Cuddling with the Tigers

Things to do with kids in Bali

When you are traveling with kids, you have to settle with a few compromises. If I really want to go see the Old Town of Phuket, I might have to find something cool along the way so they feel that the trip is worth it.

We went to our little tourist information booth to find some options (we actually made friends with them!). The kids started pulling out a bunch of brochures of things that they thought were totally cool. As you can imagine Tiger Kingdom  was one of them!

We hired a driver, which was cheaper than going on a group tour. We spent about $50 for the whole day for the 4 of us in a very large van!

Our stop at Tiger Kingdom

First stop was Cosimo’s request the Tiger Kingdom . Here you can hang out in the cage with the tigers!

cuddling with tigers

You are probably thinking that I’m a terrible and crazy mother! Maybe a little!

The tigers are born into human care so they are used to people. They do not want to hunt you or to hurt you. However the staff is there to help you during your encounter. Their main job is to ensure your safety. We never felt in danger while we were in there.

Luca and tiger

About the tigers

The tigers are handled, stroked and pat every day. Even the biggest of hands or the roughest of pats does not usually bother them. What can actually make them react badly is a very gentle to touch. This feels more like a tickle to them and it can irritate a sleeping tiger. It is best to stroke firmly to avoid any unpleasant reaction.

In the wild the tiger spend most of the day sleeping. They do the same there. That is why they are so relaxed when you go and see them. We were guaranteed that none of the tigers at Tiger Kingdom  are drugged.


How did Tiger Kingdom start

In the early eighties, the owner of Tiger Kingdom was given a baby tigeri, in central Thailand, because its mother had been killed by hunters in the wild. A villager gave it to him because he had land and money and could take care of the animal. As he got more animals he needed to make money in order to get more land and care for the tigers. The land where that original ‘rescue centre’ stood in Ratchaburi is now a zoo, home to many wild animals.

The first Tiger Kingdom was opened in Chiang Mai in 2008 and is now home to 53 tigers, although when it first opened, it was more of a conventional type of zoo, where visitors’ contact with tigers was non-existent. Initially the tigers were in cages like regular zoos. One day, some Australian visitors asked if they could get closer to the animals, like the trainers were doing. Ever since then people have had the chance to do this.

Our feelings about this encounter

The kids were extremely excited to go there. This was our first big trip to an international destination that wasn’t Italy. Plus the idea of having a chance to touch these scary animals was very exciting. However kids don’t realize the dangers as well as the sufferance that animals have to endure when their freedom mistaken away. I gave them the chance to experience this in the hope to give them a better understanding of how unfair life is for these wild animals.

Once we left Tiger Kingdom the thrill was gone. Questions started coming up constantly. They could not understand why these animals were not reacting to their presence. In the cartoons they saw, tigers were scary, not docile like this.

After this experience, we visited a zoo and they started looking it with other eyes. They were not excited anymore for seeing an animal so close, but actually in pain in witnessing the conditions they lived in. They started observing.

Now we don’t visit zoo’s anymore. We only visit animal rescues. We want to witness and help, if possible only the organizations that actually want to help the animals, not the ones that use them for profit!

If you want to see more about Thailand click here!

Check out the lovely hotel we stayed at Seapines Villa Liberg!!!

Emma and tiger

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