Tuesday, February 16, 2010

day 2 - kanchanaburi, thailand

for day 2, we decided to hop aboard a bus from bangkok to the province of kanchanaburi to visit tiger temple, a place where you can mingle with and feed real tigers. though it's about a 100 mile journey, it cost us a whopping $3 for an air-conditioned bus ride. but first we stopped for street food that attracted a whole slew of peeps. my pork & rice goodness set me back... 60 cents.

upon arrival at kanchanaburi, we hired a tuk tuk to take us to the bridge on the river kwai, then an additional 25 miles to tiger temple thru fields and countryside. the bridge was the target of frequent allied bombing raids during WWII and was memorialized in the fictional film of the same name.

tiger temple was up next, although there should be a disclaimer that this attraction is not endorsed by the city of kanchanaburi. detractors claim they drug the tigers, leaving them docile and dazed for the public to play with. proponents claim that these night animals are trained but of course lazy during the hot days. nevertheless, i wanted to see the creatures with my own eyes.

and see them i did, yowzers. the experience was a unique one - where else in the world can you literally touch these beautiful creatures and also have the opportunity to milk & feed baby cubs? we grabbed a quick bite to eat at nearby charming kitchen, where i had a bomb @$$ lychee smoothie along with catfish w/spicy chili sauce & fried garlic. this came in at around $1.50 total.

we returned to bangkok around 6:30pm, grabbed a quick dinner (charcoal grilled chicken, sticky rice & singha beer) and walked over to ratchadamnoen stadium to watch live muay thai (thai kickboxing) at the recommendation of my friend cassie. we had midrange tickets but were so close to the action we could see the sweat drip from the contenders during the bouts. what was unexpected and neat to see were the rituals each fighter practiced before their respective bouts. some kneel to pray, some dance to the music, and better yet some kiss each of the four turnbuckles in the ring. plus, i got to see knockdowns AND blood, so consider my night fulfilled.

we wearily took a cab back to our hotel, where we grabbed our bags and headed to another hotel closer to the airport, where we had a wake up call at 4:15am on tuesday for our flight to hanoi...


caroline said...

Oh man. THE food looks so tasty! I'm hungry. :)

AND exhausted from reading about all that you've done so far!

caroline said...

I hope those tigers ARE drugged if you're so close!