Hi we are visiting Bangkok, Koh Phangan and Koh Samui in August and are keen to see some wildlife close up particularly interested in elephants, crocodiles, monkeys and tigers. I have seen quite a few places and excursions offering this (such as tiger temple) but have also read horrible things about the way they treat the animals. Is this true? Can anyone recommend anywhere to go in or near any of the places we are going that offer these experiences but also look after the animals and don't mistreat them?
#1 MRATM82 has been a member since 19/6/2011. Posts: 4
Well, two of your locations are Islands - so minus the Monkey's they are largely out.
The Crocodile farm in Bangkok would probably be OK.
Tigers - I don't think there is any place that meets your criteria. In general SEA is still catching up on the animal compassion department.
The elephant round up is OK in Surin, but be advised that elephant treatment here is also not the best. They are animals after all.
#2 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
"Bangkok, Koh Phangan and Koh Samui"
"elephants, crocodiles, monkeys and tigers"
"look after the animals and don't mistreat them"
Sorry but the answer is mostly "no"
Elephants are best observed in their natural habitat, i.e. national parks (Khao Yai), elephant camps in the forest (outside Chiang Mai ), and in the wild (a rarity and very hard to find them). Crocs are only to be found in zoos and farms. Monkeys are found in small pockets of habitat accessible to visitors like Khao Sok NP and more urban settings like Lopburi or Wat Tham Seua near Krabi or the Fish Cave near Chiang Rai, but not really at the places you're going. There are also monkey "shows" (monkey on a chain performing tricks) near Chiang Mai and no doubt at tourist ghettos where animals get toted around for photo ops. Tigers are found almost exclusively at zoos or "projects" like the Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi (very dodgy) or the Tiger Kingdom near Chiang Mai (decent choice). You'd want to branch out your travels a bit more with wildlife spotting in mind in a decent habitat. Otherwise it can be ugly.
On a funny side note, we do have a lot of monkey's out here in Mukdahan. They are wild but often live in or around urban areas and will happily take food from you, but happily bite too - so be careful. Some people here have them as pets and two of the funniest things I ever saw were a guy riding his motorcycle with a monkey sitting on the back. The monkey had his arms wrapped around the driver and as I passed looked at me as if this were completely normal - which I guess to him it was.
The second one was in a bar in NKP. I walked in, and sitting at the bar on a stool was a monkey, smoking a cigarette (illegal smoking indoors) and drinking a beer. It turned and looked at me as it blew smoke - it was just plain weird.
#4 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
I don't see how there's anything left in Issan. If it crawls, walks, slithers, hops, flies or just is alive in general, They eat it. LOL
#5 neosho has been a member since 13/8/2008. Posts: 386