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A Photographer's Guide to Bangkok

by Philip Greenspun, 2001


Suppose that you're anxious to explore Southeast Asia. Yet you don't want to get caught in the middle of a military junta suppressing the populace (Burma/Myanmar). You don't want to run afoul of the law if you happen to play a song by a Jewish composer (Malaysia). You don't want to be killed by unexploded ordnance (Vietnam). You don't want to be psychologically scarred by meeting people whose entire families were killed by the Khmer Rouge (Cambodia). You don't want to be out of reach of Western comforts (Laos). Where does that leave you? In Thailand, the best country for beginners to Southeast Asia. Thailand has a per capita income of around $7000 per year, an extensive network of paved roads, a comprehensive mobile phone service, and quite a few world-class hotels, resorts, and restaurants.

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Bangkok itself is a sprawling mess of a city, rather like Los Angeles: pollution, heat, and traffic (plus the added bonus of high humidity). For a photographer, however, it is notable as (1) the home of some important temples and palaces, and (2) the gateway to the rest of Thailand.

Old Royal City

Start where the rest of the tourists start: the Royal Grand Palace and associated temples. Be careful to leave your heavy artillery back in the hotel, however. Signs in several places prohibit the use of video cameras and still cameras with film larger than 35mm--if you wanted to see a Hasselblad with a red X through it, this is the place. Hauling out a tripod would definitely be a good way to attract the attention of the ubiquitous guards, many of whom carry automatic rifles.

Just south of the Grand Palace is Bangkok's oldest and largest temple complex: Wat Po. Most of the structures date from around 1800. The main temple (Bot) is billed by Carl Parkes as "among the most elegant in all of Thailand and a masterpiece of Thai religious architecture." Tough to photograph, though, given the close quarters. The 46-meter long 15-meter high gilded Reclining Buddha is not to be missed though. Security is a lot less heavy in Wat Po than at the Grand Palace.

After touring all the sights within the Wat Po complex you're probably tired. Stop at the massage school against the eastern wall and treat yourself to a one-hour session.

With a new spring in your massaged feet, walk two blocks north and then two blocks straight west from Wat Po to the river. Grab the city ferry (2 baht or about $0.05) across to river to Wat Arun. If you've still got the energy and it isn't a Monday or Tuesday, take the ferry back across and catch a taxi or tuk-tuk for a 5-minute ride to the National Museum.

Damnern Saduak Floating Market

If you liked The Man with the Golden Gun (1973) , you'll love the floating market and long-tailed speed boats at the Damnern Saduak floating market, about a two-hour drive west from Bangkok. The authentic local-to-local action takes place starting at 0500. Busloads of tourists from Bangkok begin arriving at 0930 and disfigure the scene to a large extent. If you're serious about photographing the life of the canals and the Thai-to-Thai floating market, you should probably stay overnight at Ban Sukchoke Resort (+66 32 253044, fax 254301) and catch a boat to the market in the first light.


If you're on a bus tour, Kanchanaburi is where you stop to see the Bridge on the River Kwai, made famous in Pierre Boulle's novel and David Lean's movie (1957) . If you're touring Thailand at a civilized pace, Kanchanaburi is where you'd stop for a week to take some boat rides, visit waterfalls in the local national parks, take a train ride on the railway whose construction killed 100,000 people.

The Allied War Cemetery is just a few minutes away from the bridge itself.

Nakhon Pathom

The first Buddhist settlement in Thailand was here in Nakhon Pathom, 54 km west of Bangkok, in the 6th century A.D. Any bus tour to the west of Bangkok will bring you back through this town to see the the world's largest chedi, 120 meters high and built starting in 1860.


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If you've got only a few hours in which to accomplish a lot of shopping, concentrate on the area near the World Trade Center mall, just east of Siam Square. The mall itself contains the Isetan Japanese department store. Across the street is Narayana Phand, the largest handicraft emporium in Thailand. Between the Regent Hotel and Grand Hyatt Erawan hotels is the Peninsula Plaza with high fashion boutiques and Asia Books, where you can find a lot of English titles.

If you've a special interest in antiques and reproductions, stop at the River City shopping center, which is indeed on the river and right next to the Sheraton Royal Orchid Hotel.


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If you're young, poor, and in love with crowds and noise you'll want to stay in one of the famous backpacker guesthouses on Khao San Road, a short walk from the sights of the Old Royal City. To get a room, the guidebooks caution that you must arrive early in the day. The sidewalks are so packed with oversized foreigners shopping for trinkets that you'll literally be forced into the street if you want to get from one end of the block to another. If you're interested in peace, quiet, or authentic Thai culture, however, you'd do better to stay in absolutely any other part of the city.

If you're old and rich, most people would tell you to stay on the river in the Oriental Hotel where you can still see the ghosts of Somerset Maugham and Conrad. Take the advice if you don't mind the fact that the these ghosts today are mostly obscured by mobs of fat New Yorkers clamoring for help from the concierge. Locals aren't fond of the Oriental, claiming that the rooms are tiny and not worth the price.

If you want to avoid Bangkok's horrific traffic and get to and from tourist attractions via the river, stay at the Shangri-La, just a few blocks downriver from the Oriental. This is a much more spacious hotel than the Oriental and nearly all the common areas and restaurants enjoy views of the river.

Digital photo titled regent-bangkok-atrium Digital photo titled regent-bangkok-koi-pond Any hotel built around a koi pond is my kind of place and as an added bonus the Regent Bangkok (not the "Indra Regent") is in most respects what you'd expect from the Four Seasons chain. The one area where the Regent goes way beyond expectations is the 25-meter outdoor pool. An area where it falls short is Internet connectivity. Their Web site advertises "Internet connection" in the rooms so you arrive expecting to plug an Ethernet cable into your network card and blast away at 1.5 Mbits. Instead what is delivered is 28.8K modem-based connectivity. At $15 per hour! The throughput actually delivered was closer to 2K bits per second and it took two or three hours to download a batch of email messages. If business requires you to work in the center of town, or if you love shopping malls, the Regent is a great choice at about $170 per night.


