By now you probably already know that your next holiday will be to Thailand, you know that you want to get up close to the big cats which Asia is famous for, and you might have heard that Tiger Kingdom is the safest and most ethical place to do so. But before you take the plunge and hand over your hard-earned cash in exchange for what promises to be the most thrilling and engaging experience of your whole holiday (maybe even your life!), here are the top 10 things you absolutely must know about Tiger Kingdom before buying your tickets online.
1. Let’s start with the basics, what and where is Tiger Kingdom?
Tiger Kingdom is a group of three zoos situated in Thailand, one in Phuket and two in Chiang Mai, where visitors are offered a chance to take part in world class animal encounters and educational experiences. By far our most popular and exciting thing to do is to meet Boy and Bank, our two gentle GIANT Bengal tigers, and when we say meet, we mean literally walking into their enclosure, sitting with them, and stroking them. Under the supervision of our expert keepers of course! If the thought of being this close to two 300 kg ‘top of the food chain’ predators sounds a bit daunting then we completely understand! Maybe you would prefer to meet the cubs. Depending on the season and how busy our tigers have been (wink wink!) we will probably have a few running around, and they are simply the cutest little creatures you have ever seen! You and your own cubs can meet the youngsters and have your photo taken with them, and you will not be able to believe that something this friendly and playful can have a reputation for being a man-eating predator! Be warned though, the tiger cubs are just like kittens, they are either fast asleep, or running around all over the place like crazy cats! They have their own schedule, and they are happier when this is not disrupted, so we unfortunately cannot help it if the cubs are sleeping for the entirety of your visit. They need lots of rest if they are going to grow into the likes of Boy and Bank! Tiger Kingdom is also home to Cheetahs and you have the opportunity hear them purr in contentment and give them a big fuss as you make a new friend!
2. The Tiger Kingdom Learning Center in Mae Taeng, Chiang Mai, offers the only Zookeeper Experience in Thailand!
For the more adventurous travelers among you, we offer the chance to get behind the scenes and spend the whole day with our guide who will teach you everything about what it takes to look after our magnificent tigers, cheetahs, and Dave, our big beautiful male lion. You will be involved in everything that our Keeper does, from cleaning the enclosures and day-to-day health care, to feeding the big cats and participating in their enrichment program. Our focus at the Learning Center is more directed at education, research, and conservation, rather than the close-up encounters offered at our other locations.
3. Tiger Kingdom is safe to visit and our animal’s well-being is our top priority.
Provided you follow the instructions of the keeper when you enter the animal’s enclosure, it will be safe to touch them. There are general rules that you must follow, for example, only approach tigers from behind, do not touch the face or paws, give a firm touch not a light one, no sudden movements etc. Our expert tiger keepers will guide you through your experience and make sure that both you and our animals are looked after. We have a team of on-site veterinarians who work alongside animal nutritionists and animal husbandry technicians to ensure a high standard of welfare and the good health of the animals on a day-to-day basis.
4. Our animals are never given anything to make them calm.
There are a lot of unfortunate and unfounded rumors circulating on the internet regarding drugs and our animals. It is a persistent myth which is constantly being busted, not only by visitors who witness our beautiful animals for themselves, but also by visiting vets, researchers, volunteers and most importantly by the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, and the Zoo Licensing Authority, who have independently taken and tested blood samples and would not allow us to operate if there was any sign of mistreatment towards our animals.
The big cats that you can meet during your animal encounters were born and hand-raised at Tiger Kingdom (hand-raising cubs has been to proven increase survival rate and to reduce stress in zoo animals) and the daily human contact helps to create a bond between tiger and keeper and makes the animal more responsive to positive reinforcement training. Our tigers have no fear of humans and do not see us as prey, as such they do not feel any aggression towards us.
There are many reasons why we would never sedate the tigers other than when strictly necessary for medical emergencies; for example, sedation and anesthetics can be dangerous, we would not want to jeopardize the health of our tigers; a sedated animal is unpredictable, it would be too dangerous to enter an enclosure with a sedated animal; sedating such large animals is expensive, doing so would compromise the viability of the zoo. Furthermore, sedation is simply not necessary, tigers sleep for 18-20 hours a day, so the likelihood is that the tigers will be quite relaxed during your visit, especially if the weather is hot.
