I'm a beginning writer with a Brisbane Bucket-list and a desire to see it all and report back.
Published September 25th 2014
Where the humans are in cages and the tigers set free
If you are in Bangkok and miss out on seeing the tigers in action at the nearby Tiger Temple, then turn your plane around, and head on back, because you missed out on one truly spectacular experience.
The zoo itself looks slightly underwhelming, but do not for one second let appearances deceive you, because this place has some true gems hidden that you won't possibly experience anywhere else. The first of these gems is the truly interactive nature of the park. We wandered through bovines herds and watched warthogs dart between their legs, and ours. Wild deer also skipped along the dirt paths, as if they too had paid the admission price. One furry individual allowed me to pat his head and accompanied me on my walk over to the bear enclosure where papa bear sat proudly upon his perch, watching his baby bears play fight on the floor below.
The other animals of the Temple
Apparently there were other animals beyond the chubby bears and the friendly deer, but we had come to look at the tigers and we set off in search of some of these majestic creatures. Turns out they are not hard to find… being a Tiger Temple and all.
The first tigers we spotted were playing in their large enclosure but the nearby cubs being hand fed by orange clothed monks drew our attention. The little creatures contently clambered all their handlers' bodies, drawing crowds of onlookers who together made a lovely chorus of oohs and ahhs. Once our hearts had experienced cuteness overload we continued our journey through the park for the day's grand finale.
Next we were given the opportunity to get up close with these magnificent creatures that lay docile in the sun. For a small fee you were led by the hand over to your very own tiger, to pet and pose with. However they did not stay docile and chilled for long. Soon the zookeepers cleared everyone from the park, aside from those of us who paid a small, but well worth it fee. This small fee bought us a spot at one of the most mind-blowing experiences of my life to date. After everyone else was gone, we were put inside a cage… a shoulder high cage with no roof on it. In this cage we were given very clear instructions, do not bend low and if you drop something on the ground… leave it there. Apparently if you are too low to the ground the tigers attack. After this harrowing warning, the majestic beasts were let free to roam the park...
Just meters from our human cage we watched them play, fight, jump, swim and scramble up rocks. These massive beasts were so loving of their keepers, many of whom had come from all over the world (we spoke in depth to an Australian girl) to help care for these fabulous animals. It was truly amazing to watch animals in a zoo environment, without the restrictions of a normal enclosure. They were given absolute freedom to cuddle their carers, tackle their mates or as one creature decided, climb straight up a rocky wall with little understanding of how to get back down again.
Humans in a cage - Tigers run free
After this breathtaking display of physical power and strength we were again given another unique opportunity; to walk with the tigers on our way out of the park. The friendly monks gave each visitor a rope and we were able to lead (or be led is perhaps more accurate) one of the amazing striped creatures.
Walking the tigers with a Monk
The Tiger Temple has made all other zoos seem very average, because in the end, watching an animal enjoy its freedom is really the only way to do it. Next up, I'm going on a safari!