#1) Siriraj Medical Hospital, AKA the Forensics Museum.
The most educational part is the parasite museum which shows you exactly what forms in your colon if you eat street stall pork in Thailand. For added fun, try eating spaghetti right after looking at rows of pickled tapeworms.
The highlight of the Forensics Museum is definitely the drippy mummified serial killer phone booths which include the dripping body of infamous cannibal-child murderer-boogeyman, Si Quey. the mummification process is a bit shoddy. It has to be the high levels of humidity here that cause the corpses to “sweat.” All of these bodies are standing on baking tins to collect the corpse drippings which have hardened into pools of dirty lard by their toes. YUMMY!
One of the drippy mummies on the right fell forward against the glass so if you get close to his face you can see a streak of corpsey nose goo along the glass that shows where he fell and shifted in the booth. It’s the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen in my life. I love art!
Directions: Siriraj Medical Museum is open Mon-Sat from 9:00 AM–4:00 PM. Located at 2 Prannok Rd. | Siriraj, Bangkok Noi, Bangkok 10700, Thailand. Directions and map available at their site
#2) The Naturally Mummified Monk of Chinatown
I was strolling around Chinatown with some friends when we happened across a Vietnamese Buddhist Temple (Wat U Phai Rat Bamrung). It looked different than the typical Thai temples so we went to take a closer look and a nice, handsome Vietnamese monk invited us inside.
In a hall of important relics and pictures, behind glass was a mummified monk:
The living monk explained that the mummified monk had preserved naturally and so was not cremated as is the norm when a Buddhist dies. Instead his body was dressed and kept in the temple as a sacred relic. A plaque next to the monk explain his history:
“Chao Phra Khun was born Rueng Mathura Sakul at home in Phadung Krung Krasem canal, See Yak Mahanak district, Phranakorn province, Bangkok, on August 19th, 1900.
At the age of 21 years old, he was ordained as a monk at Wat Mongkol Samakom on May 20th, 1921.
At 09:15p.m., on April 11th, 1958 hen passed away in Chulalongkorn hospital.
It was time to perform the cremation ceremony, the head of Anamm Nikai asked the disciples to open his coffin. Miraculously, his body was still remained and dried without being decayed. Monks brought his body out of the coffin and rearranged him in sitting position. His body as relic was placed in the Patriarch’s Hall in order that Annam Nikai monks ans lat people are able to worship him.”
Thai grammar is cute. It’s cool to just stumble across something like this, it’s definitely not on the Lonely Planet. This is not the first mummified monk I’ve seen. I came across another one, again randomly during a road trip for New Years Eve. Apparently, naturally mummified monks are not a rarity here in Thailand. There’s a famous naturally mummified monk on the island of Samui who has been fitted with some cool shades. I haven’t had a chance to visit him yet.
Directions: Chinatown is a maze so get a map! The temple is located a few blocks from Wat Maha Phruettharam towards the heart of Chinatown in the “camera” district.
#3) Phallic Shrine and David Carradine’s Place of Death at the Swissotel
On David Carradine’s deathday I went to go visit the Swissotel where Carradine autoerotically asphyxiated to death in his hotel room. I wanted to pay my respects and visit the room where it happened. The hotel let me in easily since they assumed I was staying there. You can get inside any hotel as long as you look like you belong there, but they wouldn’t let me into the actual room. I had to pretend I was interested in renting the room for the weekend but even then they refused to unlock the now permanently locked room and instead showed me the room directly above it which was an exact replica.
There are some conspiracy theories surrounding Carradine’s death. His ex-wife thinks he was murdered by ladyboys while some people on the internet think that the phallic shrines at the hotel have something to do with it.
The phallic Chao Mae Tuptim Shrine is located secretly behind a glass building at the hotel next to the sacred Banyan tree. On the way to the shrine are wooden phalluses of various shapes and sizes and even bigger peni surrounding the spirit house shrine. It is said that a woman had gone there to pray for a baby and got her wish so the place has been sacred ever since. But that is just one of many rumors surrounding the place. I recommend only visiting the shrine if you want fertility or else you might get an unexpected surprise next time you get it on!
