Imagine a land that is as friendly as it is mysterious. Itâ€™s a place that is brimming with life, from open air markets, to colourful flowers, to fragrant, spicy smells wafting through the air. Itâ€™s hot and steamy and the traffic is worse than any big American city, but Bangkok offers the charm of an ancient city with the modern amenities of today. There are plenty of touristy places to go, but why not check out some of the more unusual things that Bangkok has to offer withlocals?
Bangkok Forensic Museum
Why visit one museum when you can visit six of them at the same place in the same day? The three creepiest of the museums attract the most attentionâ€”the Pathology, Forensic, and Anatomy Museums where youâ€™ll find displays of encapsulated babies with genetic disorders or every kind of parasite known to man. If skeletons and corpses in formaldehyde are your thing, it will be something to talk about when you get home. Find it on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River inside the Siriraj Hospital.
Before the tall buildings were built and the expressways became clogged, the people of Bangkok lived in and around the canals in teak homes, lean-toâ€™s, and huts. The meager homes stand as a backdrop to the luxurious Thai homes built on stilts to protect them from the floods. See it all on a long-tail boat with an English-speaking tour guide. End your tour with a climb to the tower at Wat Arun, one of the most beautiful temples in Bangkok.
Rama IX Park
If you want to truly experience Thai culture, you need to go where the locals go. Youâ€™ll find them at the largest green space in Bangkok. Itâ€™s a picturesque area with a beautiful botanical garden, large lake and gardens that are inspired by other parts of the world. If you have time, rent one of the duck or paddle boats and explore at your leisure. If youâ€™re their early, take part in a public Tai Chi or aerobics class or get some exercise at your own pace at the outdoor gym. Youâ€™ll find some of the best Thai cuisine from the street venders at the entrance to the park.
Chef Leez Thai Cooking Classes
There are literally dozens of awesome Thai cooking classes that offer the opportunity to cook and eat what the locals eat. The number one choice is Chef Leez Thai Cooking classes. Choose such local recipes as Coconut Sticky Rice with Mango, Crispy Fish Salad, Thai Noodles in Curry Sauce, Galangal Soup, and much more. The minimum class is 6 students, so make it a group affair. Alum students revere Chef Lee as a truly brilliant chef who makes the best Thai food in the land.
Papaya Vintage Shop
Itâ€™s a shop. Itâ€™s a warehouse. Itâ€™s a vintage museum. Whatever your perspective is after visiting this one-of-a-kind establishment, youâ€™d be absolutely right. The first room greets you with a flea-market display of Darth Vader and James Dean, which are only foreshadowed by the extensive Ultraman figure collection. These vintage treasures are just the first course that lead you through a narrow maze to a wide-open, three-story high opening that packs vintage gems from floor to ceiling. As with everywhere else in Bangkok, bartering is welcome.
Bangkok Phallic Shrine
From the tiniest wooden sculpture to the ten-foot tall phallus (yes, that means penis) decorated with ribbons, a visit to the Bangkok Phallic Shrine is certain to be one of the most unusual places youâ€™ll ever visit. The shrine honour the female fertility spirit, Chao Mae Tubtim. Women wanting to conceive visit the shrine, leaving offerings of lotus and jasmine. Rumour has it that the shrine is effective in populating the earth. If a womanâ€™s wish is fulfilled, she returns to the shrine to add another phallus.
Visit all the temples and touristy places to go that you can make time for. Sprinkle in a dose of mixing and mingling with the locals to truly enjoy and appreciate Bangkok culture. The people of Thailand create some of the most delicate and delicious food offerings. Youâ€™ll find that the food is equally good on the streets as it is in the most popular restaurants. When you get to know the people, youâ€™ll find that they are always smiling, because they are truly happy people.