It's a 500 baht admission fee to the temple, so I wanted to do a little extra research before I decided whether to go or not. By coincidence, I met a guy at the internet cafe the other day who had volunteered at the temple for five months and worked directly with the tigers. He allayed all my fears and said that the tigers are somewhat tame (but still wild animals) because they are brought up and conditioned around people all their lives. Also, visiting time with the tigers is in the middle of the afternoon, during the hottest part of the day when they'd normaly be sleeping, and after they've eaten and been exercised. (And who isn't tired and sleepy in that same situation?) I was glad to hear this explanation because I'd really wanted to see the tigers.

The temple is located 45 minutes away from Kanchanaburi and then it drops you off about 2km from the entrance. A Swiss couple, Matthew and Yesica, and a German guy, Peter, and I were all headed to the temple at the same time. Luckily for us, a truck pulled up next to us and offered us rides. Remember what I said about it being the hottest part of the day? Same goes for people, so we were happy for the ride. After we paid our fee and signed the waiver - saying that if we did something stupid to provoke a tiger and ended up getting eaten that the temple wasn't to be held responsible - it was all about the tigers. We got to walk with the tigers down to the canyon and then have our picture taken with a handful of different tigers as we pet them. As you can see, they were very sleepy, but it was still super cool being so close to them and being able to pet them.

There were other animals, too, namely water buffalo, deer, peacocks, ponies, cows, and the most colorful, patchwork-looking roosters I've ever seen. Check out these other pics, particularly to see one of me looking awfully wary of the cow that's getting closer and closer to me while I'm crouching next to her. (If the pics aren't uploaded when you read this, they will be soon.)

A few hours later, we'd had our fill of tigers and sun, so headed back to the main road to catch the bus back in to town. We got lucky again and had another ride offered to us. At the main road, we weren't seeing buses drive by, so someone jokingly decided that we should hitch a ride. What do you know, a driver stopped, we offered him 100 baht to take us to Kanchanaburi, and we climbed in. A half hour later we got to our stop and the driver refused to take the money. Pretty nice, huh? At this point it was about 4:30pm and none of us had eaten since breakfast, so four very hungry people headed towards food. I had a very tasty, very cheap, very spicy minced pork dish that probably would have gone great with beer, but I was so tired after the day that I figured it would knock me right out. About the time we finished eating, the sun was about to set, so we headed to the garden on the river to enjoy the day's last rays. A peaceful ending to a day that started out just as peacefully. Except it's not quite over yet. After a shower and some freshening up (can anyone say "get rid of the tiger smell?" lol), I'm gonna meet these same folks out at a reggae bar and enjoy every last second of my last night in Kanchanaburi. I've really liked it here, but if I don't leave now, I may never see any other part of Thailand before my visa expires!


  1. Wow! I personally think these past few days have been some of the coolest thus far! The pics have been awesome.

  2. Wow, you touched a tiger. The rest of the day sounds cool, too. But you touched a tiger! That may have been the highlight of the trip for me. Although I would have taken a gazillion pictures of the very cool waterfalls, too. I hope the reggae bar is fun! Love ya!

  3. 2km is only a mile and a quarter...
    you could walk that easily :-)

    I'm with Toadmama on this - you touched a tiger!! Wow!


  4. By the way, spending the $15 admission fee for the temple, in my mind, was well worth the money!

  5. You're seeing and participating in some incredible sights and activities, but I have to say I am going to have to try making pineapple pancakes! I'm a simple person obviously...
    Glad you're wearing and liking the necklace, and Kathy, thank you for the compliment as well.

  6. WOW! how cool is that!
    you touched a tiger! I'm with Amy on the past
    few days.

  7. love the picures shannon! the animals are so beautiful.

    so is there anything that you brought with you frm home (i'm mostly speaking of your 3 pieces of clothing) that you are totally sick of yet?

    and thank you, shannon's dad, for the handy conversions! xoL

  8. The last few days really have been great - it's been a big part of why I've liked Thailand in general, and Kanchanaburi specifically.

    Dad - $15 isn't a lot. . .just something to consider when it's half of your daily budget!

    Cyndy - The food is one of the most important (to me) parts of the experience! If that makes me a simple person, too, then so be it. :-)

    Laura - You gave me an idea for a future post. Stay tuned!

  9. The Tiger Temple was so worth it -- my pictures from there on facebook drew shock, admiration, accusation and disbelief all in ample measure. As and when you make it to Chiang Mai, check out the Reggae Bar there, too. It's an interesting experience. Not my fave, but an experience. There's also this place (ask Eva) in Chiang Mai where the local Thai 'intellectuals', exiled Burmese activists and the odd expat meet up for a drink...when I was there they had this crooner who was singing Leonard Cohen in Thai...loved the joint. And, off Chiang Mai's night market this resto-bar has old Brit geezers playing Clapton, the Stones, Beatles, Hendrix and they even did the blues classic 'Crossroads', pretty darn well...they faltered at Dylan...but then you'd have to be an activist who sounds like a genius chipmunk to be able to do Dylan :-)