Happy Friday! Let’s ditch weight loss, health and fitness for today, mmmk? (Just on the blog! It’s an everyday commitment for me!) Thailand is home to millions of exotic animals – from gigantic spiders that I thankfully never saw to regal Asian tigers. This is another photo heavy post, but I hope you enjoy the tails and tales of Thailand!
Matt and I visited the Tiger Kingdom in Chiang Mai, Thailand. For around $75 total, we spent 30 minutes (15 minutes each) with a “small” tiger and a “big” tiger and had a photographer follow us around taking pictures. Here we are with the small tiger – who loved getting his belly rubbed! His hair was more coarse than a house cat but not rough, kind of like a dog with wiry hair.
I was missing my kitty girl, so when the trainer told me to lay on the tiger I was like, SURE, why not!? Nevermind that even this baby tiger has paws about as big as my head… He was very sweet and docile and seemed totally accustomed to tourists laying their bodies all over him. Cute lil’ guy! I could nap on him all day!
This is one of my favorite pictures from our trip. Look at how beautiful this tiger is – the way her eyes glow gold, the exact symmetry of the black stripes across her face, the wonderful white patches around her eyes. She is absolutely stunning! This girl was about 18-months old and more feisty. Our trainer used a simple bamboo stick to warn her if she was getting too close. At one point our eyes locked and she grew a little fidgety – which is when the trainer gave her a gentle nose tap to distract her. Good thing, too, cuz I almost had a little accident in my pants. Locking eyes with a gigantic, powerful tiger is an intense moment!
Coolest picture ever, right?! Just so you don’t forget what you’re seeing. This is a real tiger… eyes, ears, claws and TEETH! Roar!
One day when I have oodles of money and time, I will start a “Spay Thailand” initiative. We saw HUNDREDS of wild cats and dogs on our trip, and most of them were very friendly but obviously in need of health care, nourishment, etc. This little beauty was very curious about us at a temple. We bought a pouch of Whiskas cat food and fed a bunch of the stray cats – causing this well-fed dog to sneak up, scare away the cats, and eat the rest. Then, he tipped over a container of milk someone had bought for the cats and ate that, too. See below – Brat. (Notice the cigarette butts? While Thailand is a beautiful country, the litter is horrendous. I regularly saw people just throw their cigarette butts and food wrappers onto the streets.)
Recognize the Running Jewess? One of the things I had to do in Thailand was the “fish spa”. Tiny fish named “garra fish” eat the dead skin off of your feet. It’s not an unpleasant sensation, but I definitely had the heebejeebes at first. My feet were super soft, though! Matt described it as “Wearing fish boots”.
This centipede was nearly the creepiest thing we saw in Thailand, even creepier than the small black snake we saw as we hiked through the jungle. (The snake was kinda cute – it zigzagged in a spiral pattern!) Look at this nasty milipede! Yuck!
Not all insects are gross, see?! This beauty was captured at the Chiang Mai Orchid Farm.
Monkeys are vicious beasts! Stay away! (Right?)
Nobody paid attention to that sign, as you can see. These little guys were not at all afraid of people, and would often tug on your shirt or purse to see if you’d hook it up with a snack. I fed a monkey at a temple and he was … odd. He gripped my arm with his little hand and gave me this sad look like “You haz more food?”. I did not.
Before we rode elephants, we rode oxen! I felt bad for these guys because they were constantly dripping snot and boogers, and their yoke did not look comfortable. Made for a cool photo, though. We bought them some sugar cane half way through as a sweet treat.
Even though my elephant riding experience was ruined, I love these photos. When else will you get to ride a giant elephant? We had ethical concerns about riding an elephant because of the damage to the elephant’s health and the stress it places on their back, but we ended up doing it anyways. Not the most shining example of humanity, but it was an amazing experience.
Going in the water was actually mildly terrifying. Elephants are tall, water is cold, and that rickety wooden basket isn’t too sturdy.
Have you ever seen an elephant paint? They get some guidance from their mahout, but they can paint flowers, christmas trees, elephants and other things.
And last but not least, a Thai bee on a lotus flower, because y’all know I love bees! That’s it for now – next week I’ll show some of my favorite places, like the hot springs and Tiger Temple. What an amazing trip! I hope you’re having a great day, but for now, what’s next on your travel list? For me, it’s Africa!
***PS – Thank you to everyone who entered the Chike Giveaway! Our winner is Denise S. If you didn’t win, have no fear! In the next month we’re giving away a Kalorie Box, a week of Diet to Go meals, AND a Thailand Souvenier gift pack from yours truly!