Located at Baan Sob Ruak, in the Chiang Saen district of Chiang Rai
province – close to the very fields where millions of poppies once
bloomed, the Hall of Opium gives a full picture of the opium trade, it’s
history, some of the characters involved and how it blighted the lives
This is a tale of a trade that stretches back some 5,000 years and gave rise to some of the biggest events in history – the Chinese Opium Wars, the colonisation of India and the rise of international drug cartels.
Despite being a dark tale, the history of opium is fascinating and The Hall of Opium’s exhibition has been designed to make a big impact on all visitors. Put together by historians and multimedia experts, the show treats visitors to sound and light displays, unique photos, video exhibits and interactive presentations. This means it is accessible and exciting to people of all ages and nationalities as well as being poignant and thought-provoking.
Because it has been designed to be educational and instructive, the Hall of Opium will be especially interesting to younger visitors, who may find it hard to imagine that just a few years ago things were so different in this bustling modern nation.
The drug trade of the Golden Triangle is not glorified in any way and there is a strong focus on the dangers of the poppy – that lovely bloom which ruins lives. Once the flower’s sap was extracted and boiled into addictive opium it became a magnet for crime.
The museum teaches all about drug trafficking, addiction, and smuggling, but most of all how the drug can affect the people who take it, destroying families and communities. But the final lesson the museum teaches is how there is hope and ultimately things can change for the better.
The museum is open every day (except Monday) from 8:30 – 17:00 hrs. A visit takes around 2-3 hours. The entry fee is 200 baht per person.
Theodore Koumelis (TravelDailyNews-AsiaPacific)