An Alternative Guide to Thailand: Unusual Things to See & Do

© Courtesy of the Pai Circus School and Hostel
© Courtesy of the Pai Circus School and Hostel | © Courtesy of the Pai Circus School and Hostel
Kelly Iverson

Your Thailand travel itinerary just got a little weird. Here, an alternative guide to the Land of Smiles chock-full of unusual things to see and do.

1. Learn a few circus tricks


You no longer have to join the Cirque du Soleil to learn the tricks of the trade. Instead, head to the Famous Pai Circus Hostel in the quaint city of Pai. Surrounded by Thailand’s northern mountain ranges on almost every side, this hostel is both welcoming and interesting. In addition to a friendly atmosphere and chilled out crowd hanging around the plethora of backpacker watering holes, this hostel also has daily circus and yoga lessons. From juggling balls to feather-balancing, prepare to impress your friends back home with your newfound skills.

Famous Pai Circus Hostel, Mae Hi, Pai District, Mae Hong Son, Thailand, +66 992 733 678

Morning yoga class | © Courtesy of the Pai Circus School and Hostel

Try a fish spa

The sensation is one that simply can not be explained, as hundreds of tiny fish nibble and chow down on the dead excess skin around your foot. Be aware that health officials from around the world have warned spa-goers of potential health risks they face by partaking in such a strange spa endeavor; however, this does not seem to have stopped tourists in Thailand from going to these unusual spa. Some swear by it, while others stay as far away from these hungry fish as possible.

Fish Spa, Phuket

3. Check out Wat Rong Khun

Wat Rong Khun, also known as the White Temple, is located in Chiang Rai in the northern region of Thailand. From a distance, the temple is nothing short of stunning, with a stark white exterior that catches the attention of tourists long before they make their way to the temple’s entrance. When they do finally get there, they will find the entrance guarded by demons. Do we have your attention yet? Take a closer look to find that the architecture is extremely interesting, to say the least: this is no traditional Buddhist temple. Created by the noteworthy artist Chalermchai Kositpipat, the temple depicts traditional Buddhist motifs in a seemingly dark way. See for yourself by heading to this temple.

Wat Rong Khun, San Sai, Mueang Chiang Rai District, Chiang Rai, Thailand, +66 53 673 579

Wat Rong Khun, The White Temple | © Justin Vidamo/Flickr

Chat with a monk

Have you ever been curious as to what it takes to become a monk? Wonder no more, as monks are readily available for conversations in temples around Thailand. One of the most popular destinations for a monk chat is in Chiang Mai, where a number of temples are found throughout the city with areas set aside for conversation. These informal discussions take place throughout the day, with welcoming and friendly monks available and happy to answer any questions visitors might have of their particular lifestyle.

Monk portrait

4. Explore Phra Nang Cave


As visitors stroll down the picturesque Phra Nang Beach in the province of Krabi, one of the last things they expect to find is a cave full of penises. Yet there they are, made up of all different shapes, sizes, and colors. This is not a prank, but rather a phallic shrine dedicated to Phra Nang, a female spirit who symbolizes fertility. Many Thai people make offerings here, and visitors should be mindful of this and respect local customs and beliefs.

Phra Nang Cave, Tambon Ao Nang, Amphoe Mueang Krabi, Chang Wat Krabi, Thailand, +66 99 407 6453

Phra Nang Cave | © Giuseppe Bognanni/Flickr

5. Browse Siriraj Medical Museum


Siriraj Hospital was established in 1886 and was the first royal hospital of Siam. It is here visitors will find the Siriraj Medical Museum, which is actually a campus made up of six different museums. Be warned that this museum is not for the fainthearted, as it is filled with sinister images that will not soon leave your memory. There is much on display throughout all six museums, including human organs, cadavers, and more. This medical museum, also known as the museum of death, is one you will not soon forget.

6. Visit Buddhist Hell

As you make your way through all of the unusual attractions in Thailand, be sure to make a quick pit stop in hell … Buddhist Hell, that is. Wang Saen Suk Hell Garden is not your typical garden. Instead of blossoming flowers and colorful shrubbery, visitors will instead find gruesome images and statues portraying the future of those who are sent to hell to pay for their sins. Buddhist Hell is located just outside of the capital on the way to Pattaya. There is no entrance fee, though donations are accepted.
Wang Saen Suk Hell Garden, Bang Saen Sai 2 Soi 19, Saen Suk, Chon Buri, Thailand, +66 89 690 3914

7. Walk the Wat Pha Tak Suea walkway

For one reason or another, tourists love attractions that seem dangerous. One way for visitors to get this adrenaline rush is by walking one of the many skywalks located around the world. From China to Canada, tourists have been gleefully tiptoeing their way along these see-through walkways, and now Thailand finally got one of its own. Located in the quiet province of Nong Khai is Wat Pha Tak Suea. It is here visitors will find a u-shaped glass walkway. It just opened last year, and daredevils and tourists alike have been coming together to walk along this glass-surfaced attraction. Those who dare venture out on this narrow walkway will have an amazing view of the Mekong River and into Laos.

Wat Pha Tak Suea, Pha Tang, Sangkhom District, Nong Khai, Thailand, +66 86 642 0088

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