Tiger Temple

Friday night after class we decide over some beers to take a trip to the tiger temple up north. Lonely Planet said, "if this has not already been shut down, we recommend that you do not go" due to the fact that petting tigers is completely dangerous.

Saturday morning five of us wake up at 8 am and get on a bus heading north. It only takes three hours, and then we are in Kanchanabari, evaluating where best to stay. We decide on the Jolly Frog, it is riverside, and we negotiate a deal. The lawn facing the river is surrounded by guest houses, a restaurant, and is littered with hammocks and lounging travellers.

An hour later we are at the temple, petting 5 month old tigers that would eat your dog if left unsupervised. A little disappointed, we asked if there are any more tigers to pet. "Yes, in tiger canyon" as the densely-tattooed monk points down a path. When we get there we see about 25 massive full grow tigers laying in this canyon. There is no fence, just a rope seperating us. Many Thai peope are milling about amongst them, keeping the peace. A Thai woman grabs my camera and another my hand and they lead me one by one to each tiger so I can pose for a picture. Each time they take us around behind the tiger and tell us to pet them and all I can think of, is a suprised tiger turning around and just ripping my face off. Luckily they didn't.

Overall, it was incredible. They are powerful animals, but they were quite sedated. The monks said it was for a few reasons; they are nocturnal, they are overfed chicken, and they have a rigorous work out every morning. So when you arrive to pet them midday, they are napping and there's no two ways about it.

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