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Up close and personal with the mighty Siberian Tigers at Harbin’s Siberian Tiger Park #FreezingHarbin

This is continuity from my earlier post on Harbin.

Yes, we were in Harbin just in time for the annual Ice and snow Festival, so the main attraction would naturally be the Ice and Snow carvings at the festival sites and around town. I have to admit that the festival and ice and snow sculptures are impressive. I have shared some in my previous post here and will write more about the festival in my next post.

There is however one more attraction in Harbin that in my opinion is as cool as the festivals. The Siberian Tiger Park!

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Located just outside the city, on the north bank of the Songhua River this natural park occupies an area of 1,440,000 square meters (355.8 acres) making it the largest natural park for wild Siberian tigers in the world at present.

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Siberian Tiger is considered an endangered species and therefore the creation of a Siberian Tiger Park is considered as a step in ensuring that the tigers are being taken care of. A noble effort although some of the activities like throwing live chickens and live animals to be fed to the tiger as part of a tour (visitors need to pay for the chickens) have created a fair share of controversies.

We were at the park early in the morning, braving the cold temperature of around -25 degrees Celsius. Getting there was as simple as pointing the photo of a Siberian Tiger on my phone to the taxi driver.  We even decided to charter the same taxi driver for our return journey.

Admission is CNY90 inclusive of the bus ride.

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Yes a bus ride. The main portion of this attraction is enjoyed on a 20-30 minutes bus tour. At this Siberian Tiger Park, most of the tigers are able to roam freely within the boundary of the park while visitors are caged up in buses to enjoy the sight of the tigers. Just like a Safari experience except instead of being on top of sexy Safari jeep, you got to be in a stuffy mini bus.

Thanks to the extremely cold weather outside and warm ambiance inside the bus, the windows were all fogged up making photography and even viewing quite a challenge. But for those who know me, I would work hard to get the best shots, even if if have to continuously wipe the windows.

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The bus travels into different sections of the park that showcases different types of tigers at different age groups.

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It doesn’t take long before we saw our first tiger.

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Slowly we were surrounded by more tigers with not less than 6 tigers at one time. Amazing sight.

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The combination of the tiger’s majestic black and yellow stripes against the plain white snow makes it a sight that I would remember for a long time.

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Beautiful big cats.

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The controversial live feeding activity. A truck came in, threw the chicken into the area and the rest is just history. The tigers are fast in trying to be the first to get the chicken. I don’t enjoy this and lets just hope it will not be a permanent feature of the Safari experience.

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After the bus tour, we were brought to a raised platform area where we are able to view the tigers enjoying the day from the safety of the viewing platform.

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A much easier way to capture photos of the tiger. That if both you and your cameras could stand the cold temperature.

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The white tiger.

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Then my cameras went crazy after being exposed to the cold weather for a bit too long.

I would highly recommend visiting the Siberian Tiger Park if you’re visiting Harbin. The tigers are adorable and I had never seen this many tigers at one place. It is great for kids and would make a nice half-day family activity before going to the Ice and Snow festivals in the evening.

One for the album!

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Next up, Harbin Ice and Snow Festival.

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