Bangkok is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Known for its magnificent palaces, parks, and temples as much as for its infamous go-go bars and red-light district, Bangkok caters to a wide variety of tastes. But there are places that often fly under the radar of visitors, and if you’ve already visited the Grand Palace and Wat Arun, or explored the incredibly busy Chatuchuk Market, here are 11 unusual or offbeat things to do in Bangkok that you can to add to your travel list.
Things to do in Bangkok, off the beaten path:
1. The canals of the Chao Phraya River
The many canals (khlongs) that branch off from the Chao Phraya River are home to traditional teak Thai houses built on stilts. They give you a taste of Bangkok’s past, before the skyscrapers and expressways. Not usually on a list of things to do in Bangkok, so why not go off the beaten path and try this one out?
2. Erawan Museum
Famed for the massive 3-headed elephant, the Erawan Museum contains priceless collections of antiques and religious objects. The three storeys represent the three layers of Hindu universe, the underworld, earth, and heaven. For the history buffs and museum fanatics, this one is a must visit.
3. Papaya Vintage Shop
An unassuming warehouse in the suburbs of Bangkok, this store is filled with thousands of vintage objects. Its eclectic collection has everything from antique furniture, to superhero action figures, and even old Vespas. However, be warned; not all of the fascinating items are for sale.
4. Siriraj Medical Museum
This experience is NOT for the faint-hearted. It showcases ancient medical equipment, tools, artefacts, appalling parasites, and most interestingly, specimens of unusual body parts and strange deaths! Definitely a must in the list of things to do in Bangkok for those with a penchant for the macabre.
5. Queen Saovabha Memorial Institute
Run by the Red Cross, this snake farm focuses on the research of anti-venom. Many species of venomous snakes and other dangerous reptiles are housed here. If you visit during the afternoons, you can also watch venom extractions and meet and handle tame snakes.
6. Goddess Tuptim Shrine
Near a quiet car park of the Nai Lert Heritage Hotel is the shrine of Chao Mae Tuptim, a female fertility spirit. It is filled with dozens upon dozens of colourfully painted phallic offerings left by women whose wishes have been fulfilled.
7. Double Dog Tea Room
A quiet oasis on Bangkok’s Chinatown, the eclectic Double Dog Tea Room is a retreat from the noise and bustle outside. Located on Yaowarat, it also serves many varieties of speciality teas served in quaint ceramic pots, along with delicious homemade buns.
8. Scala Cinema
Escape the heat by adding this to your list of things to do in Bangkok at this heritage cinema located in Siam Square. Built in the 1960s, standing under the domed art deco ceiling transports you back in time. It also has some of the cheapest movie tickets and popcorn in the city.
9. Pak Khlong Talad Flower Market
Nestled on Chak Phet Road in the old city is one of the brightest markets in Bangkok. The sweet-smelling Flower Market, known as Pak Klong Talad, sells fresh blooms spread across tables all along the pavement. Roses, lotuses, lilies, daisies, jasmine, sunflowers, tulips, and orchids fill the air with their perfume. The market also sells floral themed items and souvenirs.
10. Baan Silapin Artist’s House
With many traditional Thai traditions dying out, the Artist’s House showcases the culture through unique exhibits. Accessible only through a khlong near Thonburi, and owned by Khun Chumpol Akkapantanon, it also regularly puts up traditional puppet shows.
11. Ko Kret
An artificially created island, Ko Kret is just 20 kilometres north of Bangkok. Home to many temples, it is known for its rural atmosphere, food stalls, and its busy weekend market. However, the biggest draw is the traditional Mon pottery with its distinctive intricate designs.
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