Close Encounter With Tigers in Pattaya: They Roar, But Have a Heart of Gold

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The tigers in the park in Pattaya are huge but the genteel giants have a heart of gold.

I visited the “Tiger Park” in Pattaya in December, 2017, along with my younger son Arjun, who lives in America and had just come on a vacation.

Read Part 1 Here; Lure of Bangkok – a Trading Post That is Now World’s Tourist Destination

Read Part 2 Here; A Tiger Temple That Pawed Its Way to Disgrace in Thailand

Close Encounter With Tigers in Pattaya: They Roar, But Have a Heart of Gold

Even walking around the park in the open area is quite interesting because one can see the tigers inside their enclosures at close quarters, providing opportunities for taking snaps, of a much better quality than what one can in the best zoos in the world.

There are admission tickets available to get into the enclosures.T here are four different sizes of tigers, Cub, Small, Medium, Large, each having a different price for entry to its enclosure. The prices are very reasonable.

If visitors are  not faint-hearted they can actually enter the enclosures and experience unbelievable close encounters with these Tigers. The staff succeed in convincing them that these fantastic animals are not aggressive in their interactions with people. The tigers are very relaxed, but at the same time, devoid of the stupor caused by drugging noticed in the Tigers of the Temple.

Close Encounter With Tigers in Pattaya: They Roar, But Have a Heart of Gold

Visitors who are brave enough to enter the enclosure of the three biggest tigers are sometimes greeted by the intimidating roar of the most massive of the three, inducing trepidation  in them.  However, the Park officials calm them down saying that the big fellow would not harm them.

Thanks to their assurance visitors can enjoy the experience of petting the hugest tiger, putting their arms around him, and placing their heads on his belly. Some of them even venture to lift one of his legs, lift his tail which is thick hard and heavy as steel, and gently pretend to bite it.

However what if the great beast unpredictably gets irritated and attacks them? Would he not turn them  into minced meat, considering that even the most experienced Park official,  though well trained and also has  a certain familiarity with the tiger because of his close association is not exactly a Jim Corbett. It is this thought that introduces an element of danger and thrill.

Close Encounter With Tigers in Pattaya: They Roar, But Have a Heart of Gold

The Park authorities enforce a few important rules to ensure the safety of visitors when inside the Tiger Enclosures. Professionally trained staff are present with them all the time. The staff make sure that safety which is a top priority, is not compromised, at any stage. They advise the visitors to strictly observe certain rules when they want to get a picture with the tigers too. If inside the enclosure, the visitor wishes to hug the tigers, touch them, lean on them, or lift a leg or gently pretend to bite the tail, then they are there to make this happen, under their supervision.

My son remarked that even for a million dollars one would not get such an experience in America, or Europe, and  that for the first time he understood the incredible power and symmetry of the limbs of such a large tiger so beautifully expressed by William Blake in the first four stanzas of his fantastic poem “The Tyger” and which he had read at school.

“Tyger Tyger, burning bright,

In the forests of the night;

What immortal hand or eye,

Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies.

Burnt the fire of thine eyes?

On what wings dare he aspire?

What the hand, dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art,

Could twist the sinews of thy heart?

And when thy heart began to beat,

What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain,

In what furnace was thy brain?

What the anvil? what dread grasp,

Dare its deadly terrors clasp!

I could appreciate the excitement and thrill he felt being poetically inclined myself, as well as fond of wild life.

The park has also a coffee shop, and a snack bar.

A visitor can have a delicious lunch buffet at the restaurant or even have a cup of coffee, or soft drink or snacks, after having had the fantastic time inside the enclosures with the beautiful tigers. One can buy souvenirs from a gift shop.

Close Encounter With Tigers in Pattaya: They Roar, But Have a Heart of Gold

Truly the “Tiger Park” provides you with “a once in a lifetime experience”, which you can narrate to your grandchildren with pride and nostalgia and kindle in them a compulsive urge to visit the park.

(This is the last of the three part series on Thailand and the Tiger Parks)

Read Part 1 Here; Lure of Bangkok – a Trading Post That is Now World’s Tourist Destination

Read Part 2 Here; A Tiger Temple That Pawed Its Way to Disgrace in Thailand

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