Directions: 204 Rachadapisek Road, Huay Kwang ▪ Bangkok 10320 ▪ Thailand
Tel: +66 2694 2222 ▪ Fax: +66 2694 2218 ▪ firstname.lastname@example.org
#4) Amulet Market
One of the more interesting amulets available is the kumantong which is supposed to be a roasted fetuses of miscarried or aborted babies whose spirit can be used to either help you or cause mischief depending on the baby and how well you treat it. Of course the kumantongs available at the amulet market are totally fake but it is rumored that real ones exist…
Directions: Take the river ferry and exit #9 Tha Chan. It is on Ko Ratanakosin off Thanon Maharat, near Wat Mahathat.
#5) Mansion 7, the Haunted Shopping Mall
Once you get tired of seeing the same store chains over and over again in every Bangkok mall, head over to Mansion 7 for a unique shopping experience. Not only are the stores completely unique, they also all have a horror theme from spooky bakeries to haunted pubs, and even a big, really well-made haunted house with a great horror story. The decor of the entire mall is dark and spooky, with live bands and DJ’s in the main beer garden area and spooky carnival games to try your luck with. This is a great place to eat, drink, and have some scary fun with your friends.
Directions: 244/7 Ratchadaphisek Road, MRT: Huay Kwang
Open Sunday to Thursday, noon-midnight. Friday/Saturday, noon-2 a.m.
#6) Bangkok Corrections Museum
Although Bangkok prison is still pretty fucked up, Thai prison life used to be much worse than it is now. The Bangkok Corrections Museum is proof of that, depicting what prison life was life not that long ago.
Located on a serene public park in the middle of a popular Bangkok tourist area, this old prison was transformed into a museum after a newer prison was built further away from central Bangkok. It showcases some old school torture and discipline that looks like something out of a medieval torture book instead of a way of life for prisoners as early as the mid-80′s.
The main section of the museum has a row of prison cells. Inside each cell is a typical method of prison torture modeled by mannequins. Even though the museum walls and cells are kept in immaculate condition, I have a feeling that the the walls weren’t that spotless when actual prisoners were kept in there. The sounds of tropical birds chirping in the trees and children playing in the playground a few yards away gave this museum experience an extra surreal feel.
Directions: 436, Maha Chai Road, Samranrat, Bangkok 10200, Thailand.
Tel no. 02 – 226 – 1706 or 02 - 225 - 7320
The museum is open from Mondays to Fridays from 09:30 am – 04:00 pm.
It’s closed on public holidays. Admission is free.
#7) Boob Slapping Enlargement
Sorry guys, this therapy is for ladies only. Certified boob-slapologist and inventor of this therapy, Khemmikka Na Songkhla, has created a special treatment that will make your boobs grow without the use of plastic surgery. She slabs your boobs, puts them on ice, among other very scientifically proven things. She will also slap your face and ass and is willing to teach others her secret method for only $165,000-$330,000 USD depending on how in-depth you want your slapping knowledge to be.
Directions: Ban Tobnom, visit www.bantobnom.com. Address: 32/78 Ramintra Soi 65, Lad Prao, Bangkok. Tel: +66 (0)2 945 8296
#8) The Shrine of Mae Nak
Long ago during the reign of King Mongkut, there was a beautiful woman named Nak who had a husband she loved dearly named Mak. Mak had to leave his beautiful pregnant wife to fight a war, When he returned, he was happy to see his wife and child. The people of the village told him that his wife and child were killed and that what he was seeing were ghosts but Mak refused to believe it.
One night, Mak notices his wife reach out to pick up a lime with a paranormally outstretched limb and he soon realizes that his neighbors were correct. He secretly flees his home so as just to incur the wrath of his wife’s ghost and never returns. Angry at being left, Nak terrorizes her neighbors but an exorcist captures her spirit into a jar and throws it into the river. Some fishermen accidentally find the jar and let her spirit out and it is said a monk captures her yet again and places her spirit into one of her bones. The place where all this took place is now a shrine for Nak where people visit to pay their respects to her.
