Written by Veyroniqa
Edited by Dawn Pillay
You think you know Bangkok – but do you really?
Besides all the exciting (and cheap!) shopping, affordable spas, endless night markets where you can find the trendiest fashion (yes Bangkok is one of the trendsetters in Southeast Asia!)…
Did you know that this vibrant cosmopolitan city is actually home to strange phenomenons and the oddest places, food and items?
No, we’re not just talking about that fried cricket or tarantula that your boyfriend dared his best friend to try. You know all about the creepy crawly delicacies. But have you hugged a giant cockroach cushion? Or had lunch in an abandoned plane in the middle of a market?
If you haven’t, you haven’t been to the real Bangkok! Here, we’ve curated a list of 30 weird things that’s so regular to locals, but appear bizarre to us travellers!
So watch on the sidelines no longer. Try them like the locals do.
We dare you. 😛
Just for our dear readers, get $8 OFF any first-time bookings (a local SIM card costs $8). Simply apply the promo code ‘TRIP8FIRST’ when you check out!
1. Now this is what I call a to-go meal! – Ba Ba Liu
Such an ingenious idea, it’s hard to believe it wasn’t invented earlier!
They use a food bowl that goes on top of a cup of milk tea, with a hole for a straw so you can eat and drink at the same time. I mean just look at it.
The food is distinctly Taiwanese such as the Sichuan spicy noodles, and street food like deep fried chicken, sweet potatoes and pork balls.
Fun fact: Ba ba liu is actually Mandarin for 886, which is the country code for phone calls in Taiwan.
Interesting things to buy at convenience store
You think it’s dangerous letting a girl loose during a sale? Then you’ve never seen hungry travellers ripping up the aisles in a 7/11 while in Bangkok. If you’re wondering what’s so special about it, then clearly have been missing out.
In Thailand’s 7-11, there’s so many variations of yummy local food you will not find anywhere else in the world.
Apart from the standard Basil Chicken Rice with a sunny side up, there are goodies like 7-11 brand Banana Marshmallows, Love Farm’s Dried Lemon with Salt and Chili Powder, Tasto’s Strawberry Milkshake potato chips. You’ve gotta explore a local 7-11 for yourself!
3. Here’s how to NOT waste time in Bangkok – AIRPORTELs’ Airport Luggage Service
Holidays are usually meant for relaxation, but it can be weird how travellers like us seem to speed up when in Bangkok. (I remember speed-exploring Talad Rot Fai in an attempt not to miss out on any great food and buys!)
This particular service was inspired by travellers who wanted to go straight into shopping right after landing – instead of wasting time bringing their luggage to the hotel and checking in, then heading out after.
Good thing the airport luggage service gives us more time to do what we want.
Good thing the airport luggage service gives us more time to do what we want – and it also delivers our luggage right to the airport upon check out.
PS: For travellers like us who are constantly looking for convenient travel options, Klook also provides local SIM cards, airport transfers and city transfers at great prices!
4. Here’s how ordinary folks can spend one night in prison – Sook Station
On the bucket list of some, you’ll see the words: get thrown in jail at least once. We did say “some” – but if you’re one of those who have secretly wanted the experience, look no further!
Along with the bars, you’ll get a pair of black and white jammies and your mugshot taken! Don’t expect any glamorous service; it’s not just a themed hotel with fluffy sheets. It legitimately simulates what it’s like to be in an overnight lockup.
But unlike an actual cell, you’re free to walk.
Weird food in Bangkok
You didn’t think you’d get through this list without food, did you? There is so much more than deep fried critters and boat noodles or pad thai. What else is there? You’re about to find out!
5. It’s probably one of the oldest soups in the world – Wattana Panich
There’s a myth that says the longer a wok hasn’t been washed, the tastier the food. Now that might sound unhygienic and very, very suspicious… But wait till you get a load of this.
