Although Silom is at the heart of the modern urban environment of Bangkok, it is not without its natural elements. One of those is the snake farm located on the Thai Red Cross Campus. It is a place for research and anti-venom collection as well as a place for entertainment. If you are looking for the wild in Bangkok, and don’t want to go to Patpong, then check out the Bangkok Snake Farm.
The Snake Farm is part of a larger institute that benefits from royal patronage. There is a snake house. Thankfully the exhibited snakes are in glass cages. There is plenty of information to read about the creatures on display. You can see King Cobra, Siamese Cobra, Banded Krait, Malayan Krait, Russell ’s viper, Malayan Pit Viper, White Lipped Pit Viper and Big-Eyed Pit Viper. And that is just the extremely poisonous ones! There are also dozens of other snakes just as fascinating but with less of a deadly reputation.
The area open to the public is like a mini zoo set in pleasant outdoor environs; a touch of the rural in down-town Silom. The snakes are mostly exhibited indoors but the spectacle is outdoors or in the shade. You can spend an hour getting into snakes especially if you catch a show. The kids will love it.
If you are like me then you probably fear snakes, and want to keep your distance. This makes the snake show at 2.30pm (Monday to Friday) compelling viewing. The handlers play with the snakes with astonishing insouciance (and just a touch of distain) while the mc tells the gathered crowd just how deadly his slithering pen mates are. You wonder if the handlers have Buddha amulets supernaturally guaranteed to prevent death by venom or strangulation.
People not content with just watching snakes can keen to get their chance to handle the snakes and take selfies under supervision will want to go to the farm at the weekend. This activity happens at 11am.
For those of a more empirical bent there is the public venom extraction to watch at 11am from Monday to Friday. This is part of a serious attempt to harvest enough anti-venom to provide serums for snake bite victims around the country.
Bangkok snake farm is open every day from 8.30am to 4.30pm. Admission is 200 Thai Baht for adults and 50 Thai Baht for children. There is an onsite café where you can get out of the sun, get a coffee and a bite to eat.
Bangkok Snake Farm scores highly in the ‘things to do’ section on Trip Advisor. On the surface it is a fun and educational activity. People generally love the shows, venom extraction and the chance to hold a Burmese python. People are also enthusiastic about the bucolic setting.
However, zoos in general provoke a moral response from many people. Granted venomous snakes are needed to make serum, but the non-venomous snakes are there just for show; for entertainment. Moreover, some complain the other animals in the zoo are not well cared for.
The other bone of contention is a recurring gripe in Thailand – the dual pricing system. Thais pay 40 Baht, everyone else pays 200 Baht. Fight it or accept it but don’t let it ruin your day.
Address: 1871 Rama IV Road, Phathumwan, Bangkok 10330, Thailand