Queen Saovabha Snake Farm in Bangkok

December 8, 2011 by

Local Recommendations, Things To Do, Unforgettable Experiences

Queen Saovabha Snake Farm, Bangkok - photo courtesy of Misterx2000 via Wikipedia

Queen Saovabha Snake Farm, Bangkok - photo courtesy of Misterx2000 via Wikipedia

Originating in 1912 as a facility for the manufacture and distribution of  the rabies vaccine after Princess Banlusirisarn died from the disease, the Queen Saovabha Memorial Institute (QSMI) is now a famous center in Bangkok for snake husbandry and the extraction and study of snake venom.

No, this popular tourist destination and bastion of scientific research is not some sort of biological weapons plant, but rather, an institution dedicated to the manufacture of anti-venom, as only antidotes that are based on snake venom itself can combat the potentially lethal effects of bites from the world’s most poisonous snakes.

Following the success of the rabies vaccination campaign, the institute branched out, first into the production of the smallpox vaccine, and then into the production of anti-venom. The facility formally took its current name in 1923 when it was officially reopened by Queen Savang Vadhana, then president of the Thai Red Cross, making it only the second major snake farm in the world.

Conveniently located near Chulalongkorn Hospital on Rama IV Road, QSMI houses an extensive snake farm and museum that is popular with tourists, featuring snake shows (care to handle a python?), exhibits, and lectures. King cobras and vipers abound at the farm, as well as literally thousands of some of the world’s deadliest reptiles.

Shows are performed daily. Hours of operation are 8:30 p.m.-4 p.m. on weekdays, and 8:30 a.m.-noon on weekends. Admission is less than three dollars. For more information: http://www.saovabha.com/en/default.asp

- John Reality

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