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Meet Phosphor’s cousins!

Today I had the best day of my life! It was always a dream to get close to a tiger and just outside Chiang Mai, I grabbed that opportunity!

We only arrived in Chiang Mai early this morning, then hiring a motorbike and sorting out accommodation for the next few days, we set about visiting the famous Wats (temple) of the city. After two Wats, we had seen enough Buddhas!

Our hotel had a brochure for Tigerland and we were both quite excited about it and had planned to visit it later in our stay. After visiting the second temple though, we both looked at each other and it was decided. We were going to Tigerland instead. Dark clouds loomed above us, rain threatened all the 15 kms north out of the city but we reached the place and were pleasantly surprised by how few people were visiting.

Having paid the (astronomical by Thai standards – over around £20 per 15 minutes) price to get some time with the tigers, we waited for a ranger to lead us. We paid to see a large tiger and a baby tiger.

We signed the contract – basically taking all responsibility if anything was to happen and headed to the area where the biggest tigers were lazing. I have never experienced nor expected to be so

My cat Phosphor

close the tigers. Also, people get individual time with the tigers so it’s not crowded. After a couple of minutes of apprehension after seeing the size of the beasts, I got close to one and patted her. The tigress was huge but cuddle and like any cats rolled over on her back to allow me to rub her tummy.

The ranger had advised us not to touch the front of tigers’ paws, nor their head area. Also you have to approach the tigers from behind – I would have thought you wouldn’t want to surprise them! Gingerly I touched the tigress, and the ranger told me to be firm otherwise they might think it’s a fly and swat you!

We spent time with two tigresses who were both very cuddly and then went to see the male. Now, this was a big beast – he was much more muscular and had a fierce look. Though I posed for a couple of photos with him, I was a little reluctant to spend too much time too close to him as he looked straight into my eyes and I can tell you I have never been so frightened but at the same time mesmerised as looking back into those eyes!

Having had our 15 minutes each, we went looking for the baby tigers and found a small room where there were tiny cubs playing with people. There were only two people in front of so we joined the queue. When we handed over our tickets, we were told we had paid for baby tigers not new born and these were new born. I was devastated. The guy said to go back to the reception and get our tickets changed, so we almost ran back and paid more to spend time with the new borns.

My cat Phosphor would have been proud of me!

We queued up again and this time we had wash our hand up to our elbows and take off our shoes. They were trying to minimise outside contact to the 20 day old cubs.

What can I say about these cubs – words fail me. But I want one!

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  1. June 27, 2011 at 06:49

    No doubt about it – Phos wouldn’t even register as a small starter for these beauties!

  2. Rich J
    June 28, 2011 at 17:20

    Amazing! Glad you got out with all your bits intact. 🙂

    • June 29, 2011 at 00:16

      Thanks Rich – yes, so are we. At one point I did think my head was going to be inside the big tigeress’ mouth as she leant towards me when I was tickling her tummy. But she was just being affectionate! What are you guys up to now? In fact I’ill visit your blog right now! S x

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