muay thai, Thailand, Tiger temple, travelling, Volunteers

Life on Animal Planet

After spending time in Tiger Muay Thai and Promthep Gym in Phuket – enjoying most of the several gruesome work out hours (only 2 session being very dissapointing. 1 due to teaming up with a wuss of a man. Who kicked hard, but when kicked back, complained to the trainer – and 1 session without being pushed by the pads or sparring at all – which was so boring!), spend trying to improve my muay thai, I have now landed in a totally different enviroment.
I have landed on Animal Planet – or more accurately in the Tiger Temple of Kanchanaburi. Except from tigers, the park features wild life of everything from cobra snakes to water buffalos, goats, a camel – well everything except elephants and crocs.

The trip from Phuket to Kanchanaburi took a little longer than expected. Mostly due to Airasia’s delay. After the flight, I took a cab from Suvarnabhumi to the South busterminal – and from here a bus to Kanchanaburi. Arriving at 11.30 pm and not really knowing where to go, I got a motorbike taxi to take me to a cheap, clean hotel, where I spend the night peacefully.
Had a bad coffee and some nice chicken salad the next morning, before packing up again, and back to the busterminal to find a local bus to Sai Yok. Meeting my contact/ friendly face on the Thai Wisdom, which is about 1 km from the Tiger Temple.

I’ve been told to be prepared for various strange sounds by night time – as Im sleeping in the volunteer quarters in the middle of the park – and will be having breakfast with the tigers tomorrow morning. So far the most sounds are from crickets, and maybe some kind of night bird.. also a deer or buffalo just grunted.
A night on Animal Planet.

As faith would have it, I’ve already seen more blood here, than at the Smackown/ gym sessions. Almost upon arrival my contact got clawed by one of the tigers. We passed through the animals cages, and let the big cats smell our hands, while saying hello to them.
And as we met another employee, who sat talking to the tiger outside the cage – we stopped to have a small talk with her. She just said beware of getting your feets to close to the cage – as there’s a gap between the door and the floor -and as we walked by, the tiger reached out its paw and clawed my contacts leg.

A deep wound appeared on her leg, but luckyli the tiger didn’t rip the flesh open. It retracted the claw, and didnt hit any major veins or muscles. But the hole was deep – and the wounded – the cookie that she is, insisted on not going to the hospital, until after her day was done.

The temple resembles a little to the muay thai camps in Thailand, that takes in falangs. Here a bunch of falangs voluntarily spend their time, work effort and thoughts. A handful of lucky (if you describe taking care of animals in a dusty park, far away from everything being lucky *s*) people from all over the world, are spending their time taking care of animals and getting to know Thailand a little.

Its a major shift from the beaches of Phuket, and the sweaty hours of muay thai – but well worth the trip. My only regret is, that I forgot about bringing a big towel to sleep in tonight. Right now it looks like I’ll be sleeping under my jacket – which is not big at all!


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