Eenie, Meenie, Miney, Mo ...
Trip Start Nov 20, 2013
137Trip End Ongoing
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Our day started with a fun hike in Erawan National Park, up the Erawan Waterfall. This waterfall consists of seven tiers and the climb gets more challenging the higher the tier. We were thankful we got to the park early in the morning so we could do this hike before it got way too hot outside and also before the bus loads of other tourists came. I hiked up to the top of the sixth tier and Jason continued to the bottom of the seventh.
From the waterfalls,we headed to Tiger Temple. This is a somewhat controversial temple as there are some people who accuse the temple of being cruel and inhumane to the animals. We definitely did our homework by reading many online reviews (some good, some bad) on the topic before making the decision that we were comfortable with going. This is a Buddhist temple what has become an animal sanctuary over the last bunch of years. We walked toward the Tiger Canyon and even before we arrived there, we saw tons of beautiful tigers lying on the grass under the shade of trees. We were just about to take some pictures with a tiger when one of the volunteers asked for everyone to go into an area for safety as the tigers will be walked down into the canyon. We didn't know it before, but we had come to the temple at a great time. We each got a chance to walk a tiger! Jason and I both have experience walking dogs and this honestly wasn't much different, except that instead of a domesticated dog at the end of the leash, we were being walked by a massive wild cat!
Once all the tigers were in the canyon, we learned a bit about how they are well treated and looked after here. Along with the first and second generation Thais who are local to this area, there are a number of international volunteers working with the tigers here. We also learned that the entrance fee into the Temple goes first and foremost to the welfare of the tigers and other animals here (there are numerous wild boars, deer, buffalo, birds, and more) and then any money left goes to the local community for educating about the negatives of poaching, schooling, water, and various other necessities. After learning a bit about the Tiger Temple and the tigers themselves, we were given options for pictures with the tigers. Of course Jason and I chose the paid option, rather than the free one, but we are glad we did because we got a ton of pictures this way and were able to sit with more than one of the 136 tigers that are cared for here. We first got pictures together and then we each were taken into the canyon by a guide a second time for individual pictures.
Upon our return to the area we were staying, we walked along the River Kwai Bridge. This bridge was built by the POWs we learned so much about yesterday. This is part of the 412km Railway of Death and is still standing today. It was definitely a more somber part of the day.
Later we headed to the Kanchanaburi night market one last time and ate more delicious food for a crazy low cost. Tomorrow we will head back to Bangkok for a flight to Chiang Mai, but our out of the way visit to Kanchanaburi was definitely worth it!