Thailand’s Tiger Temple, the Wat Pha Luang Ta Bua Yannasampanno Monastery

in Thailand

Wat Pha Luang Ta Bua Yannasampanno monastery is a modest place of worship, unremarkable in many ways.

In fact, if it were not for its unique residents you wouldn’t know about this site in regional Thailand at all. But here tourists travel daily to marvel at the monks who share their lives with tigers.

Buddhism is at the heart of the monastery, which is sometimes known as the Tiger Temple. However, it also acts as a wildlife sanctuary for the area’s endangered and injured animals. Over time the monks have adopted peacocks, deer, horses, and now tigers.

Monk at Thailand Tiger Temple

A monk walks with tigers at Thailand's Tiger Temple

The monastery’s first tiger arrived in 1995. The cub was orphaned at the hands of poachers, and the monks quickly stepped in to raise the helpless creature. The numbers have since grown, and today the monastery is home to several adult and juvenile tigers.

Visitors to the monastery can see tigers feeding, playing, and spending time with the monks. A highlight for tigers and tourists alike is bath time, which happens every day at 2 pm.

It’s important to remember that while the tigers have lived with the monks for many years, they are still wild animals. Guests are advised not to wear brightly colored clothes or perfumes, as these may disturb the tigers. You should also refrain from making loud noises, and never turn your back on the animals.

Wat Pha Luang Ta Bua Yannasampanno monastery is a 30-minute bus or taxi ride from Kanchanaburi, a metropolitan center lying three hours from Bangkok. Tourists with an interest in meditation are invited to stay with the monks in their temple. As is Buddhist custom, there is no charge for this accommodation, although it is polite to offer a donation. These financial gifts help the monks feed their tigers and other animals.

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