Just Some Big Cats

I’ll be honest, hubs is just a little bit of an adrenaline junky. Anything that is even a little bit dangerous, he is all for. On our honeymoon, there was a day that he went snorkeling while I stayed on the beach. He came running onto the beach yelling ‘There’s a shark in the coral! You’ve got to come check it out!’ before running right back into the water. I remember thinking ‘that is definitely not the way to get me in the water.’ (I ended up going and seeing the harmless black tip reef sharks and it was one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had, but that’s beside the point) The point is, when we found out about Tiger Kingdom, a place in Chiang Mai where we could get up close and personal with baby and full grown tigers, we couldn’t resist.
baby tiger at tiger kingdom chiang mai
When you arrive at Tiger Kingdom, you get to pick the age group you want to see. They have babies (2-3 months), small (4-8 months), medium (9-12 months) and large tigers (13-30 months). TIP: Go early! Tigers are most active when it first opens, the temperature hasn’t skyrocketed yet, and they haven’t been handled by a swarm of tourists. Also, when all of the tour groups come, the wait can take over an hour. We showed up just before nine and only waited a few minutes to get into each cage.
baby tiger at tiger kingdom chiang mai
play with baby tigers at tiger kingdom chiang mai
He was just two months old and kept trying to climb into my lap and up my shoulder to be cuddled
tiger kingdom chiang mai
The next age group we saw were the 4-6 month olds and they were also definitely the most active of them all. The ones that weren’t napping were busy running around jumping and playing with each other.
tiger experience at tiger kingdom chiang mai
tiger kingdom chiang mai
tiger kingdom chiang mai
With each age group you are accompanied by a trainer that leads you from area to area and watches out for any tigers that want to ‘play’ with you. This came in handy when hubs made fast friends with a young 5 month old tiger by the name of Michael. He would follow hubs around the cage and try to ‘play’ with him. Aka, sneak up behind him and try to swat or bite his leg. Even after the trainer would lead us to the other side of the cage, it wouldn’t be long until Michael was back. He managed to swat at him once but because he was wearing jeans, it only left a red mark, much to hubs disappointment (he’s the weird type that wants a scar from a tough animal).
get close to tigers at tiger kingdom chiang mai
I have to admit that when we went into the last cage and rounded the corner to see this:
grown tigers at tiger kingdom chiang mai
I was a bit nervous. I’ve seen tigers through a cage and a long distance away before but when we saw it up close and personal, it was a little intimidating.  Good thing these kitties were pretty tired by the time we got there and slept majority of the time.
The topic of drugging and punishment often comes up when talking about these animals. Before we went, I was extremely skeptical. I had heard stories of other tiger parks that taser their animals or give them drugs during open hours so the tigers will remain docile. My concerns disappeared when we arrived and they had numerous pieces of literature about what they believe and how they treat the animals. Not only that, but when we walked in, we could see into the full grown tigers cage as they ran after each other, tackling, playing and jumping in the water. The trainer was walking around in the cage working and the tigers took no notice to him.
They explain that these tigers are born into captivity since the park is used for breeding and preservation of the endangered Indo-Chinese species of tiger. They are used to being around humans from a young age and therefore people coming and petting, hugging or patting them does not phase them. Another factor is the fact that tigers are mainly active during night time and less active during the mid-day heat. This is the reason that the older tigers are asleep in the majority of our photos.
However, precautions must still be taken. For example, when the trainer is approaching a tiger, he takes a stick and bangs it against the ground to warn the tiger that he is approaching so as not to startle him. Also, we must approach the tiger from behind, if approached head on, they will think we want to play with them. Lastly, when we do pet or touch them, we must do so firmly. If we touch too lightly, they may think it’s just a fly and react accordingly.
tiger kingdom chiang mai
tiger kingdom chiang mai
My favorite part of Thailand, and specifically Chiang Mai, is the fact that you can get up close and personal with so many different animals. The city keeps you going with the endless possibilities of activities that it has to offer. Don’t worry, there’s lots of Redbull to help keep you awake so you don’t miss a thing (and at just 35 cents a bottle, how can you resist?!)
  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05802120402338380131 Sarah Burton

    I’m catching up on blogs and finally got to this post. Oh my word incredible! The older tigers are so much bigger than I imagined!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07604369392892994141 Kimberlee Van Der Wall

    WOW that’s pretty amazing that you got to play with tigers – I’d be so scared!

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03340277403271465452 lost in travels

      thankfully it wasn’t nearly as scary as i thought it would be but i was still nervous!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12050447967374041694 Rachel

    I would be extremely nervous too! They look so cuddly and harmless, but they’re big cats! Look at those paws!

    So glad to hear they don’t drug them.

