So how is it you can walk up and pet these majestic, large beasts without sedating them? Its actually quite simple. To begin with, tigers are naturally nocturnal animals, so during the day, and especially when it is hot they are relatively docile. Add on to that, that these cats have been raise from infancy being touched, pet, played with and exposed to the public, almost to the point of be desensitized to it. That may seen cruel, in itself, but they seemed to me to enjoy it or completely ignore the attention. The relationships that the staff had with the tigers of all sizes seemed really playful and loving. The only discipline I witnessed was a gentle tap on the nose with a bamboo pole if the tiger got a little too rough, which was no more then you would discipline a dog by tapping it on the nose if it growled or bit.
I had such a magical time at Tiger Kingdom, Chiang Mai, and would highly recommend the experience to anyone visiting the area.