Since Wattana Panich first opened almost 60 years ago, this local street food stall in Bangkok has saved their soup every night instead of throwing it away. You might think that it sounds disgusting or downright weird, but it’s actually an ancient Chinese technique for creating complex and ultra flavourful dishes!
6. Eating curry crab in a KFC? – Thailand KFC
You might have a friend that laughs at you for wanting to try out a fast food joint overseas since they’re supposed to taste the same all over the world.
That’s because they don’t know that franchises cater to different taste buds all over the world, so don’t let them hold you back.
Only in Thailand’s KFC will you find uniquely Thai tastes such as the Spicy Curry Crab Rice Bowl or Spicy Zabb Fish Rice Bowl. Crab being served in a KFC? Now that’s something out of the ordinary!
7. This is affordable fine-dining… with a creepy crawlie twist – Insects in the Backyard
Waiter! There’s a fly in my food. Wait, no. My plate is filled with creepy crawlies! And it’s only acceptable at Insects in the Backyard. A fine-dining experience with ants, silkworms and other insects.
The chefs at the restaurant take great care in the presentation of their food and beverages, if you’re hankering for something new and adventurous… Why not give this weird dining experience a go!
8. Drink your selfie! – KC Selfie Coffee
This is one of the most narcissistic things anyone could ever do – and we love it! Have your favorite selfie printed on a steaming cup of coffee. We’re not kidding! You can actually get your face printed in the foam of your caffeine fix.
All you’ve got to do is send the picture of your choice to their line account and voila!
The ink is made from food colouring so it’s completely safe, and the printer was imported from the States. You can also pick up some comfort food like spring rolls and quesadilla – to give it a little pizzazz, it’s served with peking duck, cucumber and a sprinkling of green onions.
Now, forget pretty ferns or ostentatious bears and unicorns on your foam. Presenting, the next level of coffee art.
9. Eat according to your blood type! – Vistakitchen
Apparently, there’s a diet out there that caters to your specific blood type – and you’ll be able to find a restaurant in Bangkok serving exactly this.
Located in Lumpini Sub District, Vistakitchen serves you healthy food based on your blood type, whether you’re O, AB+, A- and more. You can also get an assortment of healthy snacks, ranging from rice to dried fruit.
10. It’s Kung Fu… Chicken? – Suan Aharn Kraton (The Flying Chicken Restaurant)
This is definitely not your regular restaurant. Why wait for your food to be cooked behind closed doors, when it can be tossed around by dancers as it’s scorched to perfection?
No, seriously. First you order, then an acrobat will set your chicken on fire and toss it over the heads of other customers onto a spike… In a waiter’s mouth. Or a plate, or a helmet of spikes. Oh, and he does it on a unicycle. Then, it’s bon appetite!
11. Weird things to buy in Bangkok? – Cockroach & Ghost Pillows
Surely everyone needs a bolster in the shape of a life-sized cockroach, lizard or leech? Or at the very least, a hantu puchong (wrapped ghost) to call their own!
Even if it is too creepy to keep in your room, you can always gift it to a close friend of yours so you may:
Occasionally borrow it to scare people
Know you creep him/her out on a daily basis
Just in case you need a weird little hug
PS: They have a ton of different designs providing weird home decor, so check out their site for more info!
12. Remember Avatar the movie? Experience Thai Avatar – Himmapan Avatar Show
We’re not sure if it’s about aliens – because they don’t speak English. But everyone’s blue and we feel like we’re on a totally different planet.
Combining James Cameron’s Avatar film with age old Thai legends, enjoy this unique adventure that combines the best of traditional mythical Thai characters with Avatar’s modern aliens.
As far as performances go, this one takes the cake for it’s top notch creativity and skill in replicating special effects in real life. For real, it’s in 4D. You’ll be impressed with mind-blowing stunts and acrobatics, along with the beautiful dazzling world of Himmapan Avatar Show.
13. Strap yourselves in ‘cos this is gonna be a ride – Bangkok Night Lights Tuk Tuk Tour
Trivia: Tuktuks are so uniquely Thai, but did you know that they actually originated from Japan?
