Tiger Kingdom

We arrived at the tiger kingdom around mid morning which we had been told was a good time to arrive. Before it got too hot and the tigers got sleepy.
The have the tigers separated into different groups based on size; smallest, small, medium and big. You purchase a ticket based on the size of the tigers you want to see. Only small groups are allowed at a time and your time is limited to about 15 minutes. We purchased passed for the smallest, small, and big tigers. We also paid to have their photographer take photos which you get afterwards burnt to a CD. First visit was the smallest tigers.

The little tigers were so cute. I gave their tummy a rub and when I put my head against them I could hear them purring.

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Next was to see the small tigers. These cats were less than a year old but already growing to be big animals.

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They still liked a belly rub

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And while sort of comfortable to lay on…..

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Something bigger was required. On to the big cats. Definitely bigger.

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Better give a tummy rub to keep the tiger happy

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Now to try my tiger pillow

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Luxury 🙂
Actually the tiger was pretty warm.

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Tiger Kingdom was a great experience. Obviously I’m not that familiar being around tigers. But they seemed to be well looked after. They didn’t seem to be drugged and in fact while having lunch we watched two of the large tigers have a play (rough fight) in their pool which was very exciting to watch. There are signs which indicate if you see any mishandling of animals by staff to report them. It seemed OK to me. Definitely worth a trip.

Orchid Farm & Butterfly house

On Saturday morning we had a big day planned including; orchid farm & butterfly house, tigers, and a temple. At 9.00am we were picked up from our hotel by Na-Na our local guide. We were going to see the tiger temple but on the way we were going to stop at the orchid farm.
The facility wasn’t very big but the orchids were impressive.
To grow an orchid they first retrieve the seeds from a fertilized flower. Then they put a seed in a completely sealed bottle. When they have grown enough they take them from the bottle. The orchids on display were growing hanging from wires, in the air, with no soil.

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Also at this place was a small butterfly house. Most of the butterflies were grey/brown (monarch I believe) so not very interesting.

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The cocoons for the butterflies.

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Elephant Nature Park

Friday, our first full day in Thailand was going to be spent with some elephants at the Elephant Nature Park. We were pick up from our hotel lobby by a lady named Marissa who would be our guide for the day. It took about an hour driving to different hotels to collect the other tour guests, and then another 45 minutes to drive to the elephant nature park. We saw our first elephant on arrival. Around some of the buildings they have concrete pillars that stop the elephants from getting close, but people can easily get through. Well as long as you aren’t too fat.

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We were introduced to a friendly elephant and got to feed them fruit (bananas, pineapple, sugar cane, watermelon, and some fruit I didn’t recognise).

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We then moved into the building where we fed two other elephants from the ‘safety’ of the balcony. One of the elephants was completely blind so we couldn’t feed them from the ground or someone might be stepped on. As it was the blind elephants trunk started sniffing me and I got too close and it decided to put some mud on my shirt.

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Most of the 34 elephants at the park have been rescued and have some sort of injuries. Some have at least partial blindness and one we saw had stepped on a landmine and had a serious foot injury. The next elephant we met had a foot infection so wasn’t moving much. We feed it and then used a hose to cool it down. The river was too far away for it to walk to. I had fun with hose. If you but the hose out to the end of its trunk the elephant would fill up the trunk with water (about 2 gallons) and then put its trunk into it mouth and spray it there to drink.

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We stopped for lunch. Considering it was vegetarian it was very nice. After lunch we visited a baby elephant who had been born last October. He was very shy and never went far from his mothers legs. When the careers filled up a large tub with water the baby was keen to get in for a swim. However even at only a few months old he was still too big to fit in properly.

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One of the things I noticed was how the buildings were built in a traditional way. Most of the roofs were from thatched grass.

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Now it was time to go to the river to help bath the elephants. The might look small from a distance…

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Armed with my trusty bucket I’m ready to bath the elephants

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I tried to wash the dirt off the elephants head but couldn’t quite reach

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The elephants can do a better job themselves in the river

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A non-elephant sighting was this insect which looked a lot like a leaf.

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And this guy was just showing off….

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Actually he was making a mud pit for the elephants to play in.
After a long day with our new large friends it was time to go back to our hotel.

Bangkok Airport To Chiang Mai

On arriving in Thailand we needed to change planes to catch a domestic flight to Chiang Mai. The line through immigration and customs was quick. We had a couple of hours before our flight so decided to get a drink. In my mind we had arrived in a foreign land and I wasn’t sure what the food would be like. But in the airport was a McDonalds, a Burger King, a Coffee Club and plenty of other brands I know well. A cheese burger from McDonalds cost 65 baht.
Find our departure gate was a bit tricky and we got a bit lost. But we had plenty of time and eventually found it.  Another confusing factor once we found the gate was that the gate wasn’t actually near any planes. Or near where any planes could land. When they called our flight they put everyone on buses and drove us to the plane. Our plane was a Boeing 747-400 which was the same model as our international flight.
The flight was a quick one with about an hour travel time. When we arrived we had pre-booked transport waiting for us. Our guide Na-Na was waiting for us holding a sign with our names, just like in the movies. It was a short trip to our hotel, the Imperial Mae Ping Hotel. One checked in we were exhausted so got a simple room service meal and then went to bed.

Holiday to Thailand

On Thursday 7th we started our holiday in Thailand. We had a 10am international flight out of Sydney. And 10am is the earliest you should fly. We got up at 6am, caught a train to the airport at 7am and were checked in for our flight at 8am. We grabbed a quick bite to eat and then went through customs and security.  There was hardly anyone in line and we got through quickly. Then we slowly walked through the duty free shops and arrived at our gate. We waited about 10 minutes and then they started boarding our Thai Airways flight. The plane was only half full of passengers, if even that.  We’ve been told its a 8.5hr flight and so far we are are about 5.5 hours into the flight. I think the economy seats we are in have more leg room than other flights; my knees aren’t knocking against the seat in front of me like the usually do. And each seat has its own entertainment screen where you can watch movies or play basic games. One thing I particularly like is that there are power outlets in the seats in economy seats. Yay for running electronics longer than a few hours.