Tiger Temples, Bangkok

Tiger trioI still don’t know what to believe.

When I visited the Tiger Temple just outside of Bangkok, I was left with a niggling feeling in my tummy. I love animals; I’ve been on safari, I’ve owned a menagerie of well-loved pets and I donate to WWF each month.  So the idea of visiting a tiger orphanage owned by some kindly monks seemed like a great idea.

I don’t know what I was expecting, but it certainly wasn’t what I got.

As we approached the tiger enclosure we were prepped by a local guide in a baby pink shirt. Yelling commandments at us over the looming crowd, all I heard were a few snatched words about camera etiquette.

Unable to see over the mass of tourists, I wasn’t sure what was coming next.

Tiger cub

Within minutes, though, we were herded through to a row of queues and ushered along like cattle. One moment I was with Georgie, my travel buddy, and the next we’d been separated, my camera had been taken off me, and I’d been pulled over to the first tiger by my arm.

Lying before me was a big ginger mass. I know that’s not a very regal or majestic way to describe the animal, but it had completely lost its luster.  Sprawled dopily across the sandy floor, the tiger didn’t even look like it was sleeping. It’s lolling eyes and droopy lids gave it a sad, confused appearance.  I was convinced it was drugged.

Told to sit by the beast, my hand was plonked on its haunches, I was told to smile, and snap, my photo had been taken and it was time to move on.

Tiger Temple

Next, I was pushed down next to three tigers draped over a rock.  Led from tiger to tiger, it was like playing a game of joining the dots, only far less fun.

Pushed out of the enclosure, my camera literally thrown back at me, we were left… stumped. There’s no other way to describe it.

Since that day, I’ve heard different things about why the tigers are so sedated.  Is it drugs? Is it the heat of the midday sun?  I’ve heard tales from both sides, and to be honest, I just don’t know.

But what I do know is that I won’t be going back.

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5 responses to “Tiger Temples, Bangkok

  1. This is really sad to read. I agree, the tigers must have been drugged or extremely unhappy – maybe they didn’t have enough energy because they are ill fed?

  2. Thanks for stopping by and reading!
    Yes, you may be right – underfeeding could be another reason for their behaviour. It really was horrible to see and would be fascinating to get to the bottom of why they’re so glum.

    • No problem! I’m a new reader but enjoying your post but felt compelled to comment on this particular post. The picture with all three slumped on the rock breaks my heart!

      • Glad to hear you’re enjoying a little read 🙂

        Those three just didn’t move at all. On a selfish note I just wanted to bundle them up and cuddle them, but really I just think they should be running free in a lovely jungle! Maybe one day…

  3. I went to the Tiger temple, in the afternoon..probably their nap time, only one was alert, the rest were sleeping. It was 40 degrees, extremely hot. I think next time I will go to Tiger Kingdom in Phuket

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