For those who are not amused by the gleaming mountain tops of China’s snowy Chogori Peak, the historic behemoth of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, or the increasingly spectacular skyline of Kuala Lumpur, there are other reasons to visit Asia than the everyday destinations that bring in millions upon millions of tourists every year.
Asia is also home to some of the strangest attractions the world has to offer, with a unique liberalism, culture and tastes for certain things that simply would not fly in the west. Here are our five favorites.
Don’t Like Pad Thai? Try Bug Thai
It is well known that Asian cuisine entails some pretty fishy dishes. If only they would just stick to that, we would not have to mention that roasted and barbequed insects are also a favorite in many local cultures. From fire ant sushi to beetle kebab, there are number of ways Asian societies have managed to turn nature’s peskiest life forms into tasty treats.
Insect cuisine exists in many places, but perhaps no variety is more abundant than in the outdoor bug market in Sisaket, Thailand, where pretty much anything goes. From beetles to silk worms to grasshoppers to humongous Chinese cockroaches, you can find it all in Sisaket. Where it may not be in your interest to start munching down on these unappetizing hors d’oeuvres, locals will willingly take them down by the handful. But if you are feeling brave…at least you will have something to tell your friends.
Read more about things to do in Thailand
We have all heard of Cambodia’s famous 11th century mega-temple complex of Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, but did you know that just a few hours away in Phnom Penh lies perhaps one of the strangest attractions in the country? Discovered only in the last few months, fishermen in the Mekong and Tonle Sap have uncovered an 8-foot, or around 2.5-meter, tall shipping anchor that hundreds of Cambodians believe to have magic powers… yes, I said magic powers.
According to the buyer of the anchor, she had a dream that the gods descended from the heavens and told her to buy the anchor, and now pilgrims from far and wide come every day to make offerings to it and to pray.
Now, here’s the kicker. Three weeks after the first anchor was uncovered, fisherman unearthed another anchor twice as large in stature, and twice the drawing power as a sacred healer. Strange, but true.
A Taste of North Korea
Not many people get to catch a glimpse of North Korean culture and everyday life; however, the government has opened a chain of restaurants all around Asia called Pyongyang restaurant, where you can freely come and go, enjoying North Korean cuisine serviced by North Korean waitresses. These lovely girls, adorned in traditional dresses, will not only serve you food, but also jump on stage, play the bass, keyboards, bass and electric guitar and woo you with popular western tunes. Absolutely give it a try, just try your best to avoid the pepper dog stew.
The Ramen Museum
If you love noodles, you will love the “Raumen” Museum in Shin-Yokohama near Tokyo, dedicated to the many hundreds of kinds of ramen noodles placed into the hearts and minds of millions of people over the past 40 years. Within the museum there are several ramen restaurants where you can pick your favorite, and if that is not enough, move on to the souvenir shop on the ground floor and pick up all kinds of ramen-embroidered cooking utensils.
Read more: The Best Museums in Tokyo
The Kagaya Bar
The Kagaya bar in Tokyo may be one of the weirdest things in the whole eastern hemisphere. If you’ve ever had a craving to see a bartender hopping around in a frog suit… well, this is the place. The mad part is that you not only get to see a full-grown man donning a frog outfit, you get to see this man jumping up and down screaming in a frog outfit. And the drinks are no less of a ride, for they emit a loud cow-like ‘moooooo’ when you lift your glass.
Read more: Tokyo for Beer Lovers