Chiang Mai Tiger Kingdom

One of the things I was looking forward to in Chiang Mai was going to the Tiger Kingdom. Much like seeing the elephants tiger tourism is highly controversial. I had read horrible stories about the Tiger Temple in Bangkok and although the reviews for Tiger Kingdom are largely better, I prepared myself that I might see some upsetting things. I can’t say with 100% confidence that the tigers at Tiger Temple aren’t drugged, but I didn’t experience anything alarming during my visit.

We got to the Tiger Kingdom early, right when it opened, to avoid the crowds (which I highly recommend as there was no waiting). First up, the baby tigers.

 

Tiger Kingdom

Just call me Tiger Mom

Tiger Kingdom

Given that it was first thing in the morning, the tiger trainers said the babies were still sleepy. I was a bit suspicious considering how sleepy the babies seemed, but I felt much better once they started waking up, running through the pen and playfully fighting with each other.

Tiger Kingdom

Tiger Kingdom Chiang Mai Tiger Kingdom - a tour of Thailand's famous tiger home Chiang Mai Tiger Kingdom - a tour of Thailand's famous tiger home

The trainers were very careful to make sure the baby tigers still acted appropriately and weren’t too aggressive. Much like when training a puppy– it’s cute when a puppy playfully bites at your hand, but it’s not so cute when it becomes a full grown dog and bites down on you with sharp teeth.

Imagine the risk with a tiger! The trainers and baby tigers seemed very comfortable together and often the tigers would run and try to play with the trainers instead of the visitors.

Chiang Mai Tiger Kingdom - a tour of Thailand's famous tiger home Chiang Mai Tiger Kingdom - a tour of Thailand's famous tiger home

I loved playing with the babies and watching them jump around the pen. They were so cuddly! It was hard to imagine that soon they’d be the giant tigers I was visiting next.

The largest tigers at Tiger Kingdom are in a big open pen next to the restaurant and main waiting area. When we first arrived we had seen these tigers fiercely (though still playfully) pouncing at each other. Luckily once the visitors were in and the sun warmed up, the giant beasts calmed down.

Chiang Mai Tiger Kingdom - a tour of Thailand's famous tiger home

tiger stache

Once again I had a trainer assigned to me to guide me in the pen. And I’m glad I did. Although the trainers didn’t carry more than stick (how is a stick going to save me from a tiger attack?!), I felt more relaxed having someone knowledgeable with me the entire time because these tigers were huge.

Chiang Mai Tiger Kingdom - a tour of Thailand's famous tiger home

tiger dreams

I was much more intimidated than I thought I would be once I approached each of the tigers. Just looking at the size of the tigers paws and mouth up close was incredible.

Although a couple of the tigers were sleeping, I had just seen all of the tigers jumping around then pen earlier that morning, and the tigers that were sleeping didn’t sleep the entire time, even while I was in the pen.

And y’all, I was loving it. There was a majestic and notoriously ferocious animal right in front of me. And I was cuddling it.

Chiang Mai Tiger Kingdom - a tour of Thailand's famous tiger home

It was without a doubt a very unique and special experience being up close to these animals.

Chiang Mai Tiger Kingdom - a tour of Thailand's famous tiger home

But admittedly still a bit scary. Afterall, it’s impossible to completely train a tiger.

Chiang Mai Tiger Kingdom - a tour of Thailand's famous tiger home

Chiang Mai Tiger Kingdom - a tour of Thailand's famous tiger home

Tiger teasing

There definitely wasn’t the same sweet and cute feeling with the tigers that I had with the elephants or the baby tigers (no tiger kisses here) but it was just amazing.

Chiang Mai Tiger Kingdom - a tour of Thailand's famous tiger home Chiang Mai Tiger Kingdom - a tour of Thailand's famous tiger home

 

Overall I enjoyed my experience at the Tiger Temple. Just looking at these photos brings back the excitement of having one of these creatures walking and (on occasion) growling just feet away from you.

 

  • Oh my gosh those are some big kitty paws!! I’m glad they seemed happy with their trainers/areas. Sounds like a good experience 🙂

    • The paws were huge and intimidating but I loved it

  • Wow so cute! Those tigers and cubs looked so adorable! You really seem to be enjoying yourself abroad [: I definitely want to visit there one day.

    • There’s so much to do in Southeast Asia, I’m loving it so far. Definitely recommend a visit to Chiang Mai

  • This is just amazing they are so adorable I would love to visit one day.

    • I’d definitely recommend Tiger Kingdom– especially over Tiger Temple

  • What an amazing experience! I hope you write a book one day complete with lots of photos about all of your adventures.

    • Thank you! I’m glad I keep this blog to keep track of my adventures at least. Maybe I will write a book one day 😉

  • INSANE, woman! Being with tigers = all I’m going to think about today!

    • It was only after I looked at the photos that I thought, oh my gosh– what if something had gone wrong in that cage?!

  • I want to cuddle all of them all day!!! Such beautiful creatures.

    • I definitely tried to extend my time in the pens as much as possible to get in lots of cuddling

  • That is awesome, I am glad everything was good as far as the animals care.

    • Yes me too. It would’ve really ruined the experience had the animals been in distress

  • This is the sweetest thing! I wouldn’t be able to handle so much cuteness!

    • I did my best to get the trainers to let me stay in the pen for as long as possible 🙂

  • danniellek

    The babies! I think I would have been a bit scared of the big ones too! Like you said, you can’t fully train a tiger.

    • Yes and the trainers just have these sticks with them in the pen. How will a stick fend off a tiger?!

  • Pristine, this is seriously the most amazing thing ever! I hope I get to visit here someday…

    • It was a really special trip. So glad I was able to visit 🙂 put it on your bucket list for sure

  • My husband & I visited Tiger Kingdom when we were in Chiang Mai for our honeymoon. I have to admit, I was a little nervous that the animals were not going to be treated well but once we were there we were both impressed by the quality that we did see.

    For all those that claim that the tigers are drugged, have you ever spent a day with a house cat? I have a cat & she sleeps most of the day, it’s just how the animals are.

    Check our our blog post about our experience at Tiger Kingdom:
    http://moneyleftfortravel.com/tiger-kingdom-chiang-mai-thailand/