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The good news for gourmets is that McDonald's is well-established in Thailand. The bad news is that KFC is even better established.

Even when you can't find a McDonald's, the quality of food is uniformly very high and prices are quite low. Food and water safety are quite good but Thais don't drink tap water. Bottled water is readily available and absurdly cheap. Given that a meal in the fanciest hotel costs only $10-20 per person, there isn't much reason to take a chance on a dirty restaurant.


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For cultural background and a personal perspective, pick up Bangkok Handbook (Carl Parkes; Moon). Dorling Kindersley Thailand contains a large Bangkok section and thumbnail photos of all the relevant sights.

No matter how many guidebooks you have, Bangkok will defy your attempts to orient yourself. The solution is to immediately buy a good map. Nelles Maps's Bangkok is excellent. Guidebooks will tell you to get Nancy Chandler's or "Groovy Map and Guide of Bangkok".

Real Books

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The classics are Joseph Conrad's Lord Jim (1900) and Somerset Maugham's The Gentleman in the Parlour (1930). A more modern, if twisted, perspective is provided by Spaulding Gray's Swimming to Cambodia. The action in Alex Garland's The Beach moves very quickly from Bangkok down toward the islands beloved by European backpackers. But if you can't sleep on the plane, this is an involving book.

If you're coming to Thailand because you've gotten sick of paying $400/ounce for good dope back home, 4000 Days -- My Life and Survival in a Bangkok Prison (Warren Fellows) will put you right off the idea.

Getting There

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There are no nonstop flights to Bangkok from the United States. If you fly from the West Coast you'll connect through Japan, Korea, or Hong Kong. If you fly from the East Coast, you'll connect through a European hub. A relatively painless way to make the trip from the East Coast of the US is a morning British Airways business class flight to Heathrow. After an hour or two, you connect in the same terminal to an 11-hour nonstop bound for Bangkok. If you get yourself a first class seat on this leg, British Airways gives you a seat that folds completely flat for sleeping. Go to sleep immediately upon leaving Heathrow because it is 4:00 am Bangkok time as you pull away from the gate. You'll arrive at 4:00 pm Bangkok time. If the BA plane is full, there is a Qantas flight that leaves at about same time (10:00 pm) and Qantas first class also has the flat seats. [For more airline choices, see the photo.net guide to international airlines.]

Whichever coast you start from, unless you're in first class and doped up with sleeping pills, the trip will seem endless. If you've got the time, you should probably stop for a few days in one or two places along the way.

A taxi from the airport to downtown is only about $10.

When departing you might want to consider allowing yourself an extra 30 minutes or hour at the airport. You'll find an inexpensive foot massage concession on your way to the gates.

Getting Around

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Taxis in Bangkok are cheap, with a 20-minute ride seldom costing more than $2 or $3. Unfortunately, the 20-minute ride might only take you four or five blocks in rush hour. Fortunately, all taxis are air conditioned. Unfortunately not all taxis have meters and negotiating with taxi drivers is annoying--wait for a cab with a "Taximeter" sign on the room. If you like the sensation of movement you may prefer to take the Skytrain, an elevated rail system, or river boats.


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American and EU citizens don't need a visa to visit Thailand for up to 30 days. If you're going to stay longer, obtain a visa beforehand from the Thai consulate in your home country. In theory you'll legally obliged to arrive with at least US$250 in cash or traveler's checks.

The time in Bangkok is GMT+7, i.e., seven hours ahead of London and therefore 12 hours ahead of New York. Thus if it is 9:00 am in New York, it is already 9:00 pm in Bangkok.

Electricity in Thailand is 220V at 50 Hz. Mechanically, the standard plug seems to be like the European two rounded prong plugs. Most laptop computer and digital camera power supplies can function on this power and at most you'll need a mechanical adaptor. Business hotel rooms often are equipped with an American-style plug near the desk.

The country code for Thailand is 66. If you're European or are an American GSM tri-band mobile phone owner, you'll find excellent GSM coverage throughout Thailand. Keep in mind that they use the European frequencies of 900 and 1800 MHz so an American Voicestream phone won't work unless you've had the foresight to get a special multi-frequency model.

Money is the baht. You can get cash with an American ATM card from just about any bank machine. The exchange rate was 44 baht per dollar in March 2001.

Going Beyond

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Thailand is a bit larger than California and packed with 60 million people. Hedonistic Eurotrash throng the beaches of the south, many of which are indeed beautiful and some offer fine coral reefs to boot. But educated seekers of culture tend to sing the praises of the hilly north, centered around the city of Chiang Mai. In fact, if your time is limited you might want to skip Bangkok altogether and just get to Chiang Mai as quickly as possible. According to a friend of mine, who has made this trip five times, the best way to go from Bangkok to Chiang Mai is by train: 2nd class air conditioned sleeper car. This leaves Bangkok around 6:00 pm and gets into Chiang Mai in the morning.

Learning Thai

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The Thai language is a challenging tonal language like Chinese. If you want to amuse yourself by learning it, certainly the average Thai will be amused as well. Just remember that with tonal languages bad pronunciation means that you're speaking different words.



Text and pictures copyright 2001 Philip Greenspun. These photos were taken with a Nikon D1 digital SLR and 17-35/2.8 lens (whose effective focal length is multiplied by 1.5 due to the small imaging sensor in the D1).

