From tigers to monkeys, from cats to rats – everyone adores a little bit of animal action when getting around overseas! Here’s where you can go to get up close and personal with your favourite companion:
1. Tiger Temple, Thailand
Ever wanted to get up close and personal with these huge, cuddly cats? The Tiger Temple in the Kanchanaburi province is an amazing experience for anyone who’s ever wanted to pat, hold, feed or even wrestle with a tiger. Whatever you do, don’t tick it off!
2. Rabbit Island, Japan
Fortunately, it’s not just a clever name. Rabbit Island, the more common name for Japan’s Okunoshima Island, is ruled by thousands of wild (but friendly) rabbits who are more adorable than ever and who love welcoming visitors! Earlier this year, a Hong Kong tourist also gained Internet fame by posting this video of a swarm of rabbits chasing after her!
3. Cat Café, Japan (And Worldwide)
It seems like the Japanese can’t get enough of their animals. Since few people in Japan are allowed to keep pets, Cat Cafés are the one place where you can sip a skim soy latte and hang out with the resident cats. The concept is so popular that it’s taken off in dozens of other destinations around the world, including Singapore, London, Vienna, Montreal and even Melbourne!
4. Pig Beach, The Bahamas
You’ll go there when pigs fly… or perhaps, when they swim?! If you’re lucky enough to be in the Bahamas, head to Big Major Cay in Exhuma for a bit of pig fun. On this island, you can – you guessed it! – swim with pigs. These oinking cuties are very friendly, though no one really knows how they all ended up here.
5. Rat Temple, India
Ordinarily, they live in sewers. In India, however, these rats live the life of luxury. At the Karni Mata Temple in Rajasthan, around twenty thousands rats are worshipped by locals who protect them, feed them and even eat their leftovers in order to bring good fortune. As a traveller, however, it’s probably best to look but not touch!
6. Lemur Island, a.k.a. Madagascar
This island is a protected reserve that is home to four different species of lemur: the bamboo lemur, the brown lemur, the black and white lemur and the sifaka. Feeding the lemurs here is entirely possible, although you’ll want to get your timing right so that you can avoid getting lost amongst the tourists.
7. Dubai Dolphinarium, UAE
If you adore dolphins, the Dubai Dolphinarium is the place where all your dolphin dreams will come true. You can catch dedicated dolphin (and seal) shows, swim with dolphins and even have your photo taken with a dolphin.
8. Monkey Island Resort, Vietnam
While primarily a resort is where you can kick back and relax, this island is also a cool place to catch up with some monkeys. Simply head to Lam Vien Can Gio sanctuary and you’ll find yourself amongst hundreds of fairly bold monkeys who will try and nick your belongings, as well as your snacks. Unfortunately, your travel insurance probably won’t cover theft by monkey.
9. Snake Temple, Malaysia
The Malaysian island of Penang is known for its shopping and great food, but there’s also another key attraction here: The Buddhist Snake Temple, built in 1850. Inside, you’ll find a range of vipers lazing on trees and slithering anywhere they please. Touching the snakes is not advised and even though they look placid, they can still give a nasty bite. Enter if you dare!