The Hall of Opium is an interactive museum located in the Golden Triangle – the border area between Thailand, Laos and Myanmar –an area which was infamous for its poppy fields, drug smugglers, and opium warlords. Throughout the 1960s to early 1990s, the Golden Triangle supplied most of the world’s heroin.
In 1988, the Mae Fah Luang Foundation undertook a comprehensive development project in the Doi Tung area to tackle opium cultivation at its root cause—poverty and lack of opportunity. The Princess Mother also expressed her desire to educate people on the background of opium, and the Hall of Opium was created as a result.
While intended for people of all ages and all nationalities, the target audience of the Hall of Opium is teens and young adults, those most susceptible to the lure of illegal drugs, to show them how opium addiction became a world-wide problem, and how drug abuse affects individuals, their families, neighborhoods, and even their country.
The exhibition was designed to be fun and captivating, entertaining while providing information, what we call edutainment. Covering an area of 5,600 square meters, the exhibition in the Hall of Opium is the result of almost 10 years of research. Here visitors learn about the 5,000-year history of opium: how it was a drug to treat illnesses, how its use spread throughout the world, how imperialist expansion used opium in the economic colonization and control of China, and how it eventually came to dominate in the Golden Triangle as well as other parts of the world, such as Afghanistan. Visitors also learn about current issues of addiction and illegal drugs, efforts to control drugs, and the impacts of drug abuse and addiction.