Article created 2001

Readers' Comments

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John Kilroy , May 16, 2001; 05:22 P.M.

Good job as usual, Phil.

Regarding the images: is it my eye, or do all the images have a "certain something" about them that could be attributed to the digital camera used?

Mani Sitaraman , May 16, 2001; 10:28 P.M.

Just some additional information.

If you are looking for a great alternative to the Oriental or Regent Hotels stay in the utterly stunning Sukhothai hotel, which is a widely acclaimed design masterpiece in the whole and in every detail. Hotel rooms in Thailand, even at the top end, are cheap by Western standards, and if you are there on business and someone else is paying, you might as well treat yourself to a rare experience at the Sukhothai.

Eating out is plentiful, and it is easy to misread Phil's line on avoiding restaurants and conclude that all non-hotel restaurants are dirty. Not so-there are more than a few quality Western and Thai restaurants in Bangkok, and the concierge will be able to help you, as will the guide magazine commonly found in the business-class hotels. Expect to pay around $5-10/head for a really nice meal.

A nice day trip, not mentioned, is to the temples and ruins of Ayyuthaya, about 60 miles outside Bangkok. A sort of Angkor-Wat lite.

Chiang Mai is nice, but now over-developed-Chiang Rai retains much of the old hill-country magic. Expect to be thoroughly searched by customs in other parts of Asia or even the US, if you let on that you've been near the Burmese border or in Thai hill country. Drug couriership is immediately suspected...

Avoid Narayana Phand for handicrafts-the quality and selection are poorer and more kitschy by the year. River City, mentioned by Phil, is an excellent choice. Try to get to these places during lunch time, though traffic is considerable.

Again, in terms of business travel, if a company is paying the bills, it may not be a bad idea to get a car (usually a spotless Mercedes or Volvo) and driver for the day, paid by the hour. Though more expensive than a taxi, it will hardly break the bank-it costs about what a car costs to rent in mid-town Manhattan.

Justin Deeley , May 17, 2001; 01:20 A.M.

Another great review Philip - Thailand (and especiallly Chiang Mai) would have to be one of my favourite asian destinations - we're currently debating whether to go again this year or visit somewhere closer to home (Tasmania or New Zealand)

I was in Bangkok in October last year (prior to heading up to Chiang Mai) and I still get a laugh from people telling them about the anti-'blad signs (and Mamiya and a few others from memory) in the Royal Palace.

However, with regards to the tripods - this didn't seem to be an issue (which I thought strange). I had left the 'blad in the hotel for that part of our trip and just had some of my 35mm gear with me (fortunately for me) and I remember commenting to my wife that it was very strange that they banned these cameras but still seemed to allow tripods - we counted approximately 10 different tripods during our walk through the palace grounds!

Once you get outside of Bangkok and visit some of the other temple and palace sites (for instance in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai) there aren't the same sort of restrictions on cameras and while you get some funny looks lugging around a MF camera the results are certainly worth it. Just make sure that you always observe dress codes and give the sites and people in them the respect that they deserve and require. In most temples the knees and shoulders should be covered for both men and women and the shoes should be removed. In October below the knee cargo pants seemed to be the norm amongst those in the know but most of the larger sites (like the old Royal City) have clothing available for lending or renting if you are not suitably attired.

A word of advice to the traveller carrying expensive camera equipment - I had with me a selection of 35mm and MF equipment (for different parts of our trip) which I declared on my way out of Australia (nothing like having to pay duty on re-importing your own equipment because customs don't believe you!). On entering Thailand the Customs and Immigration form required you to declare any goods on your person over a certain amount (which I think the 'blad on it's own exceeded) and I made the 'mistake' of doing so. I then spent the best part of 30-45 minutes trying to explain to the customs officer that I hadn't brought the camera's in to Thailand to sell and was indeed going to be taking them back with me. I'm sure the officers weren't thanking me for complicating their night but they did have a good laugh when they saw the amount of film I was carrying. That seemed to persuade them that I was going back - after all - your every day film in Thailand is cheap - just not the films I wanted to use!

Touchel Berne (alias) , May 17, 2001; 11:15 A.M.

Here are a few suggestions that I picked up in Bangkok and Thailand last summer:

* There's a street one block North of Khao San Road that also has inexpensive guest houses. Unlike Khao San Road, this street is more or less vacant and navigable. I'd recommend it if you don't want to be kept awake by Bob Marley music all night long.

* Phil neglects to mention the city bus system. It's extensive and pretty well-run. We used it for days without any kind of problem. There are three types of buses: first class is air conditioned and guarantees you a seat (they only make stops if there are empty seats to be filled), second class is also air conditioned, and third class isn't air conditioned but it has the advantage of having open windows; great for those Robert Frankish moving bus type photographs.

* If you're on a budget but don't care to eat on the street, there are many reasonably priced, decent, student-type restaurants around Thammasat University near the Grand Palace. These are great places to meet people and make friends.

* I highly recommend the Footprint Thailand Guidebook. It's rich in historical and cultural detail, comprehensive, and has the advantage of not being the Lonely Planet - by using it you don't end up moving along with the horde getting off the train and scrambling to the same guesthouse or hostel. I'd characterize it as being the shoestring guide for serious-minded people who feel a tad too old to be surrounded by 19 year-old British backpackers 100% of the time. It also has good maps.

* If you intend to shoot black and white film, bring it with you from home. In many parts of Thailand, the only black and white available is Fortepan 100, which I would characterize as 'smeary.'

* No matter what Phil says, DO NOT leave S.E. Asia without at least thinking about taking a plane to Siem Reap and going to Angkor Wat in Cambodia. There is no way that you could possibly regret it. If you're feeling a bit more intrepid, take the plane to Phnom Penh and then ride a river boat up the Tonle Sap, passing all the fishermen and floating villages. It's important to stay on the roof, the river boats are death traps.

