Positioned near Henri Dunant Road and Rama IV Road, the Queen Saovabha Memorial Institute (QSMI) is a popular name in Bangkok. It was first opened with the aim for preventing and treating rabies and producing snake antivenin for different species of venomous snakes in South East Asia. However, today, the institute offers a host of other services through its snake farm and rabies laboratory. The snake farm, which exhibits poisonous varieties of snakes, including King Cobra, Malayan Pit Viper, Green Pit Viper and Russell's Viper, forms one of the most popular tourist attractions in the whole Thailand.
As far as the history of the institute is concerned, it officially
opened on 26th October 1913, as the 'Pastura Institute'. In 1917, it was
renamed the 'Pasteur Institute' and placed under the grand umbrella of
the Thai Red Cross Society. Later, in 1922, the Institute was relocated
to Rama IV road and came to be known as 'Queen Saovabha Memorial
Institute', named after the King's mother. During the same time, under
the initiative of Dr. Leopold Robert, the institute's first director,
the snake farm was set up inside its premises.
Apart from putting into display some of the most lethal species of
snakes, the farm also extracts snake venom to produce antivenins,
required by hospitals all around South East Asia. Besides, the
educational lectures and programs arranged by the farm are also amongst
its major highlights. Another welfare scheme undertaken by the
institute, in the form of its Rabies Immunization and Advisory Clinic,
has proved to be of great assistance, to the indigenous population as
well as the numerous Bangkok travelers.