Perhaps the best thing about living in Thailand is the vast amount of unique sights and attractions that you can visit. From popular ghost shrines to mummified monks, these are 15 of Thailands weird and wonderful places:
Airplane Graveyard (Bangkok) – While it has mixed reviews from tourists(because of the “caretakers” who charge 200 baht per person), the Bangkok Airplane Graveyard offers quite the photo opportunity for the brave photographer or explorer.
The journey to get to the airplane graveyard can be an experience in-and-of-itself. Many people get to the place by taking the Khlong Ferry to Wat Sri Bunruang (all the way at the end). Once you get off it is only a short walk to your destination.
The awesome thing about this place is that you will more than likely have all the time in the world to climb around through various aircraft remains and there likely won’t be anyone else there to bother you or get in your photo frames.
Amulet Market (Bangkok): The first venue on our list of Thailand’s Weird and Wonderful is the Amulet Market at Tha Pra Chan Pier in Bangkok. This unique little (only not so little) market is very popular among collectors of Buddhist amulets and talismans.
While you can see amulets sold all over Thailand, this particular market contains hundreds of thousands of magical amulets for collectors to choose from. The market is frequented by collectors from all walks of life, from monks to people in slightly more risque walks of life and even criminals.
Many of the original amulets can be valued in the millions of baht range. With such a price being put on them, the Buddhist amulets draw in a wide variety of people in search of fortunes.
Siriraj Medical Museum (Bangkok): If a walk on the slightly more morbid side is your style, the Siriraj Medical Museum in Bangkok does not disappoint. Visitors can find everything to peak the curiosity inside from preserved body parts from the 2004 Tsunami to fully preserved bodies of serial killers and rapists and conjoined twins, bones and skulls as well as several other medical oddities.
This is a very informative experience and one that is recommended by others for anyone interested in going into the medical field. One of the most unique of the exhibits is the different developmental stages of preserved foetuses. It is an experience that is quite unlike any other and you will likely walk out a little more knowledgeable than when you went in.
The museum is about a 10-minute walk from the Wang Lang pier in Bangkok.
Wat Samphran (Amphoe Sam Phran) – While you would think that an 80-metre tall dragon clutching onto a pink tower would be an easy thing to find, previous visitors to this attraction recommend that visitors bring a map of the Nakon Pathom province and a photograph of the temple to show to locals as it is actually slightly difficult to locate.
The temple is located about 40 kilometres to the west of Bankok in Amphoe Sam Phran. If you aren’t into land navigation, the easiest way to get to the temple is to take a 400-baht (1-way) taxi to get there. When you are finished exploring, take another taxi at the exit to your next destination.
Perhaps the most notable thing about Wat Samphran, aside from the giant dragon scaling its walls, is really the lack of information about the temple. Nobody knows exactly when the temple was constructed.
Sanctuary of Truth – Construction began on this massive all-wood temple back in 1981 and is not expected to be completed until around 2025. It is located in Pattaya, Thailand and is a very popular tourist attraction.
Entrance to the Sanctuary of Truth is 500 baht per person. For more information on this amazing piece of architectural history check out our photo diary: Sanctuary of Truth Photo Diary
Baan Phasawan (Ban Tai) – If unique accommodations are your fancy, Baan Phasawan Fruit Hotel may fit the bill. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to live the life of Spongebob Squarepants and have your very own pineapple abode but the whole “under the sea” thing threw you off? Not to worry, they’ve got you covered!
Baan Phasawan’s guests all stay in all manner of giant fruit and vegetable quarters. It is a quaint and quirky hotel with all the amenities you could hope for from a concierge service, restaurant, free WiFi and much more.
On the grounds of the resort, there is a beautiful pond with paddle boats and long lazy walking paths through the orchards. There are local hot springs in the area as well as the Phasawan waterfall not too far off.
Baan Dam Museum – Black House (Nang Lae) – Created by Thai contemporary painter, Thawan Duchanee, the Black House is an architectural wonder.
The house consists of approximately 40 buildings made of glass, brick, wood, cement and terracotta, each a different shape and size. Surrounding the buildings is a tranquil garden.
The group of houses hold various pieces of Thawan’s life, from multiple collections of paintings to sculptures, animal bones, skins, horns and various silver and gold trinkets that Thawan accumulated from around the world. While it may not be an ideal spot to visit for animal lovers, there are some truly historic art pieces that date all the way back to the Ayutthaya period in Thailand. It is important to note that not all exhibits are open to the public.
Phra Prang Sam Yot (Tambon Tha Hin) – This is one of the most popular temples in Lopburi. The temple is unique thanks to the hundreds of monkeys that live in the area. These monkeys have become used to tourist visits and they understand full-and-well that tourists mean food.
It is important to remember that these monkeys are not house pets, they are wild animals and especially crafty ones. They will try to steal anything that you have that they try to find interesting.
The temple was built by the Khmer King Jayavarman VII in the 13th century. Though it was originally used as a Buddhist temple, it was eventually repurposed into a temple to Shiva following the death of King Jayavarman and then returned to Buddhism again in the 1600s. Because of this, the temple hosts symbolism in its architecture from both.