* If you happen to fly to Bangkok via Seoul, Korea; they have some pretty good prices on photographic gear at the duty free shop in the center of the airport.

* This might be useful for someone in unusual circumstances: it's cheaper to fly to the US from Thailand than it is to fly to Thailand from the US.

* Thailand is the sort of place where it works to be as friendly as possible to everyone that you meet. Learn some phrases in Thai. I can't imagine a better country to travel in.

John Chennavasin , May 17, 2001; 06:28 P.M.

McDonald's Drive-Thru

If you have a large 35mm camera with a vertical grip/booster attached and a pro zoom, you might get stopped by the guards at the temples as well. It happened to me. Fortunately, I didn't have the film seized. A tilt/shift lens would be fantastic for capturing the temple architecture, but focusing on the details in the buildings is another excellent approach.

Note that the concept of rush hour doesn't really exist in Bangkok, as there is always constant gridlock on the major streets. On a good day, the 20-minute ride will take you four blocks. Usually it is faster to walk, but the pollution will quickly overwhelm you. The economic meltdown a few years ago has reduced the traffic somewhat, but has littered the Bangkok skyline with concrete structures that bear an eerie resemblance to Stonehenge.

The Skytrain is great if you're an expatriate, tourist, or visiting Bangkok for business. The current routes connects the major shopping centers with the old business district.

As for hotels, the Grand Hyatt Erawan, located just up the street from the Regent Bangkok and right next to the McDonald's shown in Philip's photos, is another excellent choice. They claim to have high-speed internet access in the rooms.

Speaking of McDonald's, there are two drive-thrus in the Bangkok area. These offer a unique photo opportunity. You can find McDonald's in every corner of the globe (even in India), but how often do you see drive-thrus outside of North America?

lee fong , May 20, 2001; 01:59 A.M.

I am Malaysian. I took offense by your comment on my homeland. As far as I know, there is no law that prohibits you from playing songs composed by Jews. If Greenspun was refering to Steven Spielberg's movies, he should know the whole story before making comment like that. I was once heard on a national TV while I was in US, the characters in a drama mentioned people eat cats in Malaysia, which is totally untrue!! Despite of what the media said, Malaysia is the most lovely country, hey, go see yourself, don't just believe what others tell you!!

Anton Galli , May 20, 2001; 06:47 P.M.

Phil's pat assessment of Malaysia rings somewhat false (although failing altogether to mention Indonesia, with 200 million inhabitants the fourth largest country in the world population-wise, is more glaring, if not surprising - Indonesia gets little non-negative mention in the press and most Americans would be hard-pressed to find the island nation on a world map). Although they have certain laws that in the West would be regarded as oppressive (ie., a single woman cannot be alone in a room with a single man) there is no overriding sense of Big Brother when you visit there (unless you read the newspapers, which are admittedly scary in their "news-speakism"). Besides Thailand has it's share of social ills (prostitution, drugs, corruption) and menaces to the tourist (bandits, pollution, insane drivers) perhaps they are more tolerable by our standards. Also the fact that tourists throng to the tiny country (5 million visitors per annum and growing) is really a huge turn off, compared to other places, IMHO.

Regardless, I visited Malaysia before going to Thailand and I actually think that in many ways Malaysia (and Kuala Lumpur in particular) is an excellent place for someone to "ease into" South East Asia. In fact in some ways it is more "modern" than Thailand is, more people seem to speak English, and there are many beautiful places (Tioman Island, Taman Negara, Langkawi) and interesting cities (Penang, Malaca, KL) to visit. Of course it is close to Singapore which many people visit on business and is therefore very convenient to reach overland (well, overbridge) from there.

Also I think that Phil is a little over paranoid about food cleanliness - only eat in the hotels??? Bangkok abounds with acceptably hygenic restaurants at which you can experience a wonderful dining experience and they are not hard to find.

lee fong , May 21, 2001; 01:02 A.M.

To the above comment "a single woman cannot be alone in a room with a single man", if you are not Muslem, it does not apply to you, it is under the Syariah law. It may seem strange to most outsiders, to have the common law and Syariah law, and only the Muslims are subjected to the Syariah law. But, it you consider the history and background of this multi racial country, you would learn to appreciate the diversity and the harmony in this diversity. Again, if you believe the image that the media painted for you about the Muslems(terrorist, woman oppressor,...) you need to come to Malaysia to look for yourself...I hate to say this, but I constantly find Westeners that I met on the road to be ignorant of this part of the world, despite the availability of info and your acclaimed freedom of press. Just to amuse you, some of the questions that I was asked when I was in USA: *Is Singapore part of China? (Not that I know of) *Is Malaysia near Mongolia? (not if you plan to take a buggy) *Singapore is a country? I thought it is just a city!(How would you answer this?) *Do you have malls in Malaysia? (No, we live on the trees!:-)

Paul Ashton , May 21, 2001; 11:02 A.M.

I have to admit I have not been to Bangkok for 15 years, but in the mid-1970s and up to 1983 I spent a lot of time working in Thailand. Obviously times change but there seems to be a lot missing from Philip’s travelog.

It is hard to imagine writing about Bangkok without mentioning the night life – Patpong Street, Sukumvit Road, Soi Nana, etc. etc. I recently heard in “glowing” terms how things have not changed that much from three British oil rig hands in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, despite the threat of AIDS.

Whatever the risks, there is something to be found in the sordid side of Bangkok that will amaze, stimulate and offend all of us. Photo opportunities exist at night, not only in the clubs and bars but also in the street markets and open air restaurants. One particularly memorable event is Loy Krathong, a festival where Thais float candles on lotus blossoms down the canals to bring luck and prosperity. Magical!

