Located 11 miles outside of Chiang Mai, Tiger Kingdom is a great day trip where you can play, pet and take photos of tigers. There is no fee to enter the park, but if you wish to enter the enclosure with a trainer for 15 minutes at a time, you pay according to the size of the tigers- smallest, small, medium and big (ranging from 5 month olds to adults). While there have been reports of mistreatment at similar institutions in Thailand, these tigers appeared to be well cared for and not sedated- the handlers told us that they are so calm around people because they are raised in this environment by humans from birth. It is a thrillingly surreal experience to sit next to a fully grown tiger and stroke his fur or sit on the grass as the little guys wrestle around you.
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Spooning with a Tiger!
Where else in the world can you be big spoon to a tiger, have a monkey "accidentally" grope you in a photo, and ride a gorgeous elephant named Oz through the forest. Chiang Mai Thailand of course. These three places are all within a 10 minute drive from each other. And from the photo, the tiger looks like it was sleeping, but no it was fully awake and this might have been one of the most terrifying experiences ever. But it was also a once in a lifetime experience. For $16 US dollars, I signed my life away to spoon with a tiger. Would I do it again? Absolutely!
Some wont agree with this concept, but my experience of a lifetime was sitting near and touching Bengal tigers in Thailand. The tigers are not drugged but you are accompanied by knowledgeable staff. I never felt in danger but I didn't kid myself about the fact that these are very large meat eaters. If you don't like the idea of a wild animal preserve, it was my impression that these animals have a good life here. I absolutely loved the experience.