A Travellerspoint blog

Thailand

Spending the day with Tigers

sunny

A couple weeks ago when we were still in India we saw the most amazing picture of a women sitting with a full grown tiger. At first we thought the picture must have been digitally altered, because everyone in the internet cafe was staring in shock at what looked impossible. Apparently not. Yesterday we went to that tiger temple in a small village outside Bankok. Years ago some villagers found an abandoned baby tiger and brought it to the monks to raise. Over the years the monastary has become an animal refuge and they now have over twenty tigers. They allow visitors to visit the temple for two hours in the afternoon when the tigers are napping. We had some pictures taken with the cats and then we just spent some time watching the three month old babies napping. Luckily for us, one of the staff at the temple approached us and invited us to come back the following day to experience some one on one interaction with the cats while they were awake. Off the hundreds of people that came through that day they only selected five people to come back the next morning. It was an offer we couldn't refuse so we rented a scooter and woke up at 6:00am the next morning for the long drive. When we arrived we saw saw three week old cubs and spent over half an hour playing with some older cubs in their cage. It was amazing!

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Afterwards,we walked the nine month old tigers from their enclosures to the canyon where they let them loose to play. If you think walking a big dog is challenging, try walking a predator like this. There are so many things to think about. You have to keep your legs behind the tigers shoulder and you can't let the tiger get too close to somone's back. If they do get too close they jump on that persons back and instictivey go for the neck. It happend at least once while we were walking down, but the guy didn't get hurt. It's a crazy feeling to walk so close to such a huge predator, knowing full well that it could kill you.

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Once we were down in the canyon, all the tigers were let off their leashes. They played at full force for over an hour while we stoof only feet away. Once awhile they would run full speed towards us only to stop inches away. A couple of times they tried to bolt out of the canyon, but the tiger handlers were really quick and caught them. It was quite an adrenalin rush to watch.

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After the tigers had spent themselves pouncing on eachother and destroying basketballs and soccer balls we walked them over to their enclosure and gave them a bath. In the midst of getting soaked and trying to stay away from the sharp end of the tiger we forgot to take pictures.

This is my favorite tiger. He was really gentle and playful.
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This is Nathaniel's favorite picture. He has a tiger by the tail!!!
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Later that afternoon we went to cool off in some waterfalls.

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This was the second pool of seven pools that poured into eachother.
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The river was full of fish and then nibbled on us whenever we stood still. It was a little weird.
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Ahh, some much anticipated street food at the end of a long, but great day.
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P.S. Loretta, if you read this message, please send me your address. I have lots of postcards for you. - love Joce

Posted by Seaurchins 17:53 Archived in Thailand Comments (1)

Finally some pictures

sunny

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Jocelyn: So we are back in Bangkok and we are brown as nuts. Although we loved Koh Tao ( our little slice of Thai paradise), we realized that there is still so much in this country that we haven't yet explored. We have certainly had our fill of snorkling, tanning, hiking, and eating delicious food. . Speaking of food - I could almost spend an entire day snacking away on barbeque corn, coconut curries, skewered seafood, fresh sqeezed orange juice, ice cream, pad thai, fried noodles, and fresh gauva and pineapple. Everything we eat looks like a piece of art, even if we buy it from a road side vendor. The fruit is cut into intricate swirls and always deliciously cold. I am so used to eating warm, mushy sketchy food that I have had to rub vigorously with my clothing before I eat it.
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Nathaniel has been devoring meat and often orders two meals everytime he sits down to eat. I must admit that I have been enjoying eating meat again as well, as I had decided to be vegetarian while we were in India. Riding around the island on our scooter was fun, although it certainly wasn't cut out for what we put it throught. At least we didn't crash the thing. We saw numerous tourists with bandages around their legs, feet and arms. I heard that in Thiland road rash from a scooter crash is called a Thai Tattoo.

This is the place we called home for about a week.
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It was lush, beauitful and at night the geckos serenaded us with their barking and chirping. Here is a picture of one of the geckos Nathaniel caught one night while we were having dinner.
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Nate: While we were on Koh Tao we had planned on doing some Scuba diving, as it is supposed to be really good. While we were there the visibility wasn't great and after a week of pretty decent snorkeling I decided to forgo the diving and took a Free-Diving course instead (free-diving is like diving except without tanks, you hold your breath!). I have been snorkeling for years and have been pushing my limits, sometimes with bad techniques and nieve ideas. It was really great, I learned alot about proper breath holding and a lot of exersices that should make a big difference for me in the future. On the last day I went to 26 meters without fins! Thats about 78 feet. I'm still a far cry from the world record at the moment of 214 meters, which I think is insanity!!!
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Jocelyn: I am proud to announce that I have officially swam with sharks, black tipped reef sharks to be exact. Nathaniel estimates that they were about about 7 feet long, which I think is big enough for me. I was a little nervous when we first spotted them, as we were only about 5 meters above them, but my nervousness quickly turned to curiosity and I excitedly followed one of the sharks for about five minutes. The whole atmosphere was more freaky than the actual shark. It looked like a coral graveyard and everything was an errie green color.
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One night Nathaniel and I dressed up like pirates for a local party, but because we were so tired from snorkling all day we fell asleep before the party even started... parties don't get going till around 2:00am in the morning and we only lasted till 11:00.
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The night scene on Koh Tao was something else. Every night the beach became a resturant complete with torches, cushions, palm trees and fire dancers. In town we were baraged by very colorful men dressed as women inviting us to their cabaret show.
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This beautiful little parrot and I became inseperable for a couple of days. He would fly onto my shoulder from whatever tree he was sitting in and I would share my fruit with him. He was a great walking companion on the beaches in the evening.
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I love these colorful boats moored around the bay.
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These are Thai fishing boats. I love the slanted cabins on them.
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What friendly fish they have in thier ponds
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Posted by Seaurchins 08:18 Archived in Thailand Comments (2)

Thailand

Ah some civilization...

sunny

Before we left Tanzania we had purchased an open ticket from which we were told we could use when we were ready to fly from India to Bankok. When we went to the airlines to pick a day to fly they told us they were booked for a month solid and that it would be at least a week before they could put us on a waiting list. Needless to say, we scrapped the ticket, applied for a refund and bought a new ticket online. We made this decision at 4:30 and we were on a plane bound for Bankok by 11:30 that night. Talk about flying by the seat of our pants. While aboard the plane I was telling Nathaniel how glad I was that I had survived India without getting food poisoning. Ironically, I spent the majority of the next day throwing up in our Thai hotel. Somewhere between between the airport in India and checking into our hotel I injested something that my "tank-like" stomach despised. Truthly, I have been incredibly healthy throughout our trip while Nathaniel has been sick on a frequent basis. I guess the tables have turned.

Thailand, is a breath of fresh air. Nathaniel keeps telling me how civilized it is. Th airport itself is an architectual wonder. After being here for one day we have realized how de-sensitized we became in India. On the bus from the airport we almost felt like we were at home as we gazed longingly around at the organized highways, and the trees... and then we looked out the left window and noticed a baby elephant foraging in a marsh. So Cool !!!!

Anyways, we are headed to the southern part of Thailand in the next day or so. We have heard that it is possible to swim with whale sharks there. We will dowload some cool pictures when we have some.
-Jocelyn Lord

Posted by Seaurchins 02:46 Archived in Thailand Comments (1)

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