Culture shock is certainly something that occurs when traveling abroad. Here in Asia there are many curious customs and holidays that are so different what we experience at home. We actually did an episode on Interesting Asian Holidays (Episode 62). On this episode we talk about some wild and wacky experiences and attractions in Asia, some of which we have experienced and some of which we have not…yet.
Scott and Trevor kick off the episode talking about some of the crazier things they have experienced while living in Asia. Trevor talks about Eating bugs. “There’s actually a new insect restaurant called Insects in the Backyard here in Bangkok. It has a giant grasshopper sticking out of the building. Though I understand most crickets eaten in Thailand are from Cambodia. Oh yeah, I ate a tarantula at Romdeng restaurant in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. That’s pretty weird and wacky.”
Scott says he has done similarly: Been to Romdeng restaurant in Phnom Penh which he thinks is pretty cool. Also eating Rot Duan on the Mekong River on a trip picnic, which he talks about in more detail. Geoffry Hattersly mentioned what he loves about Asia – you really never know what you’re going to see when you leave home each day. Scott continues to be amazed – and he still feels that way
Hammock bars – These are around Southeast Asia, but most typically in Cambodia. Great one just north of Kratie, near the Irrawaddy Dolphin pools. The largest collection is around Oudong Mountain, just north of Phnom Penh: largest collection of hammocks per square km on earth. Scott has done this a couple times outside of Phnom Penh and talks about his experience. Great experience, atmosphere – talk about setting an activity on a slow/chill pace.
Rocket Launchers in Cambodia – Scott has only heard the legend of these. “I’ve seen ads for shooting range with AK47 and M16s offered and don’t doubt you can shoot rocket launchers. The great legend is that you can in Vietnam and Cambodia buy a cow and blow it up.”
Trevor: “I went with some friends near the killing fields who also shot assault rifles. My friend Mike recently brought his son and they played with some pretty heavy gear. I don’t actually know anyone who blew up a cow. I don’t recommend it. But I’m sure you can do it if you want to pay to do so. Another friend recently shot some guns in Vietnam, near the Cu Chi tunnels.”
Scott: “If you search YouTube you’ll find some videos of things out there. The situation is likely to continue to tone-down and change, so search online before setting out to do so.”
Thai Army Base – Trevor: “On a more sane note, something I’ve wanted to do for years but haven’t is go to a Thai army base, several of which they have opened up for tourism. The Royal Thai Army has opened up training camps to visitors, offering both sporting activities such as riding, golf, and sharp-shooting, and adventurous activities modelled on military basic training. Activities including rock climbing, jungle trekking and survival courses all supervised by qualified and experienced Army men. I know there is one, maybe in Lopburi that is Air Cavalry training, like paratrooper style. Looks cool. Think you have to sign up for a week. I have a brochure that says to call the Cavalry Centre in Saraburi Province that says you can drive a tank from the 1920s.”
Thailand is full of weird and wacky stuff… including:
Forensics Museum Bangkok. According to Wikipedia: The Siriraj Medical Museum, nicknamed the Museum of Death, is a medical museum in Bangkok, Thailand. Siriraj Medical Museum is open to the public and is a valuable resource for medical professionals and students. This museum consists of five small medical museums: the Ellis the Pathological Museum, Congdon Anatomical Museum, Sood Sangvichien Prehistoric Museum and Laboratory, Parasitology Museum, and the Songkran Niyomsane Forensic Medicine Museum. Opp the Grand Palace, more or less opposite Wat Phra Kaew – get on at the stop near Thammasat University. At Siriraj Hospital – a bit tricky to find. Website ; Wikipedia; Homemade Tour on YouTube:
Airplane Graveyard Ramkhamhaeng – Scott: “I’ve never been but have driven by it and lived three sois away for almost a year. It’s on Ramkhamhaeng 103, and has two MD-82 jetliners stripped down, with people tending to them and I heard ‘living there’? I think you have to pay to go in to the people that tend to them. They can’t have been there more than 6 years I don’t think. Kinda weird and wild if you’re going to be out that way. Combined with a canalside market out that way, perhaps a walk or bike ride on the canals and a session at Sanam Geela Rajamangala – this is an okay stop to those that want to see urban Bangkok and have seen the main sites.”
