Over fifty international air carriers offer flights to Thailand’s six international airports. Suvarnabhumi Airport, in Bangkok, by itself receives 45 million passengers a year. Eight hundred flights land there every day. This year, Thailand will host 39.5 million tourists, that number equals over 58% of Thailand’s total native population. Most tourists come for the beautiful beaches, cultural destinations, exciting scuba diving, exotic food, and the world-famous magnet for the sensually curious...Bangkok’s Patpong red light district.
Thailand has earned its place as a “must-see” Asian destination. But, because of that, it may be suffering from “tourist overcrowding.” Newsweek Magazine recently ran an article about the problems that are starting to surface for Thailand brought on by being too popular. Too many divers are destroying the coral reefs. Unsavory “tourist traps” are springing up like mosquitos in a swamp. Tourists are forced to wait in long lines to visit popular locations. All of this leads to a practical conundrum: “How can I visit the glory and beauty of Thailand without being absorbed by the tidal wave of tourists?”
We have an answer for you. There are places to see in Thailand that are, as some might say, “off the beaten path.” Locations where you can see things that you probably won’t see anywhere else. Here are a few.
The Siriraj Medical MuseumDefinitely not for the faint of heart. This museum prides itself on its displays of human cadavers, actual cross sections of human beings, pictures of people with terrible diseases, and an assortment of organs and body parts preserved in jars of formaldehyde. Located at 2 Wanglung Road Khwaeng Sirira in Bangkok, the museum is actually a campus of several buildings, each housing visual affronts. After visiting, most tourists stop at a nearby café and down a few mugs of Chang Beer.
Wang Saen Suk GardenBuddhists have a word for Hell...Naraka. Thailand also has a garden for it: the Wang Saen Suk. As you walk through it, you will see statues and displays depicting images of the tortures meted out to sinners who go to Hell. Depending on the sin, some of them are quite gruesome. Imagine an amusement park designed by Walt Disney...and Hieronymus Bosch. The garden is located about an hour’s drive southeast of Bangkok at Bang Saen Sai 2 Soi 19.
Wat Pa Maha Chedi KaewThis destination, especially sought out by beer lovers, is literally called “The Temple of One Million Beers.” Located in Si Kaeo, this Buddhist temple was created by some monks who had quite a bit of time on their hands. Starting in 1984, they began collecting beer bottles as a way to reduce litter. The hobby got out of hand when they realized they had collected over 1.5 million bottles. What do you do with 1.5 million empty bottles of beer? You build a temple with them. What started as a recycling project became one of the most unique pieces of architecture in the world. Beer bottles now make up the temple, a crematorium, water towers, sleeping areas, and toilet facilities. They even help the Thai economy. The predominant color is brown; these are empty Chang Beer bottles, a Thai favorite. And, for accents, they use empty green Heineken bottles.
There are least 15 other quite unique places to visit in Thailand. Of course, if your idea of visiting a country is to do what everyone else does, you can always visit the Patpong district of Bangkok and take in one of their unique stage shows
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