Lopburi is also home to the Monkey Buffet Festival that happens annually. Locals present the monkeys with hundreds of pounds of fruit as a way to thank them for bringing tourists to the city.
Snake Farm @ Queen Saovabha Memorial Institute (Bangkok)- The snake farm at Queen Saovabha Memorial Institute produces anti-venom serum for snake-bite victims throughout Thailand. It is another very educational venue that is great for anyone who is into reptiles.
During the week, visitors will get to witness venom extractions, take a photo with a snake and possibly get a little time to handle a snake or two. The farm does not harvest from snakes on the weekends, so weekend visitors will miss out on that part.
The staff are very passionate about their snakes, you can tell from the way they speak about them in their presentations. The presenters are also very well versed in English making the show enjoyable even for tourists.
The World Museum of Insects and Natural Wonders (Chiang Mai) – Typically museums consist of artefacts from multiple contributors or sources. This museum, however, is from the personal collection of a man and wife.
The exhibit features insects and oddities from Thailand and around the world. From the responses of other visitors, it can sometimes be hard to get into the museum. Sometimes it is just a matter of waiting by the locked gate for the caretaker to let you in.
The museum keeps records of Dr Rampa and Manop’s study and classification of Thailand’s 450 mosquito species as well. This is another wonderful little hole-in-the-wall for those of you that like things that are slightly off-the-beaten-path.
Tilleke & Gibbins Museum of Counterfeit Goods (Bangkok)- This is not a venue that you need to bring your camera (no photos allowed for obvious reasons). Most of the exhibits that visitors will come across are real genuine counterfeit goods from intellectual property cases.
The museum is open by appointment only for individuals, groups and the media. Visitors from the general public are welcome on Mondays at 2 pm and Thursdays at 10 am. It is recommended that you book your tour 24 hours prior. The tours are given by bright young attorneys who are very knowledgeable about intellectual property rights and cases.
On exhibit is a collection of more than 4,000 items that infringe trademarks, patents and copyrights and they span over 14 categories of goods from shoes, watches and eyewear to fashion accessories, cosmetics and perfumes, household products, drugs, alcohol and cigarettes, copyrighted works, stationery and office supplies, automotive parts, tools, electrical devices, and miscellaneous products.
Wat Tham Pla (Chiang Rai) – The temple gets its name (Fish Tail) from the shape of the cave contained within. This is another “Monkey Temple” as it is guarded by the wild macaque monkeys that live in the area. Typically the monkeys tend to stay around the fish pond and the shrine to Kuan Yin (The Goddess of Mercy) and they are not usually aggressive unless there is food involved.
The monkeys come second on the priority list, however, as it is the cave that really draws the attention of visitors. When you cross the bridge over the fish pond and it’s crystal clear waters, there are approximately 300 stone steps cut into the mountainside. Up the steps, the path becomes more level and gorge-like with steep walls from when the area used to be a cave, prior to the roof collapsing.
Visitors will take in amazing breathtaking views of the surrounding plains and clear into Laos. At the far end of the gorge are several steps down into a cavern. Inside the cavern, there are elevated Buddha figures. A light source is recommended and visitors should also try to avoid slipping on the slick tiles.
The House of Opium (Chiang Saen)- This nifty little museum is dedicated to educating visitors on the history of the opium trade throughout the Golden Triangle and the dangers of addiction. Chances are, if you have wondered anything about opium in the past, you will find the answers you seek here.
Founded in 1990 by Patcharee Srimatyakul, who had a passion for collecting opium memorabilia the private collection has been turned into a public museum and exhibits many different items from the opium trade.
This is the smaller of 2 opium-related museums in the Golden Triangle area. Hall of Opium is much bigger and offers a larger variety of things to see but about the same amount of educational takeaway.
Elephant Poo Poo Paper Park (Chiang Mai)- This interesting little venue is an outdoor museum park that walks visitors through the unique processes and steps they use to turn elephant poo into usable paper products.
Not only will you get to see the steps to making poo paper, but you can also take some home with you from the Poo-tique souvenir and gift shop. This is a great eco-friendly way to kill an hour to an hour and a half with the kids and have a great laugh at the same time.
Get on the bandwagon and start using recycled poop products. In addition to elephant poo paper, the park also offers products made from the dirty little droppings of buffalo, cow and horses also.
Wang Saen Suk Hell Park (Bang Saen)- This unique Buddhist temple gives visitors a chance to see what Hell is like. With its very vivid sculptures and informational placards to go along with them, it is enough to have you thinking about whether or not you have been a good person in this life.
The park placards explain the different sins that people commit in life and the punishments that they will endure in the afterlife. Though it is quite a visual (and possibly disturbing to some) park, it is not strange to see Thais wandering around with their young children to teach them a lesson or two about how to conduct themselves. For more about Wang Saen Suk check out our photo diary: Wang Saen Suk Photo Diary
Thailand is full of wonderful and weird places. Way too many, in fact, for one single article. Keep an eye on PattayaUnplugged.com for more of Thailands Weird and Wonderful!