This popular Thai ghost story was made into a film called Nang Nak.
Directions: The shrine of Mae Nak stands next to Klong Phra Khanong, at Wat Mahabut, a large temple down Soi 77 off of Sukhumvit Road. To get there to take the Sukhumvit line of the BTS Skytrain to On Nut, then walk back to On Nut Road Soi 77), on the north side of Sukhumwit. About 1 km down On Nut, there is a small lane known as Soi 7. Wat Mahabut and the Mae Nak shrine are at the end of Soi 7. You can also reach the temple by boat on Klong Pra Khanong.
#9) Street Fortune Tellers
You can have your fortune told pretty much anywhere in the city but I’ve see a lot in the Silom area near the Hindu (Sri Mariamman) temple. It’s good to know what day you were born so they can give you a more accurate reading and you need to speak Thai or have a Thai interpreter.
I’ve been told that there is an English speaking fortune teller who will read your cards for 100 baht ($3.34) She’s located by the the doorway of CIMB Thai Bank under the Sala Daeng BTS.
Directions: Take the BTS and exit Sala Daeng on exit #3. You can take a motorcycle taxi or walk to soi Thanon Pan towards Silom road. Walk all the way down, you will see fortune tellers on the way to the temple and all along Silom
#10) Unique Sathorn Haunted Skyscraper
I always refer to this as the “coin building” since it reminds me of stacks of quarters lined up together. The skyscraper is 50-stories tall and completely abandoned. It was being built during 1990’s but during the economnic crisis the owners ran out of money and abandoned it. Now people who are adventurous can sneak in, freak themselves out, and take pictures of the place. I haven’t been yet but will definitely go soon. The pictures I’ve seen online look amazing with the rotting walls, escalators, and it has a great view of the city since it’s near the Chao Praya River.
Directions: Take the BTS to Saphan Taksin and look up. Impossible to miss!
#11) The Shrine of the Cobra Queen & Kids
I could not find very much information about this shrine so the pictures and story are courtesy of bangkokpicture.com.
“One worker dreamt that the Cobra Queen came to ask for 7 more days because she’s pregnant and would like to bear the baby first and then move to other place. The worker panicked and then got up and told of the incident to his leader. But the leader believed that it’s just a dream and let that worker continue doing his job.
During the work he drove a bulldozer, but he drove backwards and caused the family of the Cobra to die. The worker was very frightened and drove back home, during which time his car went backwards, it ran over his family and caused them all die. He was very frightened and turned to be a mad guy and disappeared.
Afterwards there were always accidents in that area. One day, a villager invited a Brahman to talk with the spirit of the Cobra Queen. They asked why the Cobra had to be mad and killed people, the Cobra Queen answer that she was mad that her family was dead because she already told people but no one listened to her, so she wanted to take more life than she had lost.
Then the Brahman asked that how to solve and compensate for the fault. The Cobra Queen requested to build the shrine in that area where she died and she would never kill people again and would also help people to conduct merit. As a result, the villagers helped to build the wooden shrine.”
Directions: Soi 48 on Rama 2 Road.
#12) Hindu Vegetarian Festival on Silom (seasonal)
Every year during the first and last day of the vegetarian festival, also known at the 9 Emperor Gods Festival, in Thailand, Silom Road has a massive party for their gods where they pray, dance, and go into deep trance-like states. The last day’s celebration is always the largest, with the entire block being closed down and everyone lining the streets with gods, incense, coconuts, candles, and flowers. Holy men with skewered cheeks parade down the streets, blessing people, while holy statues are carried around the block. It is a very intense experience which I highly recommend attending. The vegetarian festival is lunar and typically falls around October. This year it will be October 5-13/14, 2013.
Directions: Take the BTS and exit Sala Daeng on exit #3. You can take a motorcycle taxi or walk to soi Thanon Pan towards Silom road. You will see shrines as soon as you step out onto the street,
#13) The Freak Show Tents at the Golden Mount Temple Carnival (seasonal)
Directions: Soi Borommabanphot, Ban Bat, Pom Prap Sattru Phai, Bangkok 10100
02 621 0576