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Big Knit Café – Where Knitting Goes Well with Coffee

Knitting is mostly known as a favorite grannies all around the world, but at Bangkok’s Big Knit Café, it’s practiced by crafty young professionals trying to unwind.

Who would have thought knitting could be the recipe of a truly successful café business? Not many people, I’m sure, but that didn’t stop Khun Nice from starting Big Knit Café, a now internationally known venue where anyone can savor a cup of coffee or a tasty piece of cake, while knitting and learning new tips from local crafters. Even if you don’t know the first thing about knitting, all you need to do is buy a kit, and the staff at Big Knit Café will teach you everything there is to know.

Apart from all the cakes, pastry delicacies and drinks, Big Knit Café also offers a large colorful collection of yarn, from cotton and bamboo to alpaca and cashmere. The walls are practically lined with rows of yarn, and all customers have to do is decide on type and color.

Big Knit Café is far from being a knitting spot for grannies, as the place is visited by women of all ages, even college students and children, eager to discover the secrets of the art. Even some Thai celebrities stop by Big Knit Café, every once in a while, to relax in a nice, friendly atmosphere.

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The Bizarre Wat Bang Phra Tattoo Festival

Every March, the Wat Bang Phra temple of Nakhom Pathom, Thailand, becomes the scene of a weird celebration, known as  the Wat Bang Phra Tattoo Festival.

While in most western countries tattoos are viewed as an art form, in Thailand, a country with a culture deeply rooted in superstition and spirituality, tattoos are considered more than just skin deep artworks. The traditional Thai tattoos, known as “Sak Yant”, are believed to have magical powers, and people get them done at temples, for protection against evil spirits, and as good luck charms. Many members of Thai police, army, and the underworld think some tattoos have the power to stop bullets and blades from piercing their skin.

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Thailand’s Beautiful Soap Flowers

They look like beautiful exotic flowers, and they even smell the part, only unlike the real thing, Thai soap flowers last forever.

Although these days, soap flowers can be bought as souvenirs from all around Thailand, these scented masterpieces originated in the villages around Chiang Rai. When they weren’t too busy tending to their farms or working in the rice paddies, locals practiced carving on pieces of soap. Their hobby turned into a fine art, and the delicate soap flowers they sold at the local night markets soon captured tourists’ imagination.

The art of soap carving is passed down from generation to generation, and since it’s all done using a few carving knives, the beauty of the flowers depends a lot on the skill and finesse of the artist. Chiang Rai remains the best place to buy soap flowers as souvenirs, and visitors can witness the carving process first hand.

Take a look at the jaw-dropping soap flowers and tell me if you could ever use any of them for washing your hands. I’d maybe do it if it was the last piece of soap on Earth.

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Thai Baker Makes Bread Shaped as Human Body Parts

Kittiwat Unarrom, a talented artist from Thailand, uses his skills to create unique loafs of bread shaped like various human body parts.

Kittiwat has experimented with many art forms, from painting to sculpting, but it wasn’t until he had to return home and take over the family bakery that he discovered his true passion – making grotesque-looking bread. Since he first started out, in 2006, he has made a name for himself, and his Body Bakery has become a popular tourist attraction. Read More »

Soccer World Cup 2010 Held Behind Bars

World Cup 2010 Behind Bars is a soccer competition, held in Bangkok’s Klong Prem Central Prison, between 18 seven-player teams, made-up of inmates.

On June 10, the opening match, between Mexico and South Africa, was played on a muddy soccer pitch, inside the Thai prison, under the watchful eyes of dozen guards. It ended in a 1-1 draw, but the prisoners on the sidelines enjoyed every minute of the rare spectacle. They cheered and banged cow bells for the entire match, showing their support for the teams.

The World Cup Behind Bars was also held in 2002 and 2006 and this year it features 18 seven-player teams, from 45 different countries, picked from the prison’s 1,000 inmates population. They can each represent whatever nation they want, even if it’s not their own, and free spots are taken by Thai prisoners.

The winners of the World Cup Behind Bars 2010 will receive a replica of the FIFA World Cup trophy.

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Wat Phai Rong Wua – Thai Hell on Earth

Wat Phai Rong Wua has to be one of the most bizarre tourist attractions on the face of the Earth. Featuring scenes of torture, performed by devilish creatures, this Buddhist temple complex is what Thais expect hell to be like.

Mostly unkown to the Western world, Wat Phai Rong Wua is a popular destination for Buddhists, who flock here every year. Known as the location of the largest metal-cast Buddha figure in the world, and of the Palace of a Hundred Spires, Wat Phai Rong Wua also houses dozens of sculptures of people being tortured by demons and various monsters. Some are poked in the face with a tridents, while others suffer, with their insides hanging out, in the jaws of giant monsters. There’s blood everywhere and loudspeakers around the complex describe the tortures these sinners have to undergo.

Wat Phai Rong Wua doesn’t strike you as the kind of place you’d want to take your children, on a family vacation, but Thais from all over the country travel here, with their kids, to show them what can happen if they don’t say their prayers, or do bad deeds. Seems pretty weird, doesn’t it? I guess that’s why you hardly see any westerners around this place. Read More »

Orangutan Boxing Matches Held in Thailand

A Thai theme-park, outside Bangkok has become a popular tourist attraction by organizing orangutan boxing matches.

