Let me just say, this kind of thing would NEVER happen in the United States… but in Chiang Mai it’s a great attraction.
Going to Tiger Kingdom was such a blast! We had heard about it before we came to Chiang Mai, and it’s impossible not to see all the ads for it once you get here : )
You don’t have to pay to enter Tiger Kingdom per se, it’s a restaurant and there’s a snack bar where you can buy fish food for the pond outside the tiger area… but if you want to “interact” with the tigers, you pay a fee per person. The tigers are separated into size categories. You can visit the Newborns, Small, Medium or Large tigers. We read the reviews on TripAdvisor and decided to take the advice that said the small cats are more playful and feisty. When we got there we realized that the rules actually won’t allow children under the age of 13 to visit the larger two categories anyway. We told Wesley he might look a little too much like a tasty chicken nugget to the BIG tigers : )
I think Wesley was happy with the newborns and the first tiger we visited… he was almost three months old and we nicknamed him Simba… and then realized that was from “The Lion King.” That’s not a tiger movie. Oh well : )
You were also able to hire a photographer to go with you… for only an extra $10! I thought that was a DEAL… to not have to worry about getting the shot, and just have fun experiencing the tigers. Someone I know… ahem… someone that I’m married to… ahem… can sometimes forget he’s not ALWAYS a cameraman. Plus, the photographer knew what was allowed with the tigers. He told Wesley to lay down on the tiger…
Animals have always loved Wesley… he was the only one who got “kisses” from the tiger.
He was feeling a little bit frisky and kept swishing his tail. The rules for being in the tiger enclosures were very simple:
- Don’t approach them from the front, approach from the back
- Don’t touch their face or try to pet their head
- Don’t touch their front paws
- Don’t let them lick you (I’m serious… that was on the board!)
Of course you’ll see that Damon ignores almost all of these rules…
Since Damon didn’t get caught by any of the workers (and the photographer didn’t seem to care), we didn’t get kicked out and were able to go see the “twins.”
Named Kiwi & Orange, these are a brother/sister that were so playful! They were tussling and fighting and occasionally letting us pet them in-between attacking each other. It was too adorable. They’re still learning not to bite and scratch humans, but they’re allowed to do that all they want to each other. Damon took this video where you can hear them growling at each other:
Next time I’ll post about our lunch with the big tigers!