I found the following article entitled "How to get off the tourist trail" it is all about SE Asia. It has some pretty good ideas that I think you will all be interested in, suck as biking the Mekong River.
I would like to add to the list. Not just getting off of the tourist trail, but "relatively" unique experiences.
How about the following:
-fishing the freshwater rivers in SE Asia
-visiting a prison/prisoners in Thailand
-Homestays, especially in Laos
-Hanging out with the crowds protesting currently in Bangkok.
I am not sure if my list can all be considered "unique" or "off the tourist trail" but I am just trying to brainstorm as I anxiously awail Dec 31 (when I fly into BKK again)!!
Joining a protest you know nothing about is just plain stupid. Also dangerous, several protesters have been killed.
#3 aussieinbkk has been a member since 18/10/2008. Posts: 1
I'm looking forward to reading about your experiences after you get back from you trip, to see how your off-the-beaten-track ideas worked out for you.
I absolutely agree with aussieinbkk, however, that joining a protest that you know nothing about is dangerous. Please do not do that one. Cheers.
Sorry Matt, but I also have to throw my hat into the ring and agree with Aussie and Exacto ... crowds of protestors, particularly in countries like Thailand, are best viewed from a distance.
Last time I tried this was during my very first trip to Asia in May of '92. Big protests were going on near KSR and, being pretty naive, I thought they were very interesting. During a "peaceful" student protest at Suan Luang, the military opened fire on the crowd and killed over 200 people. People scattered, then regrouped by the 10's of thousands and came back ready to start wiping the streets with the militia. They wanted blood! It was not a great place to be. It was terrifying!
The military knew they were in trouble and brought the King out to calm things down. It worked.
Stay away from crowds of protestors.
Your other suggestions are great, though, and I plan to follow through on the cycling one this December.