Huge crowds of tourists and “sport” enthusiasts gather at Safari World to watch orangutans duke it out in 30 minute-boxing matches. Forced to wear boxing gloves and shorts, the two primates have been trained to hit each other for the entertainment of man. Although organizers claim the orangutans have been trained to simulate being knocked-down, animal activists say it’s a clear case of animal cruelty.

It’s sad to see thousands of tourists cheer as two 250-pound primates pummel each other, or hear them whistling when a female orangutan, wearing a bikini, displays the round number, but it’s the world we’re living in. These peaceful creatures don’t fight because they like to, but because they’ve been trained to do so, an because they would be beaten if they didn’t.

The Thai government shut down the monkey boxing matches, in 2004, and it’s yet unclear how this bizarre and cruel show is still allowed.

Photos by Barcroft India

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The Samurai Robot Waiters of Hajime Restaurant

A Japanese restaurant in Thailand isn’t something to get overly excited about, but if that restaurant has robot samurais as waiters, it’s a whole other matter.

Lapassarad Thanaphant, a Thai entrepreneur, decided to open a new Japanese restaurant, and found the perfect way to make it stand out from the competition: robot waiters. But not just any robots, samurai-shaped machines that slide all the way to your table, bring you your order, clean tables, and even do an adorable dance routine, to entertain guests.

So, just days after the robot kitchen chef was presented, we already have an almost complete automated restaurant system. According to the owner of Hajime Restaurant, the cool samurai robot waiters cost $930,000, but with the popularity this place is enjoying this days, he’s sure to get his money back very soon.

Be sure to check out the Hajime samurai robot waiters in action, in the video, at the bottom.

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Watch Out, Here Comes the Monkey Police

Santisuk a 5-year-old pig-tailed macaque is a proud member of the Thai police, doing his best to keep the streets crime-free.

Well, maybe I’m exaggerating a little bit, since Santisuk is really just a mascot for the police force of Saliburi district, Thailand. He was found injured, a while back, and has since then been adopted by local policemen. Every day he puts on his “Monkey Police” uniform and accompanies his colleagues on patrols. He doesn’t do arrests or stakeouts, but he does sit on top of the police car drawing attention and improving police image, in locals’ eyes.

You could say Santisuk is the best PR guy police could ever hire. And he enjoys every minute of his job, especially when he receives tasty treats.

Photos by Damir Sagolj/REUTERS via Daylife

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Sujet Salee – Thailand’s Blind Boxing Champion

Sujet Salee is a 29-year-old Thai boxer who fought his way to becoming a champion, despite being blind, since birth.

Sujet began his boxing career in October of 2008 and since ten has won 5 fights and drew once. He fights against other boxers, who are blindfolded to even the scales. According to his trainers, Sujet Salee has an edge over his opponents, because of his heightened remaining senses. As soon as he makes contact with his opponent he begins attacking, often knocking him down with an elbow hit.

The blind champion’s father was a Muay Thai fighter, and, in spite of his handicap, Sujet wanted to walk in his footsteps. At first, he admits he didn’t think he could handle it, but after years of training, he has become a season fighter, able to fight anyone in a match of blind Thai boxing.

Cherdchai Sangketkij, owner of the boxing camp where Sujet Salee trains, has been blind for 20 years, and understands Sujet’s desire to succeed. He hopes, one day blind, Thai boxing will become a national sport for the blind, and not be perceived as a violation of the rights of the handicapped.

Photos by REUTERS via Reuters

Sujet-Salee-blind-boxer

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Thamkrabok Monastery – World’s Toughest Rehab Clinic

Although the names of those who get treated here are never revealed, Thamkrabok Monastery has had many famous patients, from movie stars to high ranking politicians.

Hidden away in a forest, 140 km north of Bankok, Thailand, the Buddhist Monastery of Thamkrabok takes in alcoholics and drug users from all over the world. Unlinke famous detox clinics like Betty Ford (California), or Priory (London), this Thai monastery doesn’t have paparazzi lurking around, and it’s a lot cheaper. One month at Betty Ford Clinic costs $23,000, while just one week at Priory amounts to 5,000 pounds. At Thamkrabok Monastery, all you need is $3 for food, because treatment and accomodations are supported by donations.

Photos by GETTY IMAGES

The rehab treatment at Thamkrabok lasts 10 days, and only those who come of their own free will, are willing to follow all instructions, and are committed to kicking their habit for good, are welcome. When they decide to go to Thamkrabok Monastery, patients must realize they are in for a rude awakening. No matter their social status or wealth, patients will have to sleep in a mass dormitory, wake up very early and take every medicine given by the monks.

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Nazi Thais Make Absolutely No Sense

This is probably what happens when a nation is completely uneducated about world history. That’s the only way I can explain young Thais organizing Nazi parties and sticking swastikas on their scooters.

I found some photos of this Nazi scooter, taken in Thailand, and started looking a little deeper into this bizarre issue. That’s when I came across more pics of Thai youth wearing Nazi symbols and marching like the armies of the Third Reich.

Really, how weird is that? A people that Hitler would have most definitely wiped out if given the chance, now idolizes him and organizes Nazi parades and proudly sticks Nazi symbols on scooters. The only excuse I can think of is they don’t know what the Nazi doctrine was really about, if that can really be called an excuse.

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