The Queen Saovabha Institute Snake Farm in Thailand, located near Chulalongkorn Hospital on the intersection of Henry Dunant Road and King Rama IV Road, is an institute that specializes in breeding poisonous snakes to create antidotes and extracting venoms from snakes for research and study. It was founded in 1923 as an extension of other immunization medical services for the treatment of diseases like rabies and smallpox, which were still regarded as highly incurable during the reign of King Rama VI.
The Queen Saovabha Institute Snake Farm was named in honor of Queen Saovabha, mother of King Rama VI, who was an advocate of all kinds of medical causes including birthing practices in Thailand. The Queen Saovabha Institute Snake Farm was said to be the second snake farm in the whole world: the first was located in San Paolo, Brazil. It is the leading center for the study of snakes and anti-venoms. And with 56 venomous snakes of 180 species of snakes in Thailand, an establishment like this does not only serve as a tourist attraction but also as an extremely helpful tool in medicine and education.
There are two principal objectives in the Institutes: the first is to produce antidotes for snake bites and the second is to educate the people about the different kinds and poisonous kinds of snakes, debunk myths, teach first aid and even give instructions as to what you can do if you ever encounter one.
The Institute makes anti-venom serums by extracting venoms from a poisonous snake, injecting it into a horse, and then later extracting it again for purification process and for further testing. The millions and millions of anti-venom preparations that they make are distributed for use nationwide.
On the side, the Institute tries to raise some money by hosting snake shows in the premises. The snake shows include the feeding of snakes and the extraction of poison from deadly snakes. A video presentation about the Institute, its history, work and mission is also shown to visitors about 30 minutes before the show. You are also welcome to visit the property and stroll through their garden where the snakes are kept in cages.
The Institute may be a bit crowded with tourists, but it’s going to be really worth it. The Queen Saovabha Institute Snake Farm is definitely one of the must-see places in Thailand offering the exotic kind of fun for the adventurous and the intellectual stimulation for the serious-minded.
Taking pictures is allowed. Arrive 30 minutes before the show if you want to see the Institute’s video presentation as well. Snake handlers can tell you the most poisonous snakes known to man in Thailand.
Opening Hours: The Institute is open from 8:30 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. Mondays through Fridays and 8:30 A.M. to 12:00 Noon on holidays.
How to Get There: It’s easy to get to the Queen Saovabha Institute Snake Farm by train. Ride the MRT and get off Silom Station. Walk along the King Rama IV Road until you see the corner of Henry Dunant Road.