There’s a unique tour that takes you to Seoul’s murky alleyways where blood had been shed once upon a terrifying time.
We all have different travel styles, from adventurous to romantic to downright bizarre. Here, we look at some of Asia’s strangest tours that are most certainly not designed for the ordinary traveller.
Tokyo, Japan: Be a ninja
Think you’re ready to take your Fruit Ninja skills to several notches higher? Here, you get to learn the basics of ninja meditation plus five other techniques using real weapons – and in a ninja outfit, no less! Leading the ninja-samurai clan who will be teaching you all the cool moves is Shibata Vanessa, currently the 18th-generation owner. Her ancestors served the Tokugawa shogunate – the last feudal Japanese military government – for 265 years, some skilled in stealth techniques and some, in ninja weaponry. Some of the weapons you’ll be checking out were handcrafted by Shibata Vanessa herself!
Phnom Penh, Cambodia: Revisit the horrors of the Cambodian genocide
This half-day tour takes you back in time to Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge regime from 1975 to 1979, during which an estimated one-and-a-half to three million people died. The Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum you’ll be visiting was formerly a high school that was converted to the notorious detention centre known as Security Prison 21 – one of approximately 150 execution centres in the country. At Security Prison 21, prisoners were interrogated and tortured before being sent to the Choeung Ek Killing Fields where as many as 20, 000 of them were brutally killed. What you will see at the museum today are paintings, photographs, and even torture devices used at the time. Gulp.
Seoul, South Korea: Explore Seoul’s haunting past
A tour that’s definitely not for the faint-hearted, it begins with a visit to the site where Sejo of Joseon, the seventh king of the Joseon Dynasty of Korea, killed many men in a bid to possess the throne. Some of the other sites you’ll be checking out include Korea’s very first western hospital (whose former occupants were allegedly slaughtered), a haunted restaurant, a park that was notorious for suicides, as well as a stream that used to be littered with floating corpses. Now that’s a side of Seoul you’d least expect to see!
North Korea: Just because
For a taste of the truly mysterious and puzzling, look no further than the hidden world of North Korea. Setting off from Beijing, board the overnight train to Pyongyang where you’ll spend the next four days or so exploring the capital and beyond. Some of the highlights include Panmunjom, the “truce village” that sits at the North/South Korean border; the Military Demarcation Line, which Bill Clinton once said was the most dangerous spot on Earth; and Kumsusan Memorial Palace, the mausoleum for eternal president of North Korea Kim Il-sung and his son Kim Jong-il.
Bangkok, Thailand: Satiate your morbid curiosity
Mummified serial killers, dissected human bodies, colourful wooden penis statues – if the sight of all the above is your idea of a fun holiday, then this is just the tour for you. The first stop is Siriraj Medical Museum, also ominously known as the Museum of Death, which houses not only the mummified remains of Thailand’s first known serial killer but also babies that died from birth defects – including one that had been sawed in half. Moving on to something a whole lot lighter, visit a fertility shrine where you’ll see a collection of colourful wooden penis statues. Finally, feast your eyes on 14 dissected human bodies at the Human Body Museum. And there you have it, your one-way ticket to endless nights of disturbing dreams and silent screams.