Another omission is Jim Thompson Thai Silk. Not only the product but also the legend behind the ? CIA double agent who set up a front and invented an industry before disappearing into the Malaysian jungle. Thai silk lives on thanks to this extraordinary sequence of events. Jim Thompson’s house is now a museum.

I once stayed in the old wing of the Oriental and loved it. Out of choice I would probably stay there again, fat New Yorkers not withstanding (and they probably don’t request to stay in the old wing anyway). Other hotels that pleased were the Dusit Thani and the Erawan, but newer hotels tend to eclipse these old standards, particularly in Southeast Asia. I also had a lot of fun at the Nana Hotel (cheap cheerful and noisy) but could never quite come to terms with the Grace Hotel (the coffee shop served very little coffee!). In 1980 the Sheraton on Silom Road offered a young man with hot blood in his veins the opportunity to savor the East while still having the appearance of being a respectable businessman!

Bangkok – neat city. Thailand – unique country. Some of the other comments about Southeast Asian countries seem to be unwarranted, IMO. As Kipling once wrote, “East is East and West is West and ne’er the twain shall meet”. True then, true today.

Kelvin Tan , May 22, 2001; 01:53 A.M.

Indeed, to say that Malaysian law prohibits songs composed by Jews, is undeniably wrong.

I fully agree with Lee Fong's comments. I've been a Malaysian all my life and never once have I faced related problems.

Philip, we Malaysians hope that you can retract your statement. Thank you.

Jani Patokallio , May 23, 2001; 03:33 A.M.

The photos are digital, just click on one and take a look at the URL (.../digiphotos/...). As for how you can tell, look at the first few pictures on the top of the page, especially the one with the lady sitting in the market: whenever the focus is on something dark, the light areas of the picture are overexposed to a pure white (#FFFFFF) with total loss of detail, always a telltale sign of (slightly careless...) digital photography.

Stefan Mazur , May 23, 2001; 03:31 P.M.

If you go to Bangkok, you own it to your self to eat in the local restaurants. Despite some bad apples in the lot, most places are reasonably clean and the food is generally GREAT, especially the Thai restaurants. You can get a great meal for 5 to 10$ that will make you wonder how on earth did McDonald's manage to survive for this long. Just ask the locals (taxi drivers, guesthouse keeper...) to recommend one or two restaurants. You will not regret it.

Edison Lew , June 04, 2001; 04:15 A.M.

I think photo.net is a great website. However, Philip's comment on South East Asia and Malaysia in particular is not very sound, even if it is in jest. We invite you to come over to SEA, particularly Malaysia and snap some really great pictures to add to your collection.

Razif Matsaat , June 10, 2001; 01:29 A.M.

Yes I agree with Lew. Phil's comment about Malaysia is very extreme. It's the same thing if you say when a black person comes down to Idaho, he will get killed immidiately by a white man. sounds extreme? This is similar to what Phil wrote.

Philipp Guenther , June 12, 2001; 03:02 P.M.

Nice pictures on the above. If you are interested in some b/w impressions of Thailand you'd like to step by at my site www.e-photogallery.de In the section "Specials" I posted some impressions from my Thailand-Trip in march 2001.

Phil, your site has always been a good ressource for me since I started taking pics about 2 years ago! Thanks!

Philipp Guenther , June 12, 2001; 03:07 P.M.

Nice pictures on the above. If you are interested in some b/w impressions of Thailand you'd like to step by at my site. http://www.e-photogallery.de
In the section "Specials" I posted some impressions from my Thailand-Trip in march 2001.
Phil, your site has always been a good ressource for me since I started taking pics about 2 years ago! Thanks!

David Behrens , June 12, 2001; 10:12 P.M.

Phil, A nice article if you start at paragraph 2. But I cannot agree with paragraph 1 and wish that you would consider rewriting that one paragraph. The fears expressed in your introduction are just not true. Those statements can be seen as a direct attack to a very safe tourist industry, insults some wonderful people and portrays Americans as fearful and ignorant to the real world. I am an American that lives in Singapore and travels extensively throughout Asia. I travel to Thailand quite often and it is a wonderful place to visit with Bangkok only being the hub to some wonderful places. However, I can say the same for Malaysia – terrific for some very unique nature/wildlife photography (a birder’s paradise) with terrific cheap places to visit; Vietnam – interesting pagodas, nice beaches, cheap food/accommodations, friendly people; Myanmar – very interesting place to visit with some very photogenic pagodas and people; Cambodia - its Angkor Wat is fascinating; and Indonesia - has some wonderful nature, beaches, diving, volcanoes, etc. Also don't forget Singapore which is also a fun and safe place to visit. All have wonderful places to visit and can be a photographer’s paradise – providing a rewarding vacation. Dave Behrens, Singapore

Praveen Kumar , June 15, 2001; 12:53 A.M.

Fist Visit


This is a very good review and contain many nice pictures. I am a Thai people and I would like to recommend other places if you love to go.

1) Great cities of Thailand/ Bangkok is the one of great cities. the others are Ayutthya and Sukhothai. Sukothai was Thailand's first capitol. Ayutthaya was the Thai capitol in AD 1350. Both cities are Thailand's main historical site. They are listed in The World Heritage. If you want to know about Thai culture, it's worth to go. Both of them are ancient cities in different styles. You will see the traditional art styles along with Thai Culture. For Sukhothai, better to join "Loi Krathong Festival", the full moon night on November. You will see the light and sound, Thai dances and the shows reflecting Sukothai life in past. Here the point of interests (Don't miss): Ayutthaya: Old Royal Palace at Wat Phra Maha That, Wat Yai Chaimongkol, Wat Chai Wattanaram, Bang-Pa-In Palace. Sukhothai: Old Royal Palace at Wat Mahathat.

