This tour made my girlfriend and I’s trip to Thailand unforgettable. First stop was the bridge over the river Kwai, ideal timing the bridge was a bit dark when we first arrived but by the time the history had been explained and questions answered it was bright enough for a photo opportunity.
We then went on the morning trip to the tiger temple (where we gave the monks food in the morning) and it was by far one of the coolest things I have ever experienced in my life. We got to play with the 3-4 week old tigers and bottle-fed the 1 month-1 year old tigers. I was playing with the 1month old like I would a puppy. I had a leash and would place it just out of his reach and he would jump at it and attack it. After playing with the tiger cubs we walked them over to a washing station where we struggled to wash them (because they kept walking around in circles). Then we got to feed them some chicken.
The whole time the staff was very helpful getting the tigers into great photo opportunities and taking photos with your camera. Then it was off to play with some of the bigger tigers. We got to have these noisemakers on sticks and play with the tigers just like big cats. It was incredible the tigers were so happy jumping after these colourful cardboard boxes filled with noise-making things. Then we got to walk with the fully grown tigers down to a canyon. The one we walked was about 220kg and stopped at one point to scratch up a tree. Then we got a chance to have one of the biggest tigers in our lap. At one point he yawned and right up at me and I admit I was a little frightened but all of the staff members kept the tigers away from any potentially dangerous situations.
After the tiger photo they had 6-7 fully grown tigers playing together in this small canyon and they were fighting each other and chasing each other around the area. They were so playful and having fun there was no possible way they were drugged. In fact as playtime was winding down one of the tigers got out of the enclosure and the rest chased after it and the staff had to go get them back on leashes and control the situation. Though they are large dangerous animals staff make you feel safe and comfortable around the animals. They show the animals respect them and are content in the level of domestication.
I think where some of the negativity comes from is the people that just see the tigers in the afternoon when they are stationary and being put on display for hundreds of people getting photos and touching them. We paid a little extra for the morning tour but it was absolutely amazing and if I ever go back to Thailand I would 100% do this tour again. Staff at the tiger temple explained the tigers are generally calm animals during the heat of the day and more active during the night (note when you go to the zoo tigers are laying there doing nothing) and more nocturnal animals. The same 220 kg tiger who happily rested his head on the laps of all 14 of the visitors, was up and running around fighting and jumping instantly when he knew it was playtime. The tigers are very used to human contact but it is reasonable to have rules and follow the instructions given. They are wild animals and will do what they want (for example stop and claw a tree while being walked) but it just adds to the experience.
Not only did BANGKOK DAY TOURS have a private air-conditioned van for the 2 of us but we also had the best English-speaking guide out of all the other tours that were there at the same time. SALLY was very knowledgeable about everything throughout the entire tour and we never had any communication issues. Sally answered every question we asked thoughtfully (and trust me we asked everything we could think of). She also took photos with our cameras as well as her own camera to ensure we had plenty of quality photos. We received our photos by email the very next day. The photos are unbelievable amazing. We did not once have to think about taking our own photos and missing out on enjoying the experience.
Lunch was wonderful and had both Western and Thai options.
The elephants were in the 2nd part of the trip. We did a quick walk around riding a seat on an elephant together. We then each got on our own elephant without a seat and proceeded to go right into the river with them. The manhout (spelling?) had the elephants trained so well that they would pick us up with their trunks and dive deep into the water giving us the ride of our life. We got to stand up on the elephants as they raised themselves out of the water and we got to jump off.
We could go on and on about how amazing the entire tour was. We would do the tour over and over again. The tour may be more expensive done this way but don't cheap out and go for just the temple or just the elephants or without a guide. The fabulous tour, did not disappoint. Thank you BANGKOK DAY TOURS and SALLY for giving us some unforgettable memories.