I just love this new series on the blog. "Weird Sh#t You See in..." where I feature photos and stories of things that made me go hmmmmmmm in a particular destination.
Thailand is such a popular backpacking destination that many of these stories might not make YOU go hmmmmmmm, but for many of my fellow Americans who have never been to Asia, it's a share-worthy list of weird things.
The spirit of this post is supposed to be playful, so please take it as such.
Weird Food & Drink in Thailand
I understand there's a difference between genuine local food and culinary tourist attraction when it comes to food in Thailand. But when you're in the thick of it, well, the lines are very blurry.
People roam around the street presenting platters of deep fried scorpions on sticks. They will approach you even if you're sitting at a restaurant.
Many restaurants serve massive towers of beer to share. If you're not specific when ordering, you might end up with a whole tower to yourself.
Only in Thailand have I been cruising down a river and been approached by a lady in a canoe selling cold beer and other oddities. Gimme two!
The banana/nutella/egg pancake stalls all over Thailand aren't so weird once you've tried it. In fact, in some places, like on Koh Tao, the banana pancake stalls are quite the late night hang out spots. But the names are always so creative and weird. Love it!
Other Weird Sh#t in Thailand
Ahh, the classic Thailand motorbike set up: more than one adult with multiple kids sandwiched somewhere in between. The Thai's have a love affair with two wheeled transportation (most of Asia does) as it's easier to navigate the crowded streets. Rain or shine, the Thai's operate their lives on these bikes, sometimes hauling furniture, or entire families.
Even after three trips to Thailand, I still do a double take when I see it.
Getting a Thai massage is mandatory for any traveler. The weird part is that you will find massage shops set up on the streets any and everywhere, and you can even get your face massaged. Vigorously.
Thailand is serious about warning smokers about the health risks from cigarettes. Every pack sold has an unforgettable, puke-worthy image.
Some thought provoking classics include black lungs, dead bodies, rotten teeth, and deformed fetus'.
And still, people love to smoke!
Thai lady boys are a thing. A very popular thing. Formally called Kathoeys, transgender people in Thailand actually have a role in society, rather than being somewhat invisible like in the West.
In Bangkok, there are many jobs for transgenders, including cabaret, modeling, go-go dancers, prostitutes, beauticians, shop keepers, and bar servers. There is such a high concentration of transgender people in Bangkok because it is far more accepted and there's a lot of money to be made there. Also because in the rural areas of Thailand it's sometimes not accepted to be a lady boy, so they move to the big city in order to be safe and make money to send home.
Sometimes it's impossible to distinguish a lady boy from a natural born woman because they are so beautiful and put so much effort into their transformation. There are currently an average three gender reassignment surgeries being performed each week in Bangkok. They take it very seriously.
The penis cave on Railay Beach is undoubtedly a weird thing you see in Thailand. Officially called Phra Nang (Princess Goddess) cave in the Krabi Province, the wooden phallus offerings are made by the fishermen before they go to sea.
In Thai culture they believe that the penises and the princess goddesses fertile womb will create prosperity for all of mankind as well as the fishermen.
And then there's the signs. Not sure if they're joking, or the translation into English got a little confusing. Anyway, don't choking.