Thailand tourism – the wild nightlife, ladyboys, cabarets, ultimate bachelor destination; the sexy beaches, massage parlours; thai curry, tom yum soup, pad thai – couple of things that make the country so widely popular. Rampant sex tourism and great prices draw tourists to Bangkok and Phuket in hordes each year. But we’ve had enough of that stuff. So here’s a list of offbeat, and we mean seriously weird places to see in Thailand.
Very little is known about the origins of this shrine in the very heart of Bangkok. It honours a female fertility spirit, the Godess Chao Mae Tubtim. From small wooden carvings to stone sculptures up to 10 feet tall, the shrines is adorned with hundreds of phalluses. And for some strange reason, they are decorated with ribbons! Sexual imagery is definitely not uncommon in Thailand but this one is sure to make you blush.
Women who are trying to conceive are the most common visitors; they leave behind offerings of jasmine and lotus. They will return if their wish is fulfilled and leave behind yet another phallus in gratitude. The phallus is a very popular religious symbol among Hindus representing the amazing Lord Shiva. And considering that modern Buddhism is heavily influenced by ancient Hinduism, the Phallic shrine comes as no surprise.
Wat Pariwat, the David Beckham Temple
Wat Pariwat is a Buddhist temple in Thailand, inhabited by Buddhist monks. It has been nicknamed the ‘David Beckham Temple’ for a very unusual reason. In the back corner of the large altar of this very large but anonymous looking temple, there used to reside a Garuda, one of those mythical winged creatures resembling an eagle. For reasons unkown, it has been replaced by, yeah you guessed right, David Beckham!
In 1998, a fan actually wrote to the abbot for permission and again, for reasons unknown, the abbot granted him permission to do so. The statuette is only 30 cm high and the haircut on the carving is not quite the one we know, but you can clearly read ‘Sharp’, the team sponsor on the T-shirt.
Siriraj Medical Museum (of death)
This one will easily make it to the list of creepiest museums in the world. Located inside the Siriraj hospital, there are six distinct museums in two separate buildings of which three are what make it extremely unusual, a little disturbing even.
Museum 1: Babies affected by genetic disorders preserved in formaldehyde. The room is very modern and the babies start looking unreal, having been preserved for so long; and therefore the brain tricks us into believing that they don’t look as morbid as they sound.
Museum 2: An older room dedicated to all kinds of parasites, their origin and how they affect the human organs. The high point here is a human testicle affected by elephantiasis weighing 35 kilos and a collection of incredibly long tapeworms.
Museum 3: This is the Songkran Nyomsane Forensic Medicine Museum which houses accident victims, murderers and even the dried body of a famous madman who was known to eat kids’ livers in the 1950s. Displaying this dark body standing in a booth is supposedly a deterrent against violent crimes.
These are our picks for the top 3 weirdest places in Thailand. Be sure you won’t find them included in any Thailand packages.