Tiger Kingdom in Phuket
Where to See Tigers in Phuket
Tiger Kingdom is a new arrival on Phuket’s attractions scene. It allows you the opportunity to get up close and personal with several Indochinese tigers of varying ages and sizes that have been raised by hand in captivity since birth. Tiger Kingdom is an attractive, squeaky-clean setup located right next to the Go-Kart track in Kathu at the foot of Patong Hill. On four acres of land, it cost approximately 100 million baht to build.
Stroll into reception and you’ll be greeted by a small army of orange-shirted greeters who will lead you through the paperwork necessary in meeting a big cat. For starters, you’ll need to sign a waiver exonerating Tiger Kingdom in case an accident happens, but this is standard procedure and you’ll have to do the same to bungy jump or to go on a zip line through the jungle.
Essentially, this is where you’ll have to decide what size tiger you will visit in its cage: Single ticket prices start at 800 baht and a full combination ticket is 3,500 baht; this allows you to visit all the enclosures petting tigers of all ages with a professional photographer accompanying you in one cage. Predictably enough, the baby tigers are the most popular.
There are strict procedures to follow at Tiger Kingdom: before entering an enclosure you’re asked to leave your belongings outside in a locker, remove your shoes and wash your hands. If you take a camera into the enclosure you are asked (more like told) to turn the flash off but each enclosure has a professional photographer in it to take a (fairly expensive) snap of you petting a tiger. Screens controlled by a computer system announce where you are allowed to be by quoting your ticket number next to the enclosure number. There are safety rules listed on colourful signs throughout Tiger Kingdom. Tiger Kingdom is largely made up of concrete; this facilitates keeping the place clean and yes, the place is almost spotless.
The cats each have a pool in which to play and plenty of natural light. Their feeding time is at 19:00 and the best time of day to visit would appear to be opening time at 09:00 to avoid the crowds and heat.
The cats are simply magnificent, if not a little sleepy (they typically sleep about 18 hours a day) and they are obviously bursting with health. They have been used to human presence since birth and appear somewhat nonchalant about people coming and going even when being petted. Because of safety reasons, smaller children cannot go into the medium or larger tiger enclosures.
But is it dangerous? Well, common sense would say ‘of course’ as even a lifetime of training can go wrong with a large predator but so far so good: Tiger Kingdom in Chiang Mai has been open for years without a serious incident.
There are two restaurants, one with views of the tigers, where you can order a la carte and even have a cocktail or two. There’s a surprisingly large selection of drinks to choose from but, strangely enough, no Tiger Beer.
- Opening Hours: Daily 09:00 – 18:00
- Location: Foot of Patong Hill next to the Go-Kart track
- Tel: 076-323311-2
- Price Range: 800 to 3,500 baht