Chiang Mai 2012: Tiger Kingdom (Day 2)

For our second day in Chiang Mai, we visited Tiger Kingdom. I’m aware of the moral complication associated with this place with the allegation of drugged / beaten tigers, but my stance on the tigers is this: If they aren’t cared for at the Tiger Kingdom, they would have been endangered by us human pushing for modern living (and this includes anyone reading this paragraph) as well as face the dangers of being hunted down by poachers looking for tiger parts.

Visiting Tiger Kingdom was expensive, but so does caring and feeding these big cats. I do believe the money was well-justified in that sense, and that boycotting this place without any real personal effort to better the lives of these tigers is just another example of silly slacktivism.

Day 2 – April 26, 2012

Getting to Tiger Kingdom was easy enough, just approach any of the red tuk tuk van that can be found all around Chiang Mai. We bargained our fare down to about 200-300 baht for our round trip and it took about 20 minutes from the city. Once you get there, you can choose to spend time with four types of tigers – baby, small, medium and large tigers – for 520 baht each. They also have packages consisting of visits to the S, M and L tigers, but we were only interested in the baby and the large tigers so we didn’t buy the package and spent 1,040 baht instead.

We visited the big tigers first. I have to say, I was really scared and nervous to be so close to the large tigers!

Really did not want to touch this big one. They are really big, heavy and intimidating. They were mostly laying around being lazy, but they occasionally open their eyes, and boy does it track you with their piercing stares. I figured I’ve already gone so far, might as well get a picture in.

The tigers were mostly napping throughout the entire day – they are nocturnal beings after all, sleeping 16-18 hours during the day. We try not to bug them in case that makes them angry.

Next we visited the cub cages, which was far less intimidating than their mothers.

Cure little soft paws!

The cubs were really, really cute, but I did get a sense that they just wanted to sleep and be left alone. They are not domesticated animals, so I mostly just took pictures of them sleeping around. A few of them would be awake and playful, like the one above.

After Tiger Kingdom, we went back to the hotel to rest up for the day. We were really exhausted from the heat!

For dinner, we got another recommendation from our hotel lady. She wrote us the address on a piece of paper to give to our tuk tuk driver and it was all in Thai, so I never found out the exact name of it. All I know is that it’s referred to as “dangling feet” restaurant, because the place is located on wooden structure on the second floor and you could choose to be seated on a table with hole below it, as such:

We didn’t sit on these table though. Instead we sat on one of those low tables on the floor. We knew the place was REALLY local when we opened the menu and not a single english alphabet was seen. Thankfully the waiter was able to give us some recommendations with her limited english and fortunately everything was tasty!

For our next day, we had booked a day at Patara Elephant Farm for a day of elephant care taking.

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