Posted by: Ciaran | December 6, 2009

Reasons to love travelling #8 – Animals

It’s probably fairly obvious, given that this blog is called Thank the monkey, that I think monkeys are quite cool.  I am not an animal lover per se; I love my dog, a Norfolk Terrier called Barney, but beyond him I’m not too fussed about pets.  Neither am I the sort of person who wants to hold the killer spiders and snakes in those crazy shows you get at the zoo.

But when I’m abroad, I am transformed into an animal fan.  I presume it’s something to do with the fact that penguins and lions are a bit more exciting than your average guinea pig that does it.  As I mentioned in this post on Berlin, going to foreign zoos can be great.

But when you actually get to play with the animals yourself it really gets fun.  In the summer I was taken to ‘Monkey Temple’ outside Jaipur in India, where I got to feed monkeys by hand.

Handing a monkey a nut. They were polite at first...

It was brilliant watching the monkeys run around (apart from the one who had a broken CD and was using it as a mirror the entire time I was there) and gradually increase in confidence, before they eventually went into full gung-ho mode and attacked the bag of nuts, splitting it and leaving me in the midst of two small colonies of monkeys and a confused-looking cow and a scrawny donkey who were all battling for a feed.

In Jaisalmer, in the north-west of India and about 60 miles from the border with Pakistan, I rode a camel called Shiva out into the desert.  It was an uncomfortable way to spend a couple of hours, although entertainment was provided by the camel’s incessant flatulence.

I'm only smiling because I've got a five-minute break from sitting on that thing

I’ve already mentioned elephants in a previous post, but I had to ride an elephant into the dense jungle of Chitwan National Park in Nepal to go tiger-spotting.  It was the monsoon season, and I was soaked straight away. 

When we got deep into the jungle, the elephant would go crashing through the undergrowth and those of us sat on top would get a beating about the face with some stray branches.  We didn’t see any tigers, but we were lucky enough to see a one-horned rhinoceros.

A one-horned rhino having its breakfast

 Thank the monkey for that, eh?  Well, I’m certainly not thanking the elephant.



  1. You’re right, there’s something somewhat more exciting about monkeys, camels and rhinos. I hope I come across some equally exciting wild animals on my travels too.

  2. whats with the hat! haha! hehehe! (i like it really!) And camels are alright to ride! But i surpose if you are a boy….

  3. […] and maybe not a reason to love travelling; indeed, I’ve moaned in previous posts about the pain which can be occasioned by riding camels and elephants.  But when you’re away transport is interesting; you can compare it to what you’re […]

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