Yup, that is me with a tiger tail as a mustache. Sometimes life is full of unexpectedly amazing moments. Never in my life did I think I would have this photo or be telling myself that I should probably change because my shirt was too covered in tiger fur, but that is exactly what happened in Thailand. While in Chiang Mai, I took a trip to Tiger Kingdom and spent a day visiting with tigers.
I want to throw it out there again as I did with my elephant sanctuary post that being responsible about your choices when it comes to wildlife in your travels is really important. There is a lot of information available, so try to do your homework before you go. I choose this experience for myself after reading a lot of controversy over whether or not this tigers are drugged, but after talking to some locals, I choose to see it for myself. I'm not a wildlife expert by any means and I could never know for sure, but I did not feel the tigers were drugged. I was escorted into the cage with a trainer who never took his eyes off the tiger guided me the whole way and there were only certain ways and places I could approach and touch the tigers. The tigers I met were pretty actually quite active and the trainer I had even got the small ones to get up and play through the water like a little kittens.
At Tiger Kingdom, the animals are divided into different age groups so you can choose which sizes you'd like to interact with. I choose the smallest, small, and biggest. I started with the babies where I was invited in to give one a little morning snack with the bottle and then I got to sit and rub some bellies and do a little snuggling. The little ones were fun and sweet to be with, but it was the big guys that terrified me a little.
The biggest ones were the chance for an experience of a lifetime, but they were also the ones that really could kill me with a swipe of their paw. It was intimidating to say the least. I was guided into a cage full of about 4 or 5 full sized tigers and lead over to meet one. My guide told me exactly where I could touch him, but I was hesitant at first. After a little coaching, I got a little more comfortable and did some posing and belly rubbing. It was beyond surreal to be touching such an impressive predator and they were breathtakingly beautiful to look at.
Have you ever had an amazing animal experience? Tell me about it!
If you'd like to see more of my Thailand trip, click here.