Sometimes the best souvenirs are the photos you bring back from a trip. If you visit the Tiger Kingdom just outside of Chiang Mai, Thailand, your photos will be by far your most cherished souvenirs. If holding a baby tiger in your arms or snuggling up to a lazy adult tiger sounds like a great photo opportunity to you, and you want to support the preservation of these beautiful animals, a visit to the Tiger Kingdom is in order.
The mission of the Tiger Kingdom is to protect and preserve endangered tigers
A visit to Tiger Kingdom gives guests the once in a lifetime opportunity to get up close and personal with live tigers of different ages and sizes, and to learn to appreciate and admire these majestic creatures. The attraction has proved to be extremely popular, as the Chiang Mai branch, opened in 2008, is an expansion of the original Ubon and Phuket locations. After all, who wouldn’t want to have their photo taken with a tiger?
The Tiger Kingdom isn’t just a money-making scheme, however. As the website and various pieces of literature available within the park state, Tiger Kingdom is dedicated to protecting and preserving tigers as a species. The park is home to fifty to sixty tigers at any given time, and they are born and reared in the park. This is because “breeding to perpetuate the species must be done in captivity if the species is to survive” as stated by the official website. Tigers are at great risk for poaching in Asia, so the Tiger Kingdom serves as a sanctuary designed to protect these regal animals.
Guests are instructed as to the proper technique for stroking the tigers
The purpose of Tiger Kingdom is to protect tigers from poaching, which could lead to these already-endangered animals becoming extinct. It follows that the animals are treated with the utmost care and respect within the facility. Visitors to the park will find that it is a well-kept, clean sanctuary for the animals who have plenty of space, shade, and social interaction with other tigers. Unlike other similar attractions in Southeast Asia, none of the tigers at Tiger Kingdom are sedated or drugged. Their docility is simply a result of being reared within the park and therefore being very comfortable with humans.
Despite the tigers’ generally calm and lazy demeanor, they are still wild animals, and the staff ensure that this fact is made clear to visitors. Guests are taught to be calm and quiet, and to stroke the tigers with a firm hand, so that the cats will not mistake a light touch for a bug or other irritant and try to flick it away.
The Chiang Mai Tiger Kingdom is home to tigers of all sizes
There are four different age groups of tigers in the park. Once a ticket is purchased, a trained staff member welcomes guests into the enclosure of the tigers that they chose, one or two people at a time, for about ten to fifteen minutes. During this time, visitors may pet and stroke the tigers, and take as many photos as they like for free. A professional photographer from the park may also be hired for 300 TBH (8.41 USD).
Visitors to Tiger Kingdom must choose which age group of tigers they wish to visit. No reservations are required; however, baby tigers are the most popular, and therefore generally have the longest wait, which could be over half an hour at peak times. A ticket for the smallest tigers costs 700 THB (19.62 USD) per person. A ticket for the small tigers costs 500 THB (14.01), medium is also 500 THB, and it’s 600 THB (16.82 USD) for the largest tigers.
Packages are also available in every combination, such as the big tigers and the small tigers for 990 THB (27.75 USD), or all groups of tigers for 2,280 THB (63.22 USD). No matter which ticket you choose to purchase, you can still walk through the entire park and see all of the animals from the outside of their cages, including all of the tigers, plus lions, birds, and other animals. There is a restaurant, and a snack bar selling chips, candy and popcorn inside of the park as well.
Visit the park in the early morning or evening when the cats are most active
The park is open daily from 10am to 6pm; however, tigers are most active in the mornings and evenings when the weather is cooler. Similar to house cats, tigers sleep approximately eighteen hours per day, so visitors should not be surprised to see the cats lazing about, especially in the heat of the day.
Chiang Mai Tiger Kingdom is located 10-15km outside of the city of Chiang Mai. Visitors can take a tuk-tuk or a taxi for around 800 THB (22.18 USD) round trip; be advised that it is best to have your driver wait for the one and a half to two and a half hours that you will be in the park, as it is difficult to find an available taxi or tuk-tuk where the park is located.
Visit the Tiger Kingdom for a once in a lifetime opportunity to bond with beautiful tigers
If cuddling with tigers is on your bucket list, there is no better place to do it than at the Tiger Kingdom. As you stroke and snuggle with big or small cats, you can rest easy in the knowledge that they are well-treated, and you can be proud that the money you paid to see them goes towards helping preserve this most beautiful and noble species. If you find yourself in Chiang Mai, the Tiger Kingdom just outside the city is absolutely not to be missed!
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