If you’ve run out of ideas for your next trip to Thailand, consider these five things:
Get a cheap nose job/ knee replacement/ sex change
Medical travel Insurance is on the rise in developing countries, and Bangkok has become a centre for excellent palliative and cosmetic care. Gender reassignment surgeons in Thailand are some of the best in the world for handling your, uh, delicate bits. Knee and hip replacements go for less than half Western prices. Nothing says “Thailand changed my life” like new body parts.
Take a motorcycle-taxi ride
These maniacal drivers pile two-three people on the back. Sidewalks, yellow lines and pedestrian zones are fair game. Most offer a helmet option-take it. Don’t fret, if things end badly, you already know where the hospital is. (See above.)
Visit the Siriraj Medical Museum
This area is actually a complex of 6 museums. Free admission gets you in to all of them. At the pathology museum you can look at things in jars: organs, deformed babies, Siamese twins. The forensic museum holds a fascinating and sobering exhibit on the 2004 tsunami, as well as a mummified cannibalistic serial killer. Other museums cover traditional Thai medicine, anatomy and parasitology. Go after lunch.
Hit the Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan
Once a month, on the Haad Rin beach. Expect between 10 and 30 thousand of your closest friends. Cafes serve boozy drinks and plenty of snacks. Jugglers and fire-eaters abound. With djs spinning trance, techno, reggae and electronica, there’s music for everyone, as long as everyone’s under forty.
Experience the White Temple in Chan Rai
Built by contemporary Thai artist Charlermchai Koitpipat, Wat Rong Khun’s ornate all-white exterior is dedicated to the Buddhist idea of purity. (After the Full Moon party, you’re going to need it.) The ongoing project should be finished by 2070 or so. The interior glows with gold leaf. Look for nods toward contemporary life in the huge murals that feature Spiderman as well as the Buddha.