Beyond its swanky resorts and shopping sprees, Asia offers a world of oddities that make Las Vegas’ eccentricities look like child’s play. Here are the 10 of the most bizarre activities in Asia for the curious globetrotter.
FIRE A BAZOOKA IN CAMBODIA
If the thrill of emptying a clip into a paper attacker in a firing range isn’t enough, then look no further than Phnom Penh to get your rocks off. Not far beyond the abhorrent Killing Fields, trigger-happy tourists that can still muster an appetite for destruction can peruse a menu of exotic weapons – from pistols and hand grenades to AK-47s and RPGs – before obliterating diesel drums into blazes of adrenaline-pumping carnage. But for Pete’s sake, aim far away from anything with a heartbeat.
VISIT THE KINGDOM OF THE LITTLE PEOPLE IN CHINA
China might have the longest wall in the world, but isn’t short of small attractions either. Hidden away in the Yunnan province’s serene capital of Kunming is the Kingdom Of The Little People – a fantasy theme park featuring mushroom-shaped houses and over a hundred dwarfs. Dressed in fairy-tale garb, employees of the park act out performances based on folk stories for tourists’ amusement. You may feel like you’re living out your dream of being on the set of Willow, but treat them with respect.
EXPLORE AN ABANDONED AIRPLANE IN INDONESIA
A grounded commercial airliner found anywhere other than in an airport usually spells disaster – which raises questions as to what the heck this plane is doing in a dirt patch in South Kuta, Bali. Despite its mysterious origins, urban explorers have jumped at the chance to wander through the hollow Boeing 737. Stripped of its seats and flight components (and, unfortunately, its in-flight liquor), adventurers can seize the rare opportunity to walk along an airplane’s wings without being sucked into the stratosphere.
EAT A LIVE OCTOPUS IN SOUTH KOREA
If you’ve ever compared yourself to Bear Grylls and have also dreamt of your food fighting back, then book yourself a flight to Seoul. Sannakji – a squirming dish of freshly cut octopus arms – is a delicacy also enjoyed by some in its whole and living state. The dish might put you in hot water with animal rights activists, but there’s also the chance that your food may defeat you; whereby the cephalopod’s suction cups can stick to the mouth or throat, resulting in suffocation and/or death.
BE BLESSED BY A WOODEN DONG IN BHUTAN
While we normally equate d*ck drawings as juvenile graffiti, paintings of ejaculating phalluses on houses in Bhutan are both welcomed and worshipped. Based on the belief that these symbols bring fertility, the notion is embodied at Chimi Lhakhang – a Buddhist monastery blessed by a radical and sex-obsessed Divine Madman, and a place of pilgrimage for travellers wishing to bear children. Monks perform blessings by whacking visitors’ heads with a wooden phallus, after which parents often return with their newborn children to pay gratitude.
GET PIERCED AT THAIPUSAM IN MALAYSIA
Even those of you that sport tattoos and stretched ears are sure to get skittish at the bad*ssery of Thaipusam. Celebrated annually in George Town, Penang, devotees of the Hindu festival make offerings to the Gods by enduring piercings through the cheeks, tongue or skin with hooks and skewers – all before climbing over 500 steps to reach a waterfall hilltop temple. And because pain doesn’t discriminate, tourists with a penchant for the extreme are welcome to join – so long as they don’t cry for their mamas.
ENJOY A MASSAGE WHILE YOU PEE IN THAILAND
No, it ain’t that kind of massage – but it doesn’t mean it’s any less unusual, given its environment. In certain nightclub restrooms in Bangkok, male patrons are treated to neck, back and head rubs while having a tinkle at the urinals; loosening you up with a back realignment before returning to the d-floor to pop-and-lock. While we can’t guarantee improved dance moves, we’re sure that girlfriends won’t be dumping their fellas for these instances of expelling bodily fluids during a massage.
EAT FROM A TOILET IN TAIWAN
Clearly, the owners of novelty Taipei restaurant, Modern Toilet, have never heard the term “don’t sh*t where you eat” – or vice versa, in this case. If you’re the kind of person that really values your toilet time, then not only will you be delighted to be seated on a glittering commode, but you’ll also get to eat from one too. Customers can (try to) enjoy edible excrement like beef hotpot and chicken curry straight from toilet bowl-inspired accoutrements, along with urinal-shaped drink-holders. Dee-lish.
BE HEALED BY A WITCH DOCTOR IN THE PHILIPPINES
If you’ve ever had the feeling that you may be the subject of someone’s voodoo doll, then you might want to consider seeking out a witch doctor. Mananambas, or traditional healers, can be found on the remote Filipino island of Siquijor, where they cleanse travellers of bad juju through mystic bulo-bulo rituals and hilot healing potions. The island is also home to shamans that will cast spells on those you wish to punish – but that’ll probably just lower your karma points.
GET COSY IN A CUDDLE CAFE IN JAPAN
Reigning supremacy in all things bizarre, Japan lives up to its reputation with Soineya, the country’s first ‘cuddle cafe’. Located in the otaku hub of Akihabara, Tokyo, lonely hearts and fetishists are offered the chance to sleep next to a young female stranger to catch up on some ‘Z’s. Prices range anywhere from ¥3,000 ($37 SGD) for a 20-minute nap, to a whopping ¥50,000 ($605 SGD) for a 10-hour snooze – not including optional costs of sleeping in her arms or staring into her eyes as you slip into a steady slumber.
This article was originally published in JUICE Singapore May 2015, Issue #200, and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.