Touching a Royal Bengal Tiger in koh samui
One of the highlights of my trip to Koh Samui was an encounter with a Royal Bengal Tiger. These creatures are magnificent and often evoke fear and awe. They are royal, majestic, graceful and have formidable power.
When I saw the sign I knew I had to go inside. To be honest I didn’t think about the danger aspect and I wasn’t the least scared. All I wanted to do was to cuddle this beautiful animal and to be up close with him.
Meet and greet the Royal Bengal Tiger
After I paid the fee (300 Baht) I was taken to a room with a large slab of cement in the middle. I was so excited! The tiger was tied with a chain and his trainer was speaking to him. The poor tiger was hot and I could see his chest heaving up and down. First I wanted to dash towards him and sit down but the trainer was firm and told me to stay away until he calls me. After he was tickling the giant with a huge coconut leaf, the tiger calmed down and was lying down.
I was so ready to touch him!
Finally, it was my turn and I moved to the back of the tiger. The trainer was very good and handled the tiger with care but he was firm – even with me. Before I knew it, I had my hands all over the tiger and couldn’t get enough of his soft skin.
What does it feel like to be close to a Bengal Tiger?
The feeling is indescribable! I have only seen them in the zoo and now I had the opportunity to be close to one. Touch it, feel it and cuddle it. I ran my fingers through his fur and I saw his chest heaving. I wanted to hug him but my time was over. The trainer only allows you enough time with the tiger in order not to upset him or make him too excited. My time was up and I had to say goodbye. It was the most wonderful experience and I will never forget it.
A difference of opinion
My friends joined us later and after my experience I highly recommended them to go and have a cuddle. Remember what I said in the beginning about them stirring up fear and awe. I was filled with awe but my friends were scared and didn’t enjoy it at all. I think it is important to remember that this is a wild animal and he could hurt you or even kill you.
The role of the trainer is extremely important. I felt comfortable with the trainer and he obviously knew how to deal with the tiger. Will I recommend it to other travelers? Oh yes! It is something that you have to experience. But if you are scared remember that the tiger can smell it and it is best to stay away.
[ale_alert style=”green”] This Royal Bengal tiger was one year old. [/ale_alert]
Where: Koh Samui, Thailand
When: 9 March 2013