Can You Hold Snakes at the Snake Farm in Bangkok?

Thailand’s traditional local snake shows have long been vexing for animal lovers. The Bangkok Snake Farm, on the other hand, is a welcome surprise and cause for celebration. Getting here is among the best things to do in Bangkok.

The Thai Red Cross Society’s Queen Saovabha Memorial Institute, founded in 1923, is among the city’s most educational and oldest attractions. You can safely bring kids to see some of the more frightening but still fascinating aspects of the reptile world. 

It’s not like the touristy snake farms located in other Thai regions. But be warned: the Snake Farm in Bangkok isn’t for the faint of heart!

However, among the reasons tourists go to snake farms is the possibility of getting to hold the snakes. So, can tourists hold the snakes on the farm? Continue reading to find out. 

What You Can Expect

Thailand’s so-called “snake farms” do not have the best reputation, but the Bangkok Snake Farm is an ethical and refreshing place to satisfy your curiosity or even fears. The farm has large, well-kept displays with detailed descriptions of every species that inhabits them. Many people will find a visit to the Bangkok Snake Farm to be an eye-opening experience.

You’ll discover how few snakes are dangerous and that many are beneficial to have around the house because they keep pests at bay.

The Bangkok Snake Farm is home to various snakes, including electric green tree snakes, radiated rat snakes, dazzling rainbow snakes with changing scales in the light, and the highly venomous black and yellow striped branded krait. The Queen Saovabha Memorial Institute, which collaborated with the farm, specializes in extracting venom from venomous snakes to create antidotes. During the live educational session, you might even see a snake being “milked.”

What stands out the most is the doctor’s enthusiasm for explaining the habits of the massive snake in his hands. The snake is always treated with kindness and respect. When a giant albino boa constrictor joins the auditorium, it is always the children who volunteer to hold the friendly snake. The Bangkok Snake Farm progressively challenges visitors’ preconceived notions, and even the most fearful may become a fan of snakes.

Educating the General Public on Snakes

two brown snakes in their glass cage

The farm was originally established to study and explore the properties innate in snake venom, and they have public snake handling and snake-milking demonstrations to that end. The latter depicts the live retrieval of snake venom from the snake’s fangs, which is used to create antidotes for snake bites. The former shows how to handle a variety of colorful snakes, from a harmless green tree snake to the intimidating King Cobra and the venomous striped Banded Krait.

The facility also functions as an educational center, providing programs to the general public, tourists, and students on how to deal with snakes in urban and wild environments. It teaches visitors how to distinguish between dangerous and harmless snakes and what to do if they encounter a dangerous snake.

Thousands of valuable snakes are killed every year because people have grown accustomed to the mistaken belief that all snakes are dangerous. Telling the difference between harmless and dangerous snakes will aid in the survival of all snake species.

The farm, which was renovated in 2009, now includes an Outdoor Serpentarium, which houses a wide variety of kraits, adders, cobras, and pythons, as well as some of the more harmless snake species, in well-maintained enclosures with glass walls, and a walk-in garden with various snake habitats. Along with this is a museum with multimedia displays on snake life cycles, mythology, toxicology, anatomy, and first-aid for victims of snake bites.

Snake Handling Show

a snake demonstration at the Queen Saovabha Memorial Institute (Snake Farm) in Bangkok, Thailand

Visitors can also hold a python or the giant albino boa constrictor if they desire, but only during the snake-handling show.

The snake-handling show is held outside, near the snake pits. You will see around ten different snakes, such as the deadly Banded Krait, one of Thailand’s most venomous snakes. On the other hand, the cobras are the most interesting snakes because you can see them looking to attack their handlers.

Visit the outdoor stage to see the snake-handling show, including a Viper and a Siamese Cobra, at 11 a.m. on holidays and weekends and 2.30 p.m. on weekdays. These shows are typically 30 minutes long. We recommend arriving early to ensure a good spot.

The show is led by an English-Thai demonstrator and attracts tourists and locals. The show is ideal for families with kids (as long as they aren’t afraid of snakes!). Finally, for visitors who desire to get a little closer for a photo, there are some non-venomous snakes.

Venom Extraction Show

There are live snakes behind glass on the ground floor and a small auditorium portion where you can view venom being collected from live snakes. The venom extraction occurs in a completely enclosed glass zone with a large video screen to allow for a close-up view of the extraction.

Poisonous snakes are milked every day for their venom, which is used to make the anti-snakebite serum. It takes place in the indoor theater every Monday through Friday at 11 a.m.

Where and When to Go

the main building of Queen Saovabha Memorial Institute

The operation hours are 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on weekdays and 9:30 a.m. til 1:00 p.m. on weekends. The best time to visit the snake farm is when the snakes are most active in the morning. Every day at 11 a.m., a knowledgeable host extracts venom and provides English-language commentary, followed by a snake-handling demonstration at 2:30 p.m. (Monday to Friday only).

The farm is near Lumpini Park, at the intersection of Henry Dunant and Rama IV roads. It’s only a five-minute journey from the Silom MRT station, so it’s very convenient.

The entrance fee for adults is 200 baht and 50 baht for children. Please visit the Queen Saovabha Memorial Institute Snake Farm’s website for more information.

If you want to see both the snake handling and the venom extraction demonstrations, you should probably leave after the extraction demonstration and return later for the snake-handling show. If you want to do something nearby, you can visit the Too Fast To Sleep cafe, the Red Cross Museum, the Hua Lumphong Temple, the Chamchuri Square shopping mall, and various restaurants and food stalls.