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03340277403271465452 lost in travels

      i know! i felt the same way! i was just glad the big ones were sleepy when we went in!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08916073136271415491 Jane {In the Pink and Green}

    I just found your blog and I’m so glad I did because I LOVE reading expat blogs (and I’d love for my hubby and I to move abroad!) We’re actually thinking of planning a trip to Thailand later this year, and I am definitely putting this place on my list. These pictures are incredible, how neat to be able to play with baby tigers! Thanks for sharing! xoxo

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03340277403271465452 lost in travels

      i’m so glad that you found us! where do you guys want to move? you will absolutely fall in love with thailand! it’s our favorite place that we’ve gone so far!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16227259692923916419 chelsea T

    oh my goodness – how amazing!!!!!!!!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13187265846570274210 themosbysinchina

    wowowowwow!! Soooo cool!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14212489092293090366 Ashley

    Found your blog via YOLOMondays~

    Funny enough, I have a picture of me and a baby tiger in my “About Me” taken at- yup, Tiger Kingdom. It was one of my favorite days ever, and tigers have made it to the top of my “favorite animals” list. You are far braver than I am to roll around with the tigers.

    http://fornowjapan.blogspot.com

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03340277403271465452 lost in travels

      wow! so crazy! it’s such a great place isn’t it? they’re such amazing animals!

  • http://notyourdirtyunderwear.wordpress.com/ notyourdirtyunderwear

    This is AMAZING! So many fabulous photos! It makes me want to go to thailand!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03650259915484312321 emi

    such great pictures! you two are darling, and those tigers are beautiful! wow- i want to put this on my bucket list…xo
    welltraveledwife.com

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03340277403271465452 lost in travels

      you’re so sweet! it definitely needs to go on your bucket list! we had such a great time getting up and close and personal with so many different animals.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00004901751638812872 Jess

    I LOVE that pic with your hubby and the tiger with its tongue out- LOL!!

    When I was in Chiang Mai, I didn`t go because of what I had heard about them being drugged, and I`m not sure that I could have let go of that accusation in order to do it, kind of like I did not ride an elephants because I heard of all the abuses they endure. But I`m so happy to hear that you did it, and that from what you could tell them animals were not drugged and were treated well- such a relief. And those pictures are so, truly priceless!

    Jess
    Some Snapshots Blog

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03340277403271465452 lost in travels

      haha him and his best buddy that day : )
      we had heard stories like that from other tiger parks but not from this one which we were so grateful for. so many of these animal parks take advantage of the animals and the tourists, it’s such a shame. i’m so thankful that we had great experiences at all of the places that we went because they were a once in a lifetime opportunity for us!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08995001313606121231 Steph Gregerson

    SO amazing. The pictures are beautiful and what a cool experience. If my husband found it, it would be immediately added to his bucket list – not sure how brave I would be :)

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03340277403271465452 lost in travels

      all you would have to do is hide behind him in the cage! ; ) thanks for stopping by!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00039677761969149134 Adrienne Clark

    Oh. My. Gosh!!! The pics are amazing!! What a great opportunity, that looks so exciting. You look gorgeous in the pics :-)
    Now following via bloglovin
    Adrienne

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03340277403271465452 lost in travels

      you’re so sweet! thank you : ) and thanks for deciding to follow along!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08190048508109863004 Corinne

    Oh of my friends did that when he was living in Thailand and I was so jealous of him – now I’m so jealous of you two! Those little kittens! HA! So so so cute! What an amazing experience – I loved all the photos!

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03340277403271465452 lost in travels

      the babies were my favorite! they were so sweet and just wanted to sleep and cuddle the whole time!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07559948209456893245 Cropped Stories

    OMG; these are awesome pics! You two are way too brave ;o)

    Hey there, here from the I love bloglovin’ blog hop! I’m following you via bloglovin’ :o) If you’d like to follow back, you can find me here:

    http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/3718883

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03340277403271465452 lost in travels

      thanks so much for stopping by and deciding to follow along!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12090735810562146009 M and L

    incredible!!! those suckers are HUGE!!! i like that you did your research & cared so much about the animals living styles. & your hubs cracks me up. what a dare devil :)

    -L

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03340277403271465452 lost in travels

      tell me about it! they came up above my waist when they were walking around! and he makes sure to keep me on my toes everyday : )

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15038057929555973465 Ajay

    Thanks for your grateful informations, am working in Tourism Portal, so it will be helpful info for my works.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07177081269343759076 Treasure Tromp

    absolutely incredible! I would LOVE to do something like this. Thank goodness they seem to treat their cats ethically / without drugging!

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03340277403271465452 lost in travels

      i absolutely loved all of the animal encounters that we were able to experience on our trip. we had heard horrible stories from other tourists about similar places with tigers, i’m just glad that we didn’t experience any at the place that we chose!