Banded rat snake at the Snake Farm — Photo courtesy of Dave StamboulisThailand has 190 species of snakes, of which 61 are venomous, and yet not that long ago, the country had to rely on imported antivenom to try to combat local snake bites. This led to the establishment of Bangkok's Queen Saovabha Institute, which was founded in 1929 when Her Royal Highness Princess Sasipong Prapai created a “Four Snakes Fund” to support the Siam Red Cross in its efforts to treat victims of venomous animal bites, as well as create a public awareness and research center for education.
Eighty years later, the institute has expanded to a five-story building which includes an exhibition area for 35 species of living snakes, a 100-seat arena for venom extraction, a museum and exhibition about snake evolution, anatomy, toxicology and snake bite first-aid, along with a highly developed research center and the outdoor serpentarium for snake exhibits and handling shows. A perfect spot to step out of the rain.
Snake venom extraction at the Queen Saovabha Institute — Photo courtesy of Dave Stamboulis
The museum features venom extraction demonstrations along with state-of-the-art videos, and highly informative displays on everything to do with snakes and their venom. The pièce de résistance at the Snake Farm is the live handling show, where many of the most poisonous and largest snakes are brought out for photo opportunities and a bit of bravado between them and their keepers.
Spend your rainy morning or afternoon here, followed by some shopping and a movie at the nearby designer Siam Paragon Mall, and then head over to Uncle John's for some five-star streetside dining. Perhaps get your rainy day blues out with a few cold ones and some live music at the Adhere The 13th Blues Bar.