007 and Tiger Tails

liztiger1Thailand is known for beautiful temples, stunning beaches, awesome food, friendly people, and impressive scenery. When I was looking for things to do in Phuket, there were only really two things that showed up that I really though, maybe we should go and do that. They were James Bond Island and the Tiger Temple.

I was a little hesitant about going to a Tiger temple. I am not a hippy and all about animal conservation, but I don’t really like the idea of paying to make animals suffer. The idea of a tiger temple did seem a little wrong to me, and throughout the day, my mind was always wondering how much they were suffering and could have been drugged, but the want to get up close with a tiger was a little too tempting.

We organised a pick-up for free with a tour company, and after an initial money scare (I had forgotten to bring my purse) we bought the packages we wanted to do, and we were ready to go in. I bought a pack to go in and see the big tigers only, and Jade bought a pass into the small tigers and the big tigers.

tigersThey were huge, and I mean really big. Two were asleep, drugged or just tired I don’t know, but they were asleep, so we had a few pictures with them. They were posing us with their tails and on their backs, it was very strange. Cool, but strange. No matter how hard they tried, they could not remove the third tiger from the cold water bath. It was a hot hot day, so I couldn’t blame it, and I certainly was content to leave it happy in the water; the poking it with a stick made me more than a little uncomfortable.

Afterwards, we ventured down to Patong Beach, the local beach ot our hotel, and re-realised that we get bored quite quickly when we are on the beach. We ventured off the beaten track and ended up in a massage parlour off the main strip receiving a foot massage. I’ve never had one before, and I’m not sure I understand the fuss to be honest!

I think we were a little undressed when we hit the mall for some food. The restaurant we settled on after hours of wandering round seemed to be quite uninterested in inviting us in, and our food order was taken and brought out with a speed that suggested they may have thrown us out before we had managed to take a bite. That said, it was good enough food to go back the next night.

We made it back just in time to book a tour to James Bond Island for the next day. I wasn’t really sure what the whole thing would entail, as the island only made up a small portion of the itinerary. Once on there, they explained about the island, briefly how the area was formed, and told us we could go sea kayaking and snorkelling in the afternoon as well.

The James Bond Island, know to the locals as Koh Tapu, is located in a bay of another slightly larger island, as any fans of 007 who have seen Man With the Golden Gun will realise. We were ferried from our big boat to the larger island by longtail boat, and given free reign to wander round and take as many photos as we wanted. We climbed right round the island, took lots of pictures of the actual Koh Tapu rock, and saw some of the world’s most confusing photos being taken.

After the island tour, we we taken round some caves and impressive scenery by the boat guides in a sea kayak, before being let loose in the bay ourselves. Considering our history with propelling our own water vehicles this tour, we did alright. The snorkelling was a nice surprise as we were expecting to be dumped on a beach for upwards or an hour. The boat guys were chucking bits of rice into the water, and we were actually surrounded by fish. Completely trapped in a ball of fins.

The boat guys seemed to like us. They were talking to us more than anyone else, which seems to happen anywhere we go like we have signs on our head saying talk to us. They made us these pretty intricate roses out of palm tree leaves and these simultaneously horrible and cool rings from drinking straws. It’s a shame we wouldn’t be able to get the roses into Australia.

liztigerI’m not really sure what I thought of Phuket. It was nice enough, we had a good time, but it really didn’t wow me. I fear a lot of the islands might be like this considering I am really not the get drunk all night and recover lying on the beach all day kind of person. Let’s hope the beach beach (Maya Bay) lives up to the billing.

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