Bangkok is a remarkable place to visit, and really is a city like no other. Whether you are visiting for a dedicated Bangkok city break, or you are passing through on your way to another part of Thailand, you simply must spend at least a couple of nights in this vibrant city.
For a unique experience of Bangkok, it’s worth getting away from the main tourist traps to uncover the many hidden gems in the city. Stray from the beaten track and discover the more unusual side to this part of Thailand.
In a city like Bangkok, you are spoilt for choice with quirky things to do. A lot of these places and activities may seem perfectly normal to the locals, but will certainly seem a little odd to tourists. So if you’re after a more unique way to explore the city, here are 10 fun and quirky things to do in Bangkok – from the interesting to the downright weird.
1. Spend the night in a prison
If luxury hotels and top notch service are your idea of fun, then it’s safe to say that this one may not be for you. But for those looking for a rather unique experience – complete with striped black and white prison pyjamas – then a night at Sook Station will be right up your street.
You can even get a family room, if you fancy spending the night in a prison cell with your kids! Unlike a normal prison, you are of course free to come and go as you please. Plus, there are some more inviting communal areas where you can relax without the prison bars. As a keepsake, you get a mugshot to remind you of your (fun?) memories of your prison simulation experience.
2. Airplane graveyard
As you’d expect, Bangkok’s Airplane Graveyard is home to abandoned bits of airplane bodies. But it’s not your standard tourist attraction. The area is actually private property and is home to two or three Thai families who have built their homes alongside the derelict planes.
As a private property, you can’t just stroll on in. You’ll need to catch the attention of one of the residents and pay an entrance fee, which is around 600 Baht (or less if you’ve honed your haggling skills). This is pretty pricey for Thailand, but you’re supporting the families who live there. Plus, the chances are that you’ll be the only one visiting seeing as the attraction doesn’t feature in most guidebooks. So it’s an excellent photo opportunity! It’s certainly one of the more quirky places to visit in Bangkok.
3. Siriraj Medical Museum
This place is not for the faint-hearted. Also known as the ‘Museum of Death’, this medical museum is housed in Thailand’s oldest hospital. It is a popular educational site for medical students, being home to various pathological, forensic, and anatomical specimens.
It is made up of six smaller museums with a range of gruesome exhibitions. From preserved organs and conjoined twins floating in a jar, to the mummified corpse of a serial killer and a giant scrotum from a man with elephantiasis… this is not a place for the squeamish! But for those with a strong stomach, it’s one of the best quirky things to do in Bangkok.
4. Creepy crawly cuisine
We’re all familiar with the scorpions on a stick and deep fried tarantula that you find on the streets of Bangkok. In fact, it’s hard to walk down a street at night without someone shoving a fried scorpion in your face. But if a street-side insect on a stick doesn’t appeal, maybe a fine dining alternative will… or maybe not.
At Insects in the Backyard, you can enjoy an edible insect fine dining experience. This is the perfect experience for the adventurous foodies who love trying the local delicacies. It turns out there are actually quite a lot of health benefits to eating bugs. The dishes are immaculately presented. They could be mistaken for a plate of food right out of a Michelin-star restaurant – that is until you see the giant cricket sitting on top and the decorative silk worms dotted around the plate.
5. Cabbages and Condoms
For another unique restaurant experience in Bangkok, pay a visit to Cabbages and Condoms. Yep, you read that right! As you approach the entrance and step foot inside the restaurant, you’ll notice a number of life-sized mannequins covered in – you guessed it – condoms.
Although it may seem like a bit of a gimmick to attract curious tourists, the restaurant does have a very serious mission. It was founded by Mechai Viravaidya, a philanthropist on a mission to bring important social issues into the spotlight. The main theme behind the restaurant is that of sexual health, hence the condom spectacle. Sexual health and condoms aside, it’s a great place to enjoy some delicious Thai food in a very pretty setting.
