Bangkok's Bizarre Sights-- Definitely Worth Including in Your Bucket List
A pulsating city entwined with rich cultural heritage, Bangkok offers a fertile ground for the most unusual sights in the entire world. This strange yet beautiful city has no shortage of interesting experiences to share.
When in Bangkok, you need to drag yourself out of the city's usual tourist comfort zones and take yourself to see attractions that you've never imagined existed.
Chao Mae Tuptim: The Phallic Shrine
Unlike what you see in other shrines in Bangkok, which are mostly wholesome Buddhist figures, Chao Mae Tuptim (Phallic Shrine) presents you with something you’d probably see as preposterous and unholy. While many people from the rest of the world regard the place as a saucy spectacle, it is rather treated with absolute adoration in Bangkok. Found at the back of Nai Lert Park Hotel at 2 Wireless Rd in Pathumwam, Chao Mae Tuptim is recalled as a dwelling that was specially built for the spirit who was believed to have lived in the Sai (Ficus) Tree. Festooned with flowers, gifts, lotus buds and incense sticks, the spirit house might first seem like an ordinary sight. But it beckons you to come and discover the huge pillar standing right next to it—a humongous penis. All around it are wooden statues that look the same, just of different sizes and shapes. Some are thin; others are fat and small; while there are some that even have legs and tails. The outrageous display has made many associate the shrine to fertility.
Erawan Museum: The Three-Headed Elephant Statue
One of the most astounding landmarks in Bangkok, the Erawan Museum is home to antiquities and priceless collections of ancient religious objects that all belong to Khun Lek Viriyapant, the museum owner. The most exhilarating sight in the museum, the colossal three-headed elephant art display weighs over 250 tons, stands 20 meters high on a pink pedestal and is cast in a pure green-hued copper. An epic image of Hindu mythology’s Airavata, the statue has become one of the most sacred objects in Thailand.
The Giant Swing
Towering at 88 feet, Bangkok’s Giant Swing stands next to the Wat Suthat temple. The Swing, a religious structure in Bangkok, has played a pivotal role in the annual swing ceremonies that symbolically re-enacted the elements of Hindu origin stories. For centuries, young Thai men used the Giant Swing as a slingshot to heaven. The swing ceremony had teams of Thai men in intricate headdresses competing to launch themselves into the air using the swing. They would use their teeth to catch a sack of coin tied to the top of a pole 25 meters above the ground. This Swing ceremony is a reenactment and a representation of the unshakable Shiva of Hindu legend. Unfortunately, after several participants fell to their deaths in many occasions, this ceremony was discontinued in 1935.
Bangkok Corrections Museum
The Bangkok Corrections Museum, an incarceration museum, preserves the grisly aspects of Thai prison history and the harsh prison life before the penal system was reformed. The museum is the former site of the old Bangkok Remand Prison that was built in 1890. The museum shows life-sized wax figures that act out excruciating execution scenes. You can also find gruesome corporal punishment weapons and tools that display the grimness of the old penal system. Although the Thai government decided to demolish the prison in 1987, a cellblock, a side of the prison wall, three blocks and two watch towers were preserved to establish the Corrections Museum.
Rich in contrasts and mystery, Bangkok is undeniably anything a visitor wants it to be—a picturesque Asian metropolis crammed with fascinating and unusual attractions. You will find yourself immersed in Thai supernatural inclinations that are deeply entangled with animism. While known for being a Buddhist city, it will also mesmerize you with its reverence to Hindu mythological structures.