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The capital of Thailand, Bangkok is an interesting and intoxicating destination famous for its full on food, urban exploration, and cultural contrasts.

From getting lost in the maze of streets and tiny lanes around Chinatown, to finding yourself in conversion with a Buddhist Monk on a smart phone, this is a city with a rich and multifaceted personality, and has long drawn some of the highest tourism of other cities in South East Asia.

But although being a living example of the well trodden path, Bangkok still has a bountiful number of secrets which have remained largely unexplored by typical travellers.

So whether you’re planning on visiting from Mumbai or Australia, (the cheapest airline tickets from Mumbai to Bangkok make this a really appealing choice of destination), the following are a few places to visit, and learn plenty curious facts.

Take the Road Less Travelled: 5 Unexpected Things to Do in Bangkok

Rod Fai Market

Thailand’s first Train Market, famously known as The Rod Fai Market is an open-air market selling a wide range of vintage products from the yesteryears. It is located behind the Seacon Square Shopping Mall and sells everything from antique furniture, to hippy fashion and memorabilia.

The huge market has three sections with innumerable traders selling fashion, and things like French chandeliers, vintage leather jackets, Cadillac etc. combined with a lively bar and food stalls.

It is a remarkable night bazaar in which it is easy, and exciting, to get lost!

Bangkok Flower Market

The Bangkok Flower Market (Pak Khlong Talat in Thai), is Thailand’s largest wholesale flower market and is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Some say that Pak Khlong Talat is now one of the world’s largest flower markets.

This is a bustling and authentic market, and is a fascinating place to visit if you’re looking for lesser known attractions off the usual tourist trail. But perhaps it’s lesser known because directions online can be confusing.

Robert Schrader has perhaps the best directions: The best way to get to Bangkok’s Flower Market is to take the SkyTrain to Saphan Taskin station, then transfer to Taksin Pier and take the Chao Phraya Express boat to stop #7, Rajinee. Alternatively, ride the Bangkok MRT to “Hua Lamphong,” then ask a taxi or tuk tuk driver to take you to Pak Khlong Talat, or show them this Thai text: ปากคลองตลาด.

Bangkok Flower Market

Photo CC Ninara

Erawan Museum

Location: Sukhumvit Road, Samut Prakan, Thailand

It is estimated that it took around ten years to complete the statue starting from the designing to the complete construction. It is a tribute to the Hindu mythology’s Erawan otherwise known as Airavata. The trunks of the elephant are the size of the historic Banyan trees.

The true definition of a hidden gem, a huge, three-headed elephant statue standing upon an equally gargantuan pedestal is the first, and last, thing you see when visiting this museum. The splendid beast is 250 tons in weight, 29 metres high, 39 metres long, and is made of pure green-hued copper.

Once you get inside the museum, “each of its three levels symbolises a part of the Thai cosmos, and headily fuses rare Eastern antiques, rampant religious iconography, and the most psychedelic de’cor you’ll see outside a dream.”

Khlongs

Canal life has long been a part of Thai culture; with hundreds of canals (Khlongs), the waterways of Bangkok used to flow through two thirds of the city. Many residents lived in wooden homes on stilts, and the canals were busy transport routes, though the government has since filled in and paved over many of the canals to build roads.

Nevertheless, there are still many khlongs around Bangkok, and a long tail boat ride is a unique opportunity to visit the Bangkok of old. This is the chance to witness what Bangkok looked like before skyscrapers adorned the city, and there are many picturesque photo opportunities.

“Many Thai locals till live along the waterways, in small wooden houses that rise out of the water on wooden stilts. As you pass by, you can see them doing laundry or bathing while small children are playing.” You can see traders crossing the water with their boats full of fruits, and fresh produce.

Bangkok Canals

Photo CC: Dennis Jarvis

Bangkok Forensic Museum

The Bangkok Forensic Museum is a medical museum, and not for the faint hearted! It is nicknamed the Museum of Death, and located on the west side of the Chao Phraya River in the Siriraj Hospital.

Travellers searching for something unusual will definitely find it here; there are six museums with two buildings, which house some of the creepiest exhibits you’re likely to have seen; everything from disease-identified specimens, to human organs for anatomical education, and prehistoric remains which were uncovered at the archaeological site at Chorakhe Phueak in Kanchanaburi Province.

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Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; an online magazine dedicated to opening your eyes to the wonders of the wild & natural world.

Having visited 50+ countries across all seven continents, Megan’s travels focus on cultural immersion, authentic discovery and incredible journeys. She has a strong passion for ecotourism, and aims to promote responsible travel experiences.

    

    16 Comments

  1. I’ve lived in Bangkok for three years and still haven’t made it to some of these. Cheers.

    • Glad we could give you a couple of new ideas Tora 🙂 What an exciting city to live!

  2. The forensic museum sounds a bit … strange … to be honest! I don’t know if it would be my cup of tea. But cool to read about unusual attractions.

    • It’s definitely unique! Probably not for everyone, but if you find yourself in Bangkok and feel like shaking things up, it’s an option :D!

  3. Take a cooking class at the Amita Thai Cooking school!

    • A great suggestion Mike, thanks for the recommendation!

  4. There’s an abandoned tower at Charoen Krung Road near Saphan Taksin Station that’s quite eerie Most locals will even tell you that it’s haunted. They started building it in the 90’s but then construction stopped and it’s just never been used or completed. Just be safe since it’s technically unfinished construction project.

    • Sounds interesting! Thanks for the heads up Bradly 🙂

  5. We did visit the Siriraj Medical Museum, and it’s certainly off beat!! You definitely need a strong stomach to visit though – I don’t think I was quite expecting the level of death in the exhibits – corpses, organs, foetuses.

    It’s pretty morbid. Interesting though if you’re into medicine I guess!

    • Yes as far as off beat museums go this has to be at the top of the list! I think understanding that it is a medical museum is perhaps a good idea before heading over there in terms of what to expect 🙂

  6. I feel as though the Penis shrine in Bangkok should be on this list 😀 Chao Mae Tuptim is a phallic shrine behind the Swissôtel. It’s supposed to be a symbol of good luck apparently and encourage good fertility. It’s crammed with carved wooden circumcised penis statues which we were told possess special cosmic powers and endow good fortune and fertility on anybody coming into contact with them. Gave us a good laugh!!!

    • Can’t say I’ve made it there!! But definitely fits in with this post 😀 Lol maybe I’ll organize a stay at the Swissotel on our next stay and drop by 😀

  7. I you really want to get off the beaten path and see something tourists never see, there are several aircraft wrecks in the middle of Bangkok that’s been called the airplane graveyard. Parts of the airplane wreckage actually have local families living in it now. Seems like they figured out they could maximize on the opportunity to make a living off of curious tourists – it’s around 5 euros to visit the site.

    • That sounds really cool, thanks for the tip Elizabeth! Lol so interesting that families moved into the wreckage for the business opportunity. Good on them I guess!

  8. Rod Fai Train Night Market is a lot of fun.

    • Absolutely Luz – glad to hear you enjoyed your time!

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