Tuesday, October 22, 2013

tiger kingdom, chiang mai

As a birthday present to Andrew, Maggie's parents got them a trip to the Tiger Kingdom outside of Chiang Mai. It's a place where they not only raise tigers, but let Farang get into the cages with them and pet them. This place is further proof that there are no lawyers in Thailand. 

There are different packages you can purchase that allow you to pet the different sizes of tigers: extra small (1 - 3 months), small (3 months - 1 year), medium (1 - 2 years) and large (2 - 3 years). Over 3 years they feel the tigers are too dangerous for people to pet... good to know they at least draw the line somewhere. They say that if you are under 5 feet tall, you should be careful because the tigers might think you are food and you definitely need to be careful with infants... but still you saw toddlers trotting around inside the cage with ten foot long tigers licking their lips. And really the only thing keeping a tiger from mauling you is the handlers and their little sticks they whack the tigers with if they are looking at you a little to intently.

Really thought, it is a once in a life time experience where you not only sit there gawking at these huge majestic beasts like you would at a zoo, but then you get to go in the cage with them a pet them or as the handlers like to tell you to do, lay on them. 

The extra-small really are cute. They are like really big housecats.

There are a few rules. Don't touch their heads and don't approach them from the front and the two biggest ones. Both of these rules are to stop the tigers from thinking that you want to play with them and trust me... you don't want to play with them. Even the extra small tigers are quite the large creatures that could easily take off a hand with a quick bite. The large guys...well I have a feeling they could disembowel you before you could tell them, "bad tiger."

The little guy sitting on the floor by Andrew in the righthand picture is the only tiger who really growled and seemed upset all day. He didn't like the littler one in the background looking at him, I guess.

Small tigers

Medium tigers

These tigers really just act like normal house cats: sleep, snuggle, purr, eat, play, repeat.

That's right, pay attention to whatever is over there... and not me.

As they would say in Thailand: Maggie making joy with tiger.
(His huge tail had just smacked her in the face in the second picture.)

Our new home security system. Or: The World's Most Awkward Prom Photo, with Tiger.
Yes that hole in the cage is large enough to stick your entire arm through (and there's certainly no one there to tell you not to) and yes those tigers are fighting.

Eenie, meenie, miney, moe. Catch a tiger by his toe...
If he hollers, let it go for god's sake.

They had one Lion at the reserve just to show the tigers, who was the real king of the jungle. This guy was a year and a half old, and he was already HUGE. (We didn't get to pet him, but we were really this far away. All that was between us and him was a chain link fence.)

The lion letting all the tigers know he is the boss.


  1. What an awesome experience!! Sitting here on the couch with my two (house) cats reading over your posts. Glad you guys are having such a fun trip!!

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