Over the years, experiencing tuk tuk rides has turned into something of a dangerous novelty – it is easy to fall prey to scammers (this writer personally experienced it).
So if you want to experience riding in a Thai tuk tuk… Why not go for an actual tuk tuk tour, with all the fun and without the potential danger/scams.
PS: Also, you’ll get an experience like no other with this guided tour – if hidden alleys and markets on off-the-beaten paths, and insider tips are right down your alley, you should get it on with Klook.
14. It’s a strange history/living museum experience – Jim Thompson’s House, Suan Pakkad Palace
A house unlike any other; homeowner and famous silk entrepreneur Jim Thompson mysteriously vanished in the Malaysian jungle, and his home became a living museum of sorts.
It takes weird to a whole new world when you wander through an abandoned house stuck in time, and filled with personal knick knack’s of a stranger’s life.
PS: Suan Pakkad Palace is another intriguing living museum where you’ll be able to see how a Thai princess once lived!
15. Be like Eleven from Stranger Things – Bangkok Float Center
Not sure if you’ve watched the hit series Stranger Things – it’s a show about a lot of stuff, but mostly centers around a mysterious little girl with supernatural powers… who enhances her powers through floating in a total sensory deprivation tank.
Well, now you’ll be able to be like Eleven and enjoy a weird sensory deprivation bath in real life. While we’re not sure if it’ll enhance any dormant supernatural powers – it’s said to alleviate stress and provide certain health benefits. We’ve got to admit, it is pretty cool and worth trying once!
16. Get your MEOW on and purr like a kitty – Hello kitty Spa & Massage
Perhaps the weirdest thing you can ever witness is a grown man getting a massage at Hello Kitty Spa & Massage. So you should convince a boy friend to try this, for the experience if not for the laughs.
If you’re feeling too shy for a kitty-themed massage, sit back and enjoy some kitty shaped cookies while sipping from pink teacups.
17. Dine in a plane in the middle of a creative market – Chang Chui Market
Honestly, with all the airplane stuff that’s been coming up, has anyone ever thought how bizarre it feels to be exploring abandoned planes in the middle of nowhere – much less dining in a spruced up abandoned plane in a the middle of a market?
Get inspired at Chang Chui Market, a new creative hub/market which has recently opened. They’ve plonked a huge airplane in the middle of the market where you can dine and drink inside. And with four acres of open space showing unconventional street art, Bangkok rarely does things halfway.
18. Visit 3 Thai family homes… in an airplane – Airplane Graveyard
Have you considered making an airplane your home before?
Three Thai families have made an abandoned airplane their home… And if you’d like to tour a local airplane home – only a small fee is required.
Not many people would let tourists pay them a few baht so they may have a tour of their house. But, when you live in an airplane, curious cats are bound to swing by.
Be prepared for the heat, or go early in the morning. Because a plane that’s not high up in the air with air conditioning on full blast… Can get pretty hot.
19. No buffaloes allowed on taxis – Weird Signs and Rules
We hope you’re ready for some trivia because this is by far, some of the weirdest signs and rules we have ever come across:
Have you seen the ‘no buffaloes allowed” sign in taxis? It actually means no stupid people allowed.
It is illegal to leave the house without wearing underwear
It is illegal to drive a motorised vehicle bare-chested
It is illegal to use a durian fruit as a weapon and a fine will be levied determined by how many thorns strike the victim
It is illegal to take selfies with a beer in Thailand, it’s considered advertising alcoholism!
For a more useful (but less amusing) law: It is illegal to step on any Thai currency – either coins or notes – as they carry an image of the King
Along with the usual male and female washrooms found everywhere, Thailand is now one of the first countries in the world to introduce a third gender option for transgender men, mostly commonly known as ladyboys. This option is rare and it is unlikely you will encounter such a toilet situation, but they are out there and you never know where one might crop up.