January 23, 2017
Petting Tigers in Phuket, Thailand
Straight to the Point
Tiger Kingdom is a franchise in Thailand that lets visitors enter cages with domesticated tigers. You can pet and take photos with the furry animals. The franchise has locations in Chiang Mai and Phuket.
The park is about a 20-minute taxi ride from Patong, the main tourist area of Phuket. When you get there you quickly learn that the tigers are raised in captivity from a young age and grow up exposed to humans. They’re also pretty well trained and relatively friendly. There are four sizes of tigers you can choose to visit:
- ‘Smallest’: Age 2-4 months, 1,300 Baht
- ‘Small’: Age 5-10-months, 900 Baht
- ‘Medium’: Age 11-15 months, 900 Baht
- ‘Big’: Age 16-36 months, 1,000 Baht
I bought tickets to see the ‘smallest’ and ‘small’ tigers. I didn’t want to wait in the one hour line to see the ‘big’ tiger. The trainers allow a limited number of visitors to enter the cages at a time (presumably for safety) and supervise the entire visit. The tigers were trained to lie down when guests were around and we were encouraged to pet them-as long as we avoided their heads! As soon as the trainers would look away, the younger tigers would get up and start playing with each other and running around the cage-super cute!
I should also mention that the trainers were very helpful in taking photos. They’d tell us which angles would look best for photos and offered to take pictures using our cameras even though Tiger Kingdom had photographers you could pay for.
Although the entire experience was supervised and the tigers are raised around humans, they’re still wild animals. We had to sign the typical lawsuit waivers agreeing not to sue if we were injured by the tigers. The tigers seemed to be very well trained and friendly, but you never know what can happen!
Tiger Kingdom in ThailandYou can go into cages with live tigers at this place in Phuket!
Posted by ArisTravels on Monday, January 23, 2017
Some people don’t feel comfortable supporting establishments like this in Thailand because they think the tigers look drugged and because the tigers live in cages. I can understand why it appears the animals might be drugged as they’re extremely calm and docile when the trainers have them lie down while there’s visitors around. But on the other hand, when the trainers walked away the animals would be quick to get up and start playing with each other, so they didn’t look to be drugged-but I obviously have no way of knowing. The cages are a decent size but of course aren’t ideal for any large animal built for nature. If you’re concerned about the treatment of these animals and the safety of visiting them, you need to do your own research and decide whether or not you want to visit. I’m curious what everyone’s thoughts are on the subject. Comment below and let me know!