My faith in tuk tuks has been restored! Thankfully, Chiang Mai does not offer the same benefits to tuk tuk drivers that Bangkok does, because I have not once been asked to go to any sort of souvenir or fashion shop. They are also way less pushy for your business, which is a plus. Anyway, I took a tuk tuk out to Tiger Kingdom today for the chance to play with some tigers. 🙂
I was in animal loving bliss. I got to play with 1 month old tigers, 5 month old tigers, and tigers over a year old. I have heard some horrible things about these types of places, namely Tiger Temple just outside of Bangkok. I was worried that I was going to pay money to help in tiger maltreatment with sedatives and other drugs to make them tame. However, I was pleasantly surprised to read that they don’t use any sort of drugs on them at all.
Not only that, I was able to see firsthand how the tigers acted (obviously, since I was taking photos with them). While they were rather tame, I believe it was merely because these tigers have been born and raised in captivity and are well trained. They see hundreds of people day after day and therefore are not frightened or surprised by us. You can see liveliness in their eyes, at least a lot in the younger ones, and they can be quite playful and mobile so I don’t think they have been drugged at all. Some of the bigger and older ones seemed a bit more sedate, but I think that was more due to the fact that it was mid-day nap time than an indication of drugs.
Satisfied with the state of the tigers, I was able to enjoy petting and sitting with these beautiful creatures for an hour or so. Just remember…if you want to see tigers without seeing obvious mistreatment of them, check out Tiger Kingdom in Chiang Mai!
UPDATE! I would also suggest not wearing a dress; I reminded of why I never where dresses at Tiger Kingdom. I struggled immensely with remaining decently covered as the trainer would take photos of me and say “ok now crouch next to the tiger, like this” and demonstrate by putting his face near the tiger’s face and his rear up in the air.
Don’t wear a dress.