Short Breaks Travel

Thailand’s Tiger Temple: Meeting the big cats of Wat Pha Luang Ta Bua, near Bangkok

By: Cathy Ward

Wat Pha Luang Ta Bua is a fully functioning Buddhist temple near the town of Kanchanaburi, about 130 kilometres west of Bangkok. But it’s better known as “Tiger Temple”.

In Thailand, temples frequently take in abandoned animals because their Buddhist doctrine compels the monks to care for them.


Tiger cubs, Thailand Tiger Temple
Cathy interacts with one of the gorgeous tiger cubs

Wat Pha Luang Ta Bua was founded in 1994 as a forest monastery and sanctuary for numerous wild animals; in 1999, it received its first tiger cub.

There are now about 124 tigers and various other animals being cared for at the temple. Not all of them are able to interact with humans.


Thailand Tiger Temple
Not all of the tigers are as friendly as these three! 

Many of the staff and volunteers work with each and every tiger in the park, but each tiger has one primary monk who cares for them.

There’s a lot of controversy about the temple. Is it safe? Humane? Do they drug the animals?  We came away with a very positive opinion of Tiger Temple. Many of the animals would be dead if they did not live there.


Buddhist doctrine, Thailand Tiger Temple, Lost tigers
Buddhist doctrine compels the monks to care for the lost tigers 

Is it safe? I can’t answer this with 100-percent certainty. They’re wild animals after all.

But if you have the chance to visit the temple I would say: absolutely!