After the Big Buddha and before we went to the second temple Luke and I went to the Tiger Kingdom. I have pretty heavy mixed emotions about this one. Here's the deal: There is "smallest tiger", "small tiger", "medium tiger" and "big tiger". And for each size they have multiple tigers. You pick a size, take a number and wait your turn. Then you go in to the enclosure with a carer and they make you do ridiculous poses and tell you how to pat the tigers. What I am still confused about, is how are they replacing their "smallest tigers" when they turn in to "small tigers". Are they running some sort of breeding program? Are all these tigers inbred or are they just scooped out of the wild?
Another problem I had with this place was how the tigers are kept. Their enclosures are small and big cats are not designed to be caged with concrete floors. Most of the tigers we saw were either pacing back and forth or just sleeping. It was quite sad to see. Considering how much money this place would make a day, its a shame they won't use some of it to nurture their animals.
After wandering around for a while it was our turn to go in to the enclosure. We chose the 'smallest tiger'. We could have done a package deal where you see the smallest tiger and the large tiger, but to be honest I was a bit afraid to be in a cage with a huge tiger. The trainers told us that the babies are accustomed to people at a very young age, making it possible for them to be handled whatever size they grow to be.
The handler that we had kept making us do weird poses with the tiger. But I think all the handlers were making the people do this. He was good at taking photos though. You can hire a photographer to go in with you for extra but the guy we had did it for free. When we patted it we had to make sure me pressed firmly so it didn't tickle the tiger.
This first tiger that we were with did not wake up the whole time we were there. I honestly can't even tell you whether or not they were sedated. Some were awake and doing things, but a lot were also asleep. I don't know, I kind of think that maybe they are just that well adjusted to people and entirely under stimulated that they just sleep because they don't know any better.
This was the second sleeping tiger we were introduced to that day.
It was pretty incredible being able to cuddle a baby tiger. That is the great thing about Thailand, you can pretty much see any animal you could possibly want to see. The only catch is that you have to accept it with a grain of salt, these animals are being exploited for your enjoyment. I am not going to say do not go. Because telling one person not to go will not affect the animal exploitation industry over there. And I also do not think you should feel guilty if you want to go and see a tiger or a monkey or an elephant. There is no real point of going in to a place like this and trying to "save" the animals. The animals do not know any better and probably would not be able to survive anywhere else. I guess the comforting thing about the animal business in Thailand is knowing that at least a few people rely on these endangered animals to provide them with an income. Which gives hope that maybe this will mean that they will protect these animals.
After the Tiger Kingdom we went to the second temple (previous post), then went to the resort and kicked back and relaxed until night time when we decided to go to Patong and see a Ping Pong Show.
We were lucky enough to make it just in time to see the sunset. My favourite sunset of our whole trip.
Whilst walking along the beach we saw someone selling lanterns and decided to let one off. I am so happy we did it that night. I really wanted to do it on our last night but we ended up not having time. It was pretty fun, super cliche, but who cares! You're on a holiday, you're allowed to be as disgustingly cliche as possible.
Our lantern was the only on in the sky and there were a lot of people on the beach watching it. And they kept watching it when it lit on fire and fell in to the ocean. I hope that doesn't mean something bad.
Ping Pong shows are pretty overrated. They may have been pretty extreme a few years ago. But I don't know about you but I am feeling pretty desensitised to the world these days. You hear the stories like "Oh man it's so crazy she makes you hold balloons and then shoots darts at them OUT OF HER VAGINA!", "Seriously it's so crazy she pulls everything out of there, turtles, fish, mice you name it, its up there!", "it's so disgusting you will just die at how gross it is!". But then you see the show and it's just a big meh. Like, you know what is going to happen. She is going to pull ping pong balls, some live animals, and maybe some sharp objects out of her bits. Then you are watching it and all you can really think to yourself is that you knew this is what would happen. I am not saying it is disgusting, because it is. She popped a couple of mice out of there and they looked like they had just been born, disorientated writhing around on the floor in a pile of goo. I love animals, so again this was pretty painful to watch in that sense. I got especially saddened by the tiny turtles.
We sat with a couple of Australians at the show. Natural magnetisation: When you naturally find people from your homeland, when away from it without even trying. After the show we wandered through the circus known as Bangla Road for a while, and then headed back to our home away from home on the back of our first Tuk-Tuk, and definitely the best one we had all trip! By best I mean, ridiculously loud Thai pop music and lots of flashing lights to distract you from the terrifying driving.
Back at the resort there seemed to always be stray cats wandering around, above is my favourite. I have completely forgotten what we named her!! She hung out with us on our verandah quite often and at one point even went in our room!!
The smallest and most endearing cat I have ever met. This was our Friday in Thailand and it was amazing! The Saturday was the worst...