Category Archives: Thailand

#50 Visit Tiger Kingdom: Chiang Mai: Thailand 100 Family Travel Experiences

I couldn’t wait to see Tiger Kingdom. The little kid dream of seeing a tiger up close. When I saw that Thailand had several places one could visit with Tigers I knew I would go. I read the reviews. I read about responsible tourism. I debated myself about whether I should go. In the end, I knew I had to go. I had to see it for myself. I had to have the experience. 

Tiger Kingdom was well managed and clean. Much like many zoos one goes to the tigers are in pens. The tigers on display have larger areas to roam and I saw no evidence that they were drugged. On the contrary, they were active and engaged in play with the handlers. They had toys, games and other activities to keep them busy. Nocturnal by nature, some tigers were asleep but would occasionally get up to wander. 

My kids were not allowed in with the largest tigers. My son stayed with the babies. He got to bottle feed them. My daughter enjoyed two different sizes. We encountered the largest.  Following our guide, he stated that we were to stay with him at all times, not make sudden movements and to stay behind him. Equipped with only a large prod, it was clear there was little he was join to do if our tiger decided to turn. We went in and our Tiger was might and magnificent. He lay down, head raised and we were guided to sit beside him. We could rub his side, touch his back and paws. Another guide took pictures. Anything our guide said, we did. At one point he said to lie down and put my head on it’s belly and I did. I kept thinking how My mother would kill me if she saw me doing this. All of a sudden, he jumped up and lunged at the cage in front of us a wheel chair went by. Clearly he saw the wheels turn and wanted to play or attack them. He paced back and forth watching the oblivious person in the wheelchair. We backed away.

We walked around to several other tigers. Each one allowing us to visit and touch them. One sleeping tiger was our guides favorite and he showed us his huge teeth. It was about then that I snapped back into reality and realized I was in a cage surrounded by tigers. 

I have since recommended Tiger Kingdom to friends. Yet, I do so with reservation. Please understand that I truly believe in responsible tourism and the importance of understanding what it is you are impacting when visiting places like this. It is also important to truly take time to understand the plight of the tiger. 

So if you do visit, or just find this blog post interesting. Please take time to help the Tigers. 

http://www.savetigersnow.org

 

 

Chiang Mai Flower Parade

One of the favorite events that we just stumbled into last year about this time was the Chiang Mai Flower Festival in Chiang Mai, Thailand.  Parades, music, flowers, and dancers. This huge festival happens usually in early February and will be held February 7-9, 2014.

We just happened to be in the area and saw it on the schedule last year. The parade went right by the Inn where we were staying and we sat outside and ate and took in the amazing sights. The elaborate floats and costumes were stunning. Some floats display the history and heritage of the land, some pay homage to Buddah or the king and others represented organizations or trades. Each was fantastic and they provided us a beautiful gallery of photos to come home with!

Here is a collection of our pictures to enjoy. If you are in Thailand now – make your way to Chiang Mai to see the Chiang Mai Flower Festival.

http://www.tatnews.org/chiang-mai-flower-festival-2014/

The smile you get when you hear from your traveler friends….

Today, I got an e-mail from Tam who was the mahout who taught us to ride elephants and bathe them in a river near Chiang Mai, Thailand. His note was a simple hello that was filled with kindness. He spoke of the weather and a new baby elephant. In broken English he said to say “Hi” to the kids. That note made me smile and took me quickly back to our day with the elephants, eating fresh pad thai in a bamboo hut in the jungle of Northern Thailand.

On Monday, we heard from friends we had traveled with on a live-aboard dive boat on the Great Barrier Reef. We became fast friends, quickly learning to navigate on a night dive through a swim-through with a moray eel on one side and a reef shark on the other.

There is something so special about a simple e-mail or Facebook message from a friend you have met on the road. It brings you back to your experience with that person and reminds you of your adventure. So if you have traveled and met someone special…or met a traveler and have befriended them, I suggest you reach out to them today!  Put a smile on someone’s face.

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