Bangkok is a city dedicated to pleasing the senses. It is a bustling, buzzing, thriving metropolis brimming with delicious smells and beautiful sights. Bangkok has been built to satisfy and entertain. Other cities try, but none can please in quite the same way Bangkok can. Here are 6 things to do in Bangkok that you can’t find anywhere else.
But first, watch this…
1. Muay Thai
Kung-Fu might look and sound exotic as all heck but when it comes to sheer street glamour, Kung-Fu doesn’t have a scratch on the down and dirty Muay Thai. Find a gym, explain you’re a tourist who’s willing to pay then put on a brightly coloured pair of shorts and slip on your boxing gloves. These guys will go out of their way to make sure you overdose on some bruisingly good fun. Muay Thai is a powerhouse national sport of vicious kicks, uppercuts and pain so a quick lesson will, at least, leave you refreshingly intimidated and sufficiently exhausted.
2. Amphawa Floating Market
You wouldn’t think this sort of place could be real, but almost anything is possible in Bangkok. Sometime in the past, the locals caught on that their floating markets were a great tourist turn-on so they went out of their way to popularise them. For example, the Damnoen Saduak market which is a pure tourist trap. Instead of getting caught up there visit a Bangkok local favourite, Amphawa, a treasure trove of delightful little shops and restaurants that serve patrons right out of the boats. The vendors are all neatly parked and organized and the service is lightning fast. Mix in the incessant Thai chatter and Amphawa is quite the memorable assault on your senses.
3. Bangkok Drag Shows
Bangkok’s approach to the LGBT culture is humorous and indulgent. The notorious Lady-boy shows are equivalent to Bangkok today, what the Moulin Rouge was to Paris a hundred years ago… sort of. They’re actually quite classy, non-raunchy productions that many are surprised to find are family friendly. The shows aren’t quite Las Vegas, but that’s a good thing. One of the more popular cabarets is the Calypso in Ratchathewi. If you’re planning to catch it, make sure your trip planner books well in advance or Japanese tourists are likely to beat you to it.
4. Fertility Shrine
As funny and obscure as it sounds to you and me, the Penis Shrine is a shrine of masculine virility. There’s no end to the innuendo-laden naming scheme, so I’ll let your imagination get on with it. Moving onto more important things, the sculptures of circumcised penises here are actually rumoured to bring good luck, fertility and easy pregnancies to visitors. Try to keep your cool if you happen to run across scores of women being reverent around some rather ‘happy’ statues ranging from doughnut sized to canoe size. You can even pick up a few to gift to others.
5. Strange Buildings
Bangkok is no stranger to exotic architecture, but there are some structures in the city that simply beg the question, “Why?” Why is a residential-office complex made out in the shape of what looks like, from afar, a pixelated metal elephant? Why do a strange pair of eyes gaze at everybody across Bangkok, from what’s very descriptively called ‘the Robot Building?’ (Also, why does the Robot have eyes, ears, antennae, legs… and why in heaven’s name does it have its nether region exposed?). Why is, what’s obviously a Buddhist religious structure, called a Giant Swing? Why is entry forbidden to the intriguingly named Sathorn Unique Ghost Tower? Actually, I do know the answers to all of this but it’ll be more fun, and awkward, for you to ask the locals when you get there, won’t it?
6. Bridge On The River Kwai
Though not strictly in Bangkok, this famous bridge in Kanchanaburi draws enough of the tourists to the city to be included in your trip planner. Pierre Boulle’s book, which was about the harsh treatment of the POWs and Asian workers who built this most famous section of the Death Railway, and the subsequent movie, have made the bridge a world-famous landmark.