2) Mountain Area/ The northern part of Thailand is a beautiful mountain area with different cultures. Chiang Mai is a very attractive place. It was an old cities,once the capitol in Lannathai Kingdom. With the friendliness and beauty of its people, Chiang Mai is the most visited place in Thailand. The best panoramic views from the city is the dramatically-located temple of Doi Suthep. A day's sightseeing should take in as lest some of the following. First, Wat Phra Singh, with its fine grounds. Wat Je Dee Luang, with its large fifteenth-century chedi. Wat Jet Yot, built to an Indian model to the the north-west. Wat Suan Dok has some striking wall-paintings. Don't forget to go to the top of mountain, visit the highlander and the nice view of Doi Inthanon mountain. the highest point in Thailand. For nightlife, visit the Night Bazaar. Chiang Mai is famous for its crafts - for silk, silver, lacquerware; go to Borsang road, Umbrella Village - for wood-carving, crafts; go to Ban Tawai Village. Better to go during April,12-15 for "Songkran Festival", the big festival of Chiang Mai.

3) Sea and Ocean region/ Don't stick with the land, go to island. There are many wonderful islands in Southern part of Thailand. Many of my friends went there and said the same thing " it is heaven". The very beautiful islands are waiting for you. Go to Koh Samui and Angthong Island, a popular destination for the islander. Koh Pha-Ngan, the blue lagoon life, the original story of The Beach. Phi-Phi island and Similan island, the best place to see the coral leaf, the underwater paradise. All of them are renowned for their magnificently pristine beaches, rocks and corals. I could say that the island in Thailand is one of the most beautiful island in the world. Don't miss.

The last thing, don't forget Thai Food. It is very delicious. If you plan to go and want more information that is not showing in the guide book, don't hesitate to contact me.

Jack Walton , July 05, 2001; 09:18 P.M.

Bangkok is also a good jumping off place to Myanmar (Burma) with direct flights to Yangon (Rangoon). If, as another poster suggested, you go to Siem Riep in Cambodia to see Angkor Wat, make sure to try to also see Bantay Srei, which is a bit off the beaten path, but one of the best preserved Khmer temples. The trip to Bantay Srei will cost about $30 (driver and guide) at the time of this writing (2001).

Lee Shepard , July 08, 2001; 04:02 A.M.

I had no problem bringing my Mamiya 7ii into the Grand Palace - twice. I was a little worried changing film (which I did many times), but nobody bothered me.

Ed Ng , July 10, 2001; 11:49 A.M.

Your write up of Thailand was very educational though the pics you posted were 'snappy' and generally boring. The amount of color and photo ops in Thailand are mind boggling. You have also not mentioned anything on the endless night photography ops avaliable in a city like Bangkok.

Here's my little contribution, developing and printing is dirt cheap and of good quality in Bangkok. I have had slides developed for about US$1 a roll at a couple of serious labs at Lad Phrao opposite the Lad Phrao Center Shopping center. D&P for a roll of color print at 4x6 is about $3 for 36 prints and includes a free 8x12 reprint

Ed Ng , July 17, 2001; 07:50 A.M.

After further thought and considerations, I'd like to add a couple more comments on your write up Phil.

Immediately, its supposed to be about Bangkok, so why the detour (and a negative one too) to Malaysia?

A first time tourist will find more information on Bangkok elsewhere. Being posted in photo.net, I would naturally assume that the angle of an article on Bangkok/Thailand would lean more towards the photographer's areas of interests which you have failed in a few areas:

1. did you check out where one could buy pro grade flim? 2. where the pro camera/photography supply stores are? 3. Where to D&P print flim and where to find good E-6 processing 4. Good photo op locations that are NOT tourist infested? 5. Cultural considerations when taking pics in Asia/Thailand? 6. Good location for street, architecture, landscape, B&W and macro photography? 7. Early morning or late evening ops? 8. Time the sun rises and sets and what conditions to expect? 9. Recommended photo equiptment to bring along?

In this context, I don't think the article gave pro/ serious amature photographers who have not visited Thailand any pertinent information at all. Unless of course this was a personal holiday on your part under which you were under no obligation to provide a quality photog-specific write up.

Nothing personal, just my thoughts on how this article should've turned out.

Knut Schalldach , July 30, 2001; 08:39 P.M.


I really liked you Thailand article. In deed Thailand was the first asia country I visited and I think it's really a great starting location. I visited mostly the north of the country, Chaing Mai and the jungle there. I also visited Ayuttaya and Bangkok. The worst part about Bangkok compared to the other places was the traffic, noise and pollution. But Thai people are really very nice and the food is so good everywhere you go that you forget about that. Some of the photos I took are on my homepage:


I used 'The Thailand Handbook' and found it rather useful.

Kop-Khun-Kha(?) !

Jacob LeDoux , August 03, 2001; 12:10 A.M.

Come on, what kind of "travel photographer" goes around praising the availability of McDonalds(!) and is afraid to eat outside of hotels??? You may as well just stay home or go to Cancun for your travels? Let's not add to the stereotype of a culturally ignorant american Phil. There are more mistruths in the 1st paragraph than there are sentences. I mean the chances of being hurt by unexploded ordinance in Vietnam are less than the chance of being murdered in the US!

I agree with the poster above also, if you're within 1000 miles of Angkor Wat, you have to go there!

Bangkok is a very photogenic place though. Especially when you escape to the outskirts. As usual though, I found Phil's photos to be very unimpressive, especially considering the surroundings and the gear that this guy has. Thanks for an enjoyable website though!

