Tiger Temple was one of my favorite (and scariest) activities in Bangkok. I love animals, but this close encounter made me realized how dangerous this activity really was. Before our visit, they told us a few safety rules:
- Do not wear red/orange color clothes
- Loud noises are not allowed
- No sudden movements or running
Usually, the tour starts very early in the morning. Our guide picked us up at the hotel around 5:30AM and drove us to Tiger Temple, located around two and a half hours away from Bangkok. Here’s my experience:
1. Once you arrive to Tiger Temple, seven monks will line-up to receive their daily breakfast
Monks are very respected men in the Buddhist religion. In Thailand, monks receive everything they need from locals, such as medical attention, food, transportation etc. They are only allowed to receive one meal a day. In Tiger Temple, they receive their breakfast around nine in the morning and then they spend the rest of the day praying, educating people and taking care of the Tigers.
Shown below, you can see a monk with a big scar on his face. Three months before my visit, this monk was attacked by one of the tigers. The tiger was 11-months old when the accident happened. As we were told (secretly) by our tour guide, the monks were transporting the tigers from one place to another on a leash (Yes, like a dog!). Unfortunately, the monk tripped and scared the tiger. He was attacked for several minutes leaving him severely injured and hospitalized for a month…
2. Bottle feeding baby tigers is a MUST-DO!
First off, the tigers in Tiger Temple are NOT sedated, medicated or drugged. These tigers were very attentive, had a lot of energy to roam around and play during my entire visit.
Every morning, all the baby tigers 6-months and younger are bottle fed by the visitors or the temple’s staff.
3. Meet “Milo”, a 1-month old baby tiger
Milo was the youngest tiger in the entire Temple.
Warning: Baby Tigers bite… and it can hurt a lot.
4. “Ok everyone, It’s time to walk the tigers to their playpen!”
“Wait WHAT? are we supposed to walk them on a leash like a dog?” Well, this was an interesting experience. It’s like you are walking a dog… but 10X more dangerous.
5. Playing with unleashed tigers was one of the scariest moments I’ve ever experienced in my entire life…
Yes, the staff gathered everyone around in a playpen and let the tigers free to play. Was it dangerous? Extremely dangerous… The tigers would get very excited and run very fast around the playpen, jump and get really close to the humans. A lot of us were scared to death haha
PS: A women cried during this activity…
Tiger Temple is definitely not for everyone… Some were extremely scared and others were very relaxed. If I had to pick a number from one to ten to describe how scared I was, I would say six. The constant thought that these wild animals might attack you (like they did to the monk) is very overwhelming.