Chiang Rai's House of Opium

What we say: 3.5 stars

Or ‘welcome to the house of fin’, (fin being the Thai translation)! The House of Opium is the original of the two museums in tiny Sob Ruak (in Chiang Rai province) dedicated to the sticky resin of this one particular flower. There is also the new, flashy — and expensive — Hall of Opium, which might very well be excellent but is such a case of flagrant band-wagon jumping that we can’t bring ourselves to visit it, though … go on, you can have a link.

Welcome to the House of Opium

Welcome to the House of Opium!

The little museum is well laid out and English explanations are both comprehensive and comprehensible — there is even some information in French. The curators have managed to fit a lot of stuff in a small space and cover the general history of the drug, its history in Southeast Asia, the region’s hill-tribes, and major opium players such as Khun Sa and the KMT. There are maps, dioramas and particularly good are their extensive collections of opium weights.

Weigh cool collection

Weigh cool collection.

The array of pipes, lamps and opium containers is also very good, so even though it’s a tiny museum you could allow the best part of an hour for a visit.

Pipes and lamps & no dodgy puns

Pipes and lamps and no dodgy puns.

The house is located in the centre of Sob Ruak at the foot of the hill. It’s open 07:00 to 20:00 and the entrance fee of 50 baht also gets you a postcard. Well worth a visit.

Resident hill-tribesman doing demonstrations

Resident hill-tribesman doing demonstrations.

More details
Opening Hours: Open 07:00 to 20:00
Last updated: 10th December, 2014

About the author:
Based in Chiang Mai, Mark Ord has been travelling Southeast Asia for over two decades and first crossed paths with Travelfish on Ko Lipe in the early 1990s.
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