For anyone in the UK who can’t make it to Thailand right now due to the pandemic, there is a Cabbages and Condoms near Bicester, so you can enjoy this quirky Bangkok experience closer to home.
Don’t forget to help yourself to some free condoms on your way out!
6. Spot the unusual buildings
Bangkok is home to a number of bizarre buildings of various quirky shapes and designs. The diverse history of the city is reflected in its varied architecture, where you’ll find ancient temples just down the road from towering modern skyscrapers. It’s a truly eclectic mix of construction.
Aside from the grand temples and beautiful buildings, there are also a number of downright weird structures too. The Elephant Building is a particularly strange building because it is shaped like, well, an elephant. In the business district, you’ll find the Robot Building – a bank that looks just like a robot.
There’s also the incredible but bizarre-looking King Power Mahanakhon Tower. It is an ultra modern skyscraper with a spiral of cuboidal surfaces cut into the side of the building, which gives the impression of a crumbling building. You can take a glass lift to the 78th floor of the building to visit the outdoor observation deck. Complete with glass floors and the illusion of no walls, it’s best avoided if you have a fear of heights!
7. Visit the Ghost Tower
On the topic of unusual buildings, look out for Sathorn Unique Tower. Construction of the tower started in 1990 but came to an abrupt halt following the financial crisis. Building works never resumed, so the tower has been sitting empty and crumbling for over 30 years.
With its post-apocalyptic look and eerie atmosphere, many locals say that the building is haunted – hence its nickname of the Ghost Tower. You cannot enter the premises, as there is a fence surrounding it. This hasn’t stopped many people breaking in over the years for a fantastic photo opportunity. But this is certainly not recommended. Not only is the tower structurally unsound, you risk being arrested.
8. Husky Café
If all the creepy crawlies and human remains of previous quirky things to do in Bangkok have got you craving something more wholesome, then you’ll love the True Love Café. With over 30 Siberian huskies, you can get up close and personal with these fluffy friends. Although the majority of the dogs are huskies, there are a few other breeds too, including Australian shepherds and old English sheepdogs.
The dogs are very well looked after and the cafe is clean and welcoming. Play sessions with the dogs are scheduled twice daily. Unfortunately you can’t book, so it’s all done on a first-come-first-served basis. While you wait to play with dogs, you can enjoy some delicious drinks and cakes.
9. Discover Bangkok’s street art
Unlike other popular South East Asia cities, such as the street art in Georgetown, Penang, Bangkok isn’t necessarily known for its street art. However, if you look a little closer, you’ll find a treasure trove of unique art plastered across the city. From graffiti through to professionally painted murals, there is a whole range of bold and beautiful art to admire.
In fact, many local and international artists have been invited to Thailand in the last 10 years to paint exceptional street art throughout Bangkok. Some of the best places to see these urban masterpieces are Soi Charoenkrung 28, 30 & 32, Pathumwan Sky Walk, Song Wat Road, Khlong Saen Saep, San Chao Rong Kueak Alley, and Saphan Taksin BTS Station.
10. Try 40 year old soup
At the Wattana Panich restaurant in Bangkok, a giant wok is filled with a delicious smelling beef stew. With tender beef, noodles, garlic, and various tantalising herbs and spices, it is a huge pot of goodness.
Nothing unusual about that. But when I say 40 year old soup, I don’t mean a recipe that’s 40 years old. I mean soup that has literally been simmering away for more than 40 years. The leftover stew isn’t discarded at the end of each day – it’s simply added to as the days go by. Perhaps questionable from a hygiene perspective, but this method is supposed to bring the best flavours to the dish. I guess you’ll have to try it to find out!
Bangkok really is a fascinatingly unique city. With plenty of fun and quirky things to do, it’s a place you’ll never get bored of. It’s this exciting mix of vibrance and chaos which makes Thailand’s capital such a wonderfully interesting place.
Do you know of any other quirky things to do in Bangkok? Or have you tried any on this list? Let me know in the comments or get in touch on social media!