Trevor: “I’ve heard the airplane graveyard has had success go to their heads and charge foreigners like $20 to get in now. Unless you’re really into planes maybe other rainy day museum options in Bangkok should be the Museum of Counterfeit Goods or there is a cool toy museum I’ve heard… Or…”
The Bangkok “Snake Farm”, again according to Wikipedia: “otherwise known as Queen Saovabha Memorial Institute which opened in 1922 as an official institute to conduct research and development of treatments against rabies and snake bites, which included a production of antivenom to treat venomous bites and stings. A visit to the institute offers you a chance to explore the intensive exhibition about various kinds of snakes as well as to watch snake-handling and venom-milking live demonstrations, both of which require special techniques from experts. The snake-handling demonstration takes place daily (2:30pm on weekdays, 11am on weekends) but the venom-extraction demonstration takes place only on weekdays, at 11am.”
Snake blood at Khlong Toey Market – Scott: “I don’t condone eating blood from a live snake by any means but we’ve seen the eighties kungfu movies where someone drinks snake blood and I’ve heard about it over here. Noteable from Jerry Hopkins. I think he many even write about it in his book Extreme Cuisine.
Trevor: “Can also do in Vietnam…Funny that I JUST shared this with a friend who drank some Vietnamese snake whiskey. We’ll have a link to the video of Cole drinking fresh cobra blood and then eating a still-beating cobra heart in Vietnam (mixed with whiskey of course)- Vietnamese love to mix their whiskey with snakes and birds, even crows which is pretty freaky…”
Tubing Vang Vieng – Scott hasn’t done this – Trevor has been there. The situation has toned down very much but there still are party bars, not as many, but likely worth checking out. There’s lots of hotel building going on there and it’s only bound to grow and go slightly upscale. But being Loas, it’s not going to be over-run anytime soon.
Splashdown Water Park outside of Pattaya Thailand is based on the TV game show Wipeout. It’s near the Nickelodeon waterpark, which I have yet to try but sounds pretty awesome. We have some video from this. I did like three or four waterparks in a three or four month span a couple years ago. This one was certainly different. In a somewhat dangerous kind of way.
Happy Pizza, Cambodia – We are by no means giving advice on doing these and people should be cautious – drugs are illegal in Cambodia (but it can be fun!!)
Switching gears a bit, I’ve been to Nga Phe Kyaung Monastery, aka the jumping cat temple Inle Lake, Myanmar. Honestly, this one might belong on episode 66: Animal Tourism. I don’t really know how training cats to jump through hula hoops could be exploitive or abusive, but it sure is odd.
Mustache Brothers Mandalay, Myanmar – Scott: “They’ve been doing shows in Mandalay for decades and are cult favorites of sorts. I remember Joe Cummings who was on Episode 62: The Hunt with Joe Cummings telling me about meeting them 25-30 years ago.” YouTube clip & Mustache Brothers Facebook Page
Homestay with Rajan Jones and the indigenous Orang Asli tribe in central Malaysia. Trevor: “I visited this out of the way place I heard about via word of mouth in 1996. I took a local bus to a local bus to a motorbike taxi near a lake called Tasik Cini and was lucky to get one of 6 or 8 beds. The guesthouse was a corrugated steel rectangle divided into 6 or 8 rooms with a mattress on the floor protected by a mosquito net and a light bulb hanging from the ceiling. In the middle of the night…
Trevor: “I just looked it up on Google and can’t believe Rajan is still around! The facebook page even advertises a NATURE & CULTURE STUDENT EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM PACKAGE
- To learn and explore the ‘Orang Asli / Indigenous’ people culture & community.
- Stepping out of your comfort zone to be adaptable with the limited resources and comfort.
- To learn the different species of plants and animals still available. To understand and know the resources from the jungle for food and drink.
- To be totally independent and learn values to face life.
I can totally attest to all of these things: Almost stepped on a cobra. Discovered a tiger bed. Learned how to make whip snares to catch jungle rats. And was given a root that acted as an aphrodisiac, among many other things on my short stay.”
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