5. The best time to visit is early in the morning or later in the afternoon.
The most exhilarating thing about Tiger Kingdom is seeing our animals when they are wide awake and playing, and this is most likely to occur when the weather isn’t too hot. Just after opening time is great as you will beat the crowds, and the tigers will be well rested and well fed. You will see the animals explore their enclosures, play, and begin to search out the best shady spots before the midday sun hits. Come in the late afternoon if you want to see the tigers being even more active. Just before 4pm, the weather cools slightly and the tigers wake up in anticipation of their 6 o’clock mealtime, it is at this point in the day when you will most likely see spectacular play fights and lots of splashes coming from the tiger’s pool! Please note though, that due to the increased activity, it may not be possible to approach the tigers during this time. If you want to visit the cats when they are at their most relaxed, then late morning and early afternoon will be the best option for you. At this time, our tigers are almost certainly going to be dozing and will be conserving their energy whilst the temperature is at its highest.
6. Not all Thai zoos are nice places.
It is an unfortunate fact that not all zoos have their animal’s welfare at the top of their priority list. There are well known zoos in Thailand which chain their tigers so that they cannot move, and there are some which remove their tigers’ claws or even their teeth, there are even some which have dubious connections to do with the trade of illegal tiger parts and which have had animals mysteriously disappear. Tiger Kingdom is not like these zoos!
All our animals are fully intact, they all have their claws and big sharp teeth, and they are never ever restricted in their movement. Furthermore, Tiger Kingdom has not and will not ever participate in the illegal trade of tigers or tiger parts. Not only do we condemn the practice, but we are heavily regulated by the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP), which oversees the birth, life, and death of all our animals. This includes microchipping and photo identification at birth (a tiger’s stripes are as unique as a human’s fingerprints), and the recording and cremation of any deceased animal. These steps ensure that body parts do not fall into the wrong hands. Tiger Kingdom is not permitted to keep any tiger parts following the death of a tiger unless it is with express permission from the DNP and for good reason (i.e., educational purposes). In these cases, the DNP has a detailed record of every part kept so that they can be easily identified in the case that they are stolen. Our animals are never sold or ‘disappear’, they stay in our care for life and are provided with everything that they need to be happy and healthy animals, forever.
7. Most of our visitors arrive by taxi or tuk-tuk (or Red truck in Chiang Mai).
We do not currently offer our own transport service but there are a few different options when it comes to getting to us. Tuk-Tuks are a fun and convenient method of transport it is a great option if you want to make your visit to Tiger Kingdom part of a day trip. You can hire the driver for the day, and they can show you the sights and take you on all the excursions that pique your interest. Another adventurous way to get to us is by renting a motorbike, this way gives you the freedom to explore Thailand on your own terms and allows you to find the lesser-known local spots. Just make sure to wear a helmet!
8. Don't trust people offering cheap Tiger Kingdom tickets.
As with all popular tourist spots there are unscrupulous people who set out to scam unsuspecting visitors. The scam goes like this; a person with access to someone’s payment details (a cashier in a restaurant for example) steals the card details and saves them for later. They then offer cheap tickets to one of their next customers at a huge discount. The visitor, thinking that they are getting a good deal pays for the cheap tickets in cash. The vendor then purchases tickets in the customer’s name using the stolen credit card from earlier and emails the cash paying customer their tickets. Eventually the person who had their card stolen sees the fraudulent payment and reports it. The fraud gets investigated and it leads back to you as the customer, having purchased the tickets online in your name. You are now suspected in a fraud investigation all for the sake of trying to get a cheap deal. If something sounds too good to be true (like super cheap tickets from an unofficial agent) it probably is. This leads us onto point 9…
9. Buying tickets through the official website offers the best customer protection
And guarantees that your money is going directly to taking care of the tigers rather than to a third party. E-tickets are for sale on the official Tiger Kingdom website, with payments being processed by PayPal (all major cards accepted), so you know it is safe. What is more, when you buy direct, if you need to cancel your holiday for any reason (a global pandemic for example), we will happily issue a full refund for you provided the ticket has not be used and it is still within its validity period. This is not something that can be guaranteed when purchasing via an agent.
10. Buy your tickets now to secure the best deal! Tiger Kingdom is offering its best ever deal right now! Buy Early Bird tickets online now at today's discounted price and use them at any time in 2021! You must be quick though, Early Bird tickets are only available to purchase until 30th June, at which point the normal prices will resume and you will have missed out on the discount. This offer will not be repeated and is only available for tickets purchased through the official Tiger Kingdom website.
Congratulations! You are now fully informed on the top 10 things that you absolutely must know about Tiger Kingdom before buying your tickets online, and you can go ahead and make your purchase with confidence!
The official Tiger Kingdom website is www.tigerkingdom.com.
For Tiger Kingdom Phuket tickets visit www.tigerkingdom.com/phuket.
For Tiger Kingdom Chiang Mai tickets visit www.tigerkingdom.com/chiangmai.
If you are interested in our Keeper for a Day Experience visit www.tigerkingdom.com/keeperforaday.
We can’t wait to be the highlight of your holiday! We will see you soon!