Tiger Zoo

Arrival    Hong Kong   Halong Bay   Sanya, China   Nha Trang, Vietnam   Phu My, Vietnam  

Sihanoukville, Cambodia    Life at Sea    Laem Chabang (Day 1)   Koh Samui, Thailand   Singapore 

Laem Chabang, Thailand (Day 2)

Again on Tuesday morning, Februrary 2, we got up for another early breakfast on the Lido deck. Of the tours offered, we had pre-paid for the cheapest, which seemed the most interesting, at least to me.

Our excursion included:

Sriracha Tiger Zoo

After a short bus ride in the opposite direction from the day before (in other words to the north of Pattaya toward Bangkok), we arrived at the zoo. Since we were early, our guide gave us an hour to wander around and look at the animals and the sights. The first stop was the tiger cage, which looked a bit small for all the tigers inhabiting it. I'd guess ten or twelve tigers shared the space. The zoo actually boasts of having over 200 Bengal tigers. I got a picture of three of them.

Tigers in Cage

Tigers on the Prowl in Their Cage

While wandering around, we could have had our pictures taken with a baby tiger ... for a price, of course. But we declined. Instead we set off to see what else the zoo offered. We climbed up a catwalk-bridge over a pool with dozens of crocodiles below in and around the pool. Some bathed and lolled in the pool while others sunned themselves. The zoo actually comprises about 1,000 crocodiles, or so they claim.

Crocodiles in Srirachi Zoo

Anyone Care for a Swim?

We also found some camels and capybaras. At another station, we saw a big orangutan dressed in human clothes and of course you could get your picture with him ... for a price. The animal didn't look too happy, so we moved on. At another place, we found a cage with more tigers. We could get up close to them, and I noticed that they had no fangs! My God! They'd removed the poor creatures fangs! This observation took away some of the danger displayed later in the tiger show.

After an hour, we wandered back to our rendezvous point to meet our guide, who led us into the first of three shows — the crocodile show.

Crocodile Show

Our guide led us into a stadium with banked seating surrounding a pool full of crocodiles. Soon a guy and girl appeared next to the pool. After some initial prancing around, they started to harass the poor crocs by pulling them by the tail out of the pool and onto the pavement that surrounded the pool. Some crocs lunged one or the other performers, who showed the speed and agility that it took to stay alive under the cirumstances. The girl ended up on the back of a croc while the boy kept trying to get a croc to open his mouth and keep it wide open. We all figured what he was about to do. But don't take my word for it, see for yourselves:

It's Not What's for Dinner

It's What's for Dinner

The open-mouth-insert-head trick was the culmination of the show. Yes, the boy escaped alive to a thunderous round of applause. Then it was on to the tiger show.

Tiger Show

We next filed into another stadium with elevated seating and a large circular cage in the middle. Out came the tiger trainers, dressed in tiger striped clothes. They put the tigers through their paces of sitting up and begging like dogs, leaping over a group of tigers' backs, and other suck tricks. The main event was getting a couple tigers to jump through flaming hoops. I felt sorry for the poor beasts because you could tell they did not want to go there. But with some coaxing and prodding, they managed to leap. It's amazing how graceful and precise those huge animals can be. Take a look at the hoops and the body language of the tiger about to jump:

Jumping Through Flaming Hoops

New Meaning to Jumping through the Hoops

Elephant Show

This show was similar to the one we saw the day before, but it was still fun to watch these huge beasts go through their routines, which included throwing darts at a target of balloons, shooting basket balls through a hoop, and walking a tight rope (or actually two tight ropes).

Walking the Tight Rope

Walking the Tight Rope

To end the show, some volunteers from the audience were brought down to meet the elephants. First, they'd lie down on the ground. Then an elephant would play with them, ticking their privates with its trunk to the glee of the trainer and the audience. Next, the elephant held it's foot about an inch above the victim's stomach and then jump over the poor guy. Later, two elephants joined their trunks and carried this woman and her baby.

When the show was over, the elephants came up to the crowd to meet us, as at the elephant show the day before.

Pattaya Beach

As the bus brought us back to the ship, some people considered taking the shuttle back to Pattaya to spend the afternoon strolling on the beach or doing some souvenir hunting. Unfortunately, at that time, it started raining. So for us, it was time for lunch on the Lido deck. At about 5:00 PM, our ship weighed anchor and off we sailed for Koh Samui.

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Koh Samui, Thailand