Bangkok has plenty to offer that doesn’t involve Buddhist shrines, statues, or sacred relics. Although you can take taxis in the city to many out-of-the-way sites, part of the fun is getting there using public transportation. Choose a great IHG hotel close to public transportation and be sure to check out some of my trip recommendations that will make you rethink your perceptions of Buddha-centric Bangkok.
In a country with a rich military history and a large number of daily flights, it shouldn’t be surprising that decommissioned airplanes need a place to go. However, the Bangkok Airplane Graveyard is one of the few in the world where you can see both military and civilian aircraft alike, and that you can actually climb aboard these abandoned aircraft, seeing what they look like after years of neglect and decay. Most of the aircraft in the graveyard are Boeing 747s, but some are smaller planes, as well. Just head towards the back and start poking around in the grass — you’ll find plenty.
Siriraj Medical Museum
Known as the “Museum of Death,” the Siriraj Medical Museum is one of the most interesting museums in the world. Made up of five smaller museums, the Siriraj explores the causes of death, the human anatomy, and even the treatment and preservation of bodies after death. Some of the most famous exhibits are the mummified remains of the first known Thai serial killer, pieces of Homo Erectus skeletons, and even whole-body dissections with cross sections for closer examination. This museum is not for the faint of heart, but it’s definitely something that remains in your memory long after your visit.
Nightingale-Olympic Department Store
While the name implies that goods can be bought here, shopping is not the main attraction at Nightingale-Olympic. Instead, the department store appears to have been frozen in time, with goods covered in dust, eaten away by time, and forgotten about for years on end. You can still find multiple goods for sale in the sports and musical instruments categories, and although new, they somehow seem to complement their older counterparts nicely. Visitors say that the strange exercise and massage machines are among the most interesting finds and note that all of them are still operating.
While today the Bangkok action is centered on its main thoroughfares, for thousands of years the city went about its day-to-day through a system of canals that are still in operation today. Floating markets, tours of the canals, and even private rental boats offer a glimpse into the city’s love affair with the water. Some tours will even take you near the houseboats that crowd Thonburi and other districts, showing you the life of modern fishing families in Thailand and the brightly decorated boats that they call home.
While the majority of Bangkok has managed to separate itself from its jungle roots, Prapadaeng Park has managed to preserve a lush and living jungle in the middle of the city. More than 20 kilometers around, the area is best explored via rented bicycles for around 100 baht per day. Access to the jungle is achieved via a ferry, and the area includes a floating market and Buddhist temple for those wanting to explore less natural options in the area.