Visiting the Bangkok Snake Farm: Wildlife Conservation and Education
With a strong focus on animal welfare, education and ethics, the Bangkok Snake Farm is making great progress in changing stereotypes. Snakes have been getting a lot of bad press in Thailand over the past few years – toilet snakes, rogue pythons and all manner of other worrying tales.
An Institution With A Mission
The crossroads of Rama IV and Henry Dunant road in central Bangkok is probably the last place you would look to brush up on your knowledge of snakes, however Bangkok Snake Farm has been here educating and exciting tourists and Thais since 1923. While it’s main focus is to educate visitors- Thailand has over 180 different varieties of snakes- it also has another purpose. As part of the Thai Red Cross Institute (and because 56 of those 180 varieties of snakes are deadly!), it is responsible for producing the life saving anti venom used throughout the country. Both of these missions overlap to create one of the most inspiring and informative experiences in Bangkok.
Snakes hold a mythical place in Thai folklore- the Naga Phaya are majestic, serpent like creatures that roam the Mekong river and their statues guard temple entrances across South East Asia. Sadly, Thailand has long been associated with ‘snake farms’, and has earned a dubious reputation when it comes to the treatment of it’s star attraction. This is where the Bangkok Snake Farm shines – large, well maintained enclosures that are home to a bewildering array of snake species, all with informative displays to tell your King Cobra from your Krait. English speaking tour guides are also available, providing insight on everything from feeding habits to current conservation efforts nationwide.
The main draw however, is the live performances. Head to the main auditorium at 11 am to watch a demonstration on venom extraction and at 2.30pm for an opportunity to handle a snake yourself. One of the main takeaways from either performance is that Bangkok Snake Farm genuinely cares for it’s charges, and that enthusiasm rubs off pretty easily. The level of knowledge and respect the Doctors and handlers have is impressive, changing you from someone who deliberately picked seats at the back to having an albino Boa draped across you shoulder for the ‘gram.
Setting an Example
So, looking to be amazed and educated? Put this on your must-see list. Thailand has seen a positive trend of ethically minded travellers in the past decade that is slowly changing the face of how its animals are perceived and treated. Only a short train ride from our Bangkok hostel, the Bangkok Snake Farm is a fantastic example of how animal attractions in Thailand should be.
How to Get to the Bangkok Snake Farm
Entry Fee: 200 Baht
Hours of Operation: 08:30 to 16:30 pm on weekdays – 08:30 to noon on weekends and holidays
Location: Bangkok Snake Farm, 1871 Thanon Rama IV, Thung Maha Mek, Sathon, Bangkok, Thailand.
Head for the Thai Red Cross Institute, at the intersection of Rama IV and Henry Dunant roads. By MRT, aim for Si Lom station, followed by a 5 minute walk.