What’s the difference between whacky and tacky? Half the fun is finding out, and Asia is full of bizarre places to play, watch and sleep that will have you raising eyebrows at your next dinner party.
Being arrested was never so much fun at Tokyo’s Lockup bar. Guests arrive and are handcuffed before being taken to a cell of the converted prison. Drinks are served from water pistols or syringes while the smoking area used to be the site for executions. Freedom, and sparkling clean sheets, is within reach at the Shibuya Excel Tokyu Hotel, where you can reward your great escape with dinner at their French restaurant.
The bigger they are, the harder they fall. Watch the annual Elephant polo tournament at Sri Lanka’s seaside town of Galle. Teams of three use bamboo sticks ended with mallets hitting standard polo balls (used to be soccer balls…but the results were not pretty). After that sight, cool off in your air conditioned room at restored mansion Lady Hill Hotel and admire the view from the highest point in Galle.
Vietnam is a country of contrasts, and the wacky factor reaches maximum when France meets Asia in a revamped French villa called the Crazy House. Visitors can ramble around a complex of treehouses built around the guesthouse, or stay in one of the five themed rooms including the Ant room, Tiger room and Eagle room which comes with a giant eagle egg fireplace. The brightly-coloured curtains and spiderweb skylights are just some of the eye-catching, brow-scratching designwork. Or lay your head on a more down-to-earth pillow at the Empress Hotel near Xuan Huong Lake and enjoy the tranquil view at the open air video café bar.
Taking the plunge has a whole new level of meaning when lovers dive in for an underwater wedding at Trang in Southern Thailand. At the annual wedding ceremony event from 13-15 Feb (Valentine’s weekend), couples gather to scuba dive and bubble something about “I do”. Watch from the beach at the pre-dive blessing ritual (or get scuba-hitched yourself!) then have your own version of a honeymoon at the inner city Thumrin Thana Hotel’s Say Yes Thana Pub.