Kevin Price , September 11, 2001; 01:59 A.M.

Just as a word of warning- numerous tuk-tuk drivers will tell you that this-and-that temple / palace, etc. is closed for a special holiday, or for a certain time period (one had the audacity to tell me the Royal Palace was closed, while I stood in front of it!). DO NOT believe them. Especially if they offer a cheap tour of other sights. What they drive you to is often mediocre, and they will eventually drop you off at some "special promotion" shop, and push you to go shopping.

We caught on pretty quickly, but even by then, we lost a few hours of potential shooting.

An interesting, very cheap tour is to take the water taxi through the narrow canals, deeper into the city. Yes, it smells. But, you can catch a backyard glimpse of life in Bangkok. This is not the same tourist offer you'll find near the river, but a form of transportation used by the locals. We caught it near Siam Square- any good guide book will have the routes.

Ronald Gregorio , October 13, 2001; 07:43 P.M.

Food stall/bus stop, Chinatown, 2000.

Thanks for the nice photos Phil. I lived in Bangkok for 6 years. While there, I've also had the chance to photograph the city extensively and it sure was fun. Your pictures bring back lots of fond memories.

Other places in Bangkok I'd recommend for photographers would be Chinatown (Yeowarat, Chareonkrung). You'll never run out of scenes to photograph. The challenge there actually is to not be overwhelmed with what's going on around you and concentrate on the composition. The place is just going to fill your senses as you walk along the street. There lots of things to see, smell, hear, and eat. Oh yes, bring lots of films, or memory cards. By the way, its hot, so bring lots of water.

You can also shop along the sidewalk of Chinatown for camera supplies (old medium formats, SLR's, rangefinders, collectibles, etc.). The stalls are in front of Merry King Dept. Store, and KFC. There's a mall near that place that also sell classic rangefinders and newer SLR's. Just ask aroun--if you're lucky enough to find someone speaking English. For negative films, slides, etc., you could walk further to Pla Pla Chai St. (still Chinatown area). They have the cheapest films in town. The walk itself is an adventure since you'll be passing by Thieves' Market, where you'll find all sorts of things for sale (legal or not). It's kind of like big flea market.

Regarding other photo shops, the best one I've dealt with was Fotofile, in Mahboonkrong Shopping Center (MBK for short), by the National Stadium Skytrain (BTS) stop. The shop's in the ground floor, near the center of the mall towards the main street. Two other excellent shops for new and used SLR's, MF, and rangefinders are in the second floor of Thaniya Plaza, by the Saladaeng (Silom) Skytrain (BTS) stop. I forgot the shops' names, but it's near the entrance in the 2nd floor.

Contrary to what Phil said above, stay away from McDonalds and KFC for crying out loud. You're in Thailand, so eat Thai food. You wouldn't have to pay $10 to $20/person for a good Thai meal. Besides, it's not all spicy as long as you remember to say "Mai phet" or "Mai sai prik". I'm not saying that you go to a hawker stall and eat there, though I've done that for the past six years, but there are lots of Thai restaurants (Lemongrass, Sukhumvit Soi 26; Somboon Seafoods, Surawong St.) that are worth going to. If you want just a quick taste of Thai food, go to the food court at the top floor of the Emporium (Sukhumvit 26). The food there is good and clean, like in any other mall's food court. You'd have to buy scripts/coupons though. If you want to be more adventurous and eventually try hawker food, the main point to remember is that the food has to be cooked in front of you to know that it's fresh. Finally, if you have to go to McDonald's try the Samurai Burger--it's not available in the US.

Well, that's about it. If anyone needs specific instructions on going around in Bangkok, feel free to email me.

Erik Sentell , October 21, 2001; 04:39 P.M.

From my experience, Bangkok is a very nice place. Sure, there is the problems with pollution, gridlock, deforestation and prostitution. It does however have good points.

Thais are generally very hospitable. My wife and I got married in Bangkok. She speaks Bahasa and English, and I speak English (and Bad English, but I am not very good at bad English). Not only were the hospitality people hospitable, but so were people in the street. An example was that people (getting out of cabs) would go out of their way to help us get to where we were going. We stayed at the Amari atrium (kind of a bit out of the way, but service was excellent. I won't forget the modernist fish pond that meandered through the ground floor restaurant)

There are certainly many opportunities to photograph in Thailand, and I wont go into that here.

As for the Malaysian thing, I believe it to be wrong. In fact, In most ways Malaysia is likely the easiest entry to South-East Asia. Yes, Malaysia is predominantly Muslim, but seeing that they also have large populations (mostly chinese and indian) that are non-muslim, They are not pushy with koranic matters if you are not muslim. On visas they do not ask for a traveller's religion, so as long as you don't get too blasphemous you won't have trouble. For example: you wont have a problem if you are a woman wearing shorts, or you are sharing a room with a member of the opposite sex who is not your spouse. Having sex in front of the KL tower might be a problem...

Always remember, whether its Malaysia, Thailand or wherever, you are a guest.

Travel suggestions in Malaysia would be:

KL. Big city, Petronas tower (tallest building in the world) Beautiful muslim inspired architecture. Contrary to belief, Malaysians don't live in trees. they live in houses, depending on where you are, they can be rather nice houses. Yes, they have both cable TV and Internet, but seeing that internet is a monopoly there, the rates are what you would expect if this were 1994 in the US (ie. metered by the hour).

Cameron Highlands. about 2 hours north of KL, you go into some prime jungle and highland vistas. some of the peaks are greater than 6000m above sea level, which drops the temperatures a good 20degrees F. Notable things in this area are the nature trails leading out of ringlet and tanah ratah, as well as the tea plantations that are lush in the area. It s also a chance to see what rural malaysia is like.

