So on Monday, I was set to go to the Grand Palace and take some pictures, I planned my route, had my proper clothes on for the Palace and as I set off to get there I notice something was amiss. There’s police barricades and officers closing the roads to vehicles going to and around the Grand Palace. I end up getting stopped by a tuk-tuk driver trying to sell me the (now) 20 baht tour (must be inflation, it was 10 baht 5 years ago). I ask him what’s going on at the Grand Palace and he told me it was closed to the public for a funeral. Well, darn. I decided to change my clothes to something lighter and head around the perimeter to take pictures anyways. At least I don’t have to wear such stuffy clothes in this heat although it didn’t fully matter anyways, I was drenched in sweat in a matter of minutes after I had changed, it was 34 degrees and sunny that morning.
Tuesday, I booked a day trip out to Kanchanaburi, west of Bangkok. The tour contained more than I wanted, all I really wanted to do was go to the Tiger Temple to get some pictures with sleepy tigers, but it contained a stop at the Bridge Over the River Kwai, an elephant ride, a bamboo raft ride in crocodile infested waters, a stop at waterfall and of course, last but not least, the Tiger Temple.
I’ll just skip over to the best part, the Tiger Temple. I’m not 100% sure what the truth is about the Tiger Temple, there’s claims of the monks mistreating the animals that they sought to protect and that they drug them prior to having tourist come and take pictures of them. That’s why they’re on such a tight schedule that they have to work everything through in about an hour and a half. Then there’s a pamphlet they hand out about the temple saying that they don’t drug them, they work off of tigers instinctual body clock, around 3-4 PM they are docile and since they’ve been raised around humans, they don’t mind humans being around them. I don’t exactly know what the deal is really, so I’m pleading the 5th.
The fun part is when the tigers are ‘ready’ (in whatever sense, drugged or natural docility). You line up for your turn and one of the volunteers at the temple holds you by the hand and takes you to different tigers in different poses for you to pose next to them while getting your photo taken. My favourite was two tigers spooning on a rock, I was getting my hand in there for a picture when the little spoon flipped over and gave me the full monty. The volunteer was like, ‘don’t worry, put your hand on the tiger’…yeah, but where, on his junk?
Overall, the tour felt incredibly rushed, we stopped at each place for about 10-30 minutes with 1 hour allocated to the Tiger Temple, there was a handful of driving so it mostly seemed like we did that more than actually enjoy what we were doing. A slower paced tour without cramming everything in it would have been nicer. I didn’t even realize we were stopping at the bridge or doing a bamboo raft/elephant ride. Things I could have done without because of how abbreviated they were and I know that you can get better elephant rides and bamboo raft rides elsewhere.
Anyways, I’ll probably post my next post when I’m in Chiang Mai for Song Kran!
See ya next time,