There are some iconic photos you’ll always want to capture on any trip to the Far East. These may include a picture of you sitting on an elephant, standing in front of a golden-spired temple or some ancient ruins, definitely in a chaotic public market, and, finally, a snapshot of you with a tiger. Yes, I’m talking about a real-life tiger like you’d see in Jungle Book or something.
Well, that’s exactly what you’ll get when you visit the Tiger Park in Pattaya, Thailand. For those who don’t know, Pattaya is Thailand’s “Sin City,” sort of like a Las Vegas on steroids with plenty of scandalous adult fun at the bars on Walking Street. But the city has come a long way in cleaning up its image, closing down bars and focusing on attracting more families and couples as a tourist destination.
They’ve been hugely successful, and now there are plenty of fun family activities in Pattaya, including this Tiger Park. (Granted, you might question the wisdom of putting your children in a cage with a live tiger, but that’s a personal call!)
But they focus on safety at the Tigers Park in Pattaya, as well as the ethical treatment of these animals. The best part is that entrance to the park is free, so you can walk around and look at the fierce felines, as well as their other animals.
But you can also pay (it’s not cheap – but worth it!) to take a photo with one of the big tigers. These things are massive and so beautiful, measuring up to 15 feet from snout to tail and weighing as much as ten men. I was amazed to see them so up close.
The workers there brief you on safety and make sure you always sit behind the tigers so you don’t startle them. But you can pet them or pick up their tails or whatever you wish as their photographer snaps away.
For those who aren’t so brave, you can get in with their tiger cubs, which are just about the cutest things you’ve ever seen. Seriously – they are so playful and adorable that you won’t want to leave, and those photos and videos will be priceless!
As I mentioned, they usually have other wild animals indigenous to Thailand on display in pens, too, but it’s far from another zoo. But they do offer scheduled shows with the tigers, elephants, or even crocodiles! The place is clean, well maintained, and as far as I can see, they treat the animals well. The staff was also helpful and answered questions.
I know that some people have some serious reservations about zoos, animal shows, and any venue where they cage wild beasts like tigers, and rightfully so. But it looked to me like they took very good care of these animals and they were strong and well fed.
I wish you could spend a little more time in the cages or interacting with them for the steep 1,000 Baht (USD $33) price, but it’s well worth two hours or so when you’re in Pattaya!