After Koh Tao we headed back to Bangkok because all roads in Thailand lead there. Instead of pulling another amazing race and heading straight to Khon Kaen, we decided to stay a day and take the three part tour. Matt was a little unsure but I was pretty insistent and would have been disappointed if we hadn't gone. It was a pricey tour though (about $30/person) but definitely worth it just to see the tigers!
We woke up at the crack of dawn since we were supposed to be picked up at 7 am. It was raining so I was a little bit worried but there was no chance for us to reschedule so we just went ahead with the tour. It took longer than we planned to get to the floating market since there was a bit accident on the highway. A beer truck was on it's side- what a waste!
We made it to the floating market and had the option of paying for a boat ride or just browsing around on foot. We chose to go on foot for a couple of reasons: 1. We are cheap. 2. It was raining and I didn't feel like sitting in some boat getting soaked. 3. In the boat you cannot avoid the people trying to sell you things or control where you go. We managed to stay dry and avoided the pushy salespeople. I had a scary moment when a French lady came up to me and asked me (in French) if I could speak French. I choked out "un peu" nervously and then she started going off rapid fire! I had to appologize at my ignorance and run away. I really need to learn another language!
We stopped for lunch (included on the tour) and then continued on to Kanchanburi where the Bridge over River Kwai is. I haven't seen the movie and I don't really know my history so it was nice going to the museum (even if some parts of it were a little weird and inappropriate- like the label that explained how the bridge was bombed "higgedly piggedly").
Finally we arrived at the Tiger Temple! I was so excited! It's an actual Buddhist temple so the regular dress restrictions apply (no sleeveless tops or shorts) and there were some additional regulations because of the tigers. So no one wearing orange, pink or red was permitted inside.
It was fantastic! I loved getting that close to the tigers but Matt was really nervous. We have so many pictures with them. The way it works is you supply your camera and you are taken around with two staff members (one to take the picture, the other to guide you and tell you where to sit) and they let you pose with numerous adult tigers. They claim that none of the animals are drugged but I guess there is no way of knowing. Hopefully that's true. They are chained up and I do know that tigers generally hunt at night and sleep in the heat of the day so it is possible. Plus these tigers have all been brought up around humans since they were cubs. I think my favorite part was playing with the tiger cubs!
The temple is pretty interesting because it's home to lots of other rescued animals too; not just tigers. We saw numerous kinds of deer, wild boars, cows, turtles and even a camel! I really recommend checking out this place if you're ever in the area! We took so many pictures! Definitely a once in a lifetime experience!