Others areas that are worth looking at (mostly from listening to my wife, who is from KL)

Langkawi: think 'south pacific' rumor has it that it was filmed there. very developed, but there might be something of worth.

Sarawak and Sabah: Malaysia's states on the island of borneo. A friend of mine just returned from there. Mostly jungle. Lots of opportunities. Look for 'men of the forest' AKA Orang-Utans.

Tox Gunn , October 12, 2002; 03:50 A.M.

Additional photo resources in Thailand, as of mid 2002-

The Grand Palace is the only place I was hassled about carrying my Hassy - the sign there specifically forbids formats larger than 35mm. "Pro"-looking video I would also expect to get grief.

Availability- I ran out of Tri-X in Thailand. There was no more to be had, TMY was the closest alternative. (This wasn't just a problem of a store being out of stock, but that the local distributor couldn't get Tri-X at all.) If you like B&W, but not TMY, pack it all in yourself. For color print emulsions the selections were reasonable. Finding *anything* in 220 was difficult.

Sources- In Bangkok: 1) Fotofile is conveniently located in the ground floor of the MBK shopping center, which is near the Siam and National Stadium BTS stations. They keep a reasonable selection of film under refrigeration (TMax, Fuji & Kodak slide and print in 35 and 120). They have a couple cases of lenses, backs, etc. for sale, including some used equipment. They also carry silica gel, which is useful for deterring fungus. 2) Samy's camera a few floors up in MBK stocks a slightly different array of film and appears to be something of a Nikon specialist. They are sort of in the center of the racetrack. 3) The Sunny's camera on Silom a few blocks south of the club district had Reala and NPH in 220 under refrigeration. In Chiang Mai: 1) Rungsima 2, at 191-193 Moon Muang kept a small stock of 35 and 120 film under refrigeration, was one of the friendlier and cheaper places there to get compact flash burned to CDR. 2) Denchai photo on Ratamanka had a slightly different selection of film under refrigeration, but had a wider array of gear for sale. Note: I had 120 negatives damaged without recourse at each of the several labs I tried in Chiang Mai, including both of the outfits listed above. Save your processing until you get back to Bangkok.

Processing- IQ Lab in Bangkok. Choose your branch, I've had no problems with either location. The prices, quality, professionalism were excellent. Check lead times if you have a large order. I had >50 rolls of 120 run over a few batches without any problems whatsoever.

Hope this helps. For those wondering, I have no association with any of the outfits listed.

Olivier BRUTTIN , April 28, 2003; 01:53 P.M.

If you are in Bangkok and look for a reliable pro-shop where you can buy, fix a camera or ask for advice, I recommend "Camera Collection" in Thanniya Plaza (Silom). They sell Very good second hand medium format cameras and Leicas. I bought my Leica M6 TTL there (new, from Hong Kong) along with 2 lenses at a unbeatable price. Don't expect too see any P&S cameras over there. I live in BKK so if you need any advice on your next trip just let me know, I'll be glad to help you provided you do so before june 1st 2003 (leaving permanetly BKK for Equatorial Guinea)

Image Attachment: huahin.jpg

Andy Radin , May 20, 2004; 12:13 A.M.

As of May 2004, Camera Collection appears to be gone, replaced by an eyeglasses store. Another vote for IQ Labs, handled my 40 rolls with no problems, no scratches. They did want 48 hours for contact sheets, which I didn't have. However I saved hundreds of dollars US on the developing.

Brett Johnson , June 24, 2004; 11:38 P.M.

It's a pity that the objective of displaying photographs has been overtaken by a critical analysis of the author's travel journalism skills and his opinions. More images and comments about the images and then more images... I also live in Bangkok and there are some very useful contributions here to I must add.

Andy Radin , August 13, 2004; 03:33 A.M.

another comment I forgot to make: I had some trouble finding the "camera street market" mentioned above. it's on the sidewalk, across the street from Merry King, completely enclosed on top and both sides by tarps and wood sheets. If you're not on the right corner it's invisible.

Chuck Cutler , January 02, 2005; 10:37 A.M.

Regarding FOOD - I spent 4 years in Bangkok, eating in restaurants and from street vendors in every part of the city without incident. Thai food (and especially Thai street food) is some of the best on earth. Why travel to the other side of the world to eat McDonalds? Live a little!!

Dexter Allen , March 25, 2005; 03:24 A.M.

I just spent a few days in and around KL in Malaysia. According to police and hotel officials I spoke with, there's lately been quite a few robberies where an unsuspecting tourist hires a taxi, and is then taken to a remote spot and robbed at knife-point. I only found out about it because it happened to me and I lost pretty much everything. My robber specifically demanded my photo-backpack. To make matters worse, tourists are not being warned by the hotels or authorities because everyone is afraid of scaring off their dollars. Thought I'd make a note here in case photo-equip is indeed specifically being targeted.

Alton Earle , April 04, 2005; 10:17 P.M.

Well, although I LIKE Mr. Greenspun's shots, they are quite different than what I shoot...which is the beauty of photography, and why I like them. AND I do NOT find them dull, pedantic, boring, or otherwise...he's captured an aspect of Thaland very well (and Thailand is one of the most multifaceted places I've ever been, and I travel a lot).

However, as with his China article, I find his boneheaded Americanness really irritating when it comes to accomodation and food. This trip, I did something specifically in reponse to this article so that I could post the results.

I ate ONLY from street vendors (okay, okay, so I had one bowl of noodles in a tree-trunk and corrugated iron roadside stand where all the taxi drivers were eating, but that was IT).

I ate BBQ on the street.

I ate fruit on the street.

I ate noodles froms street vendors.

I ate rice from street vendors.

I ate crickets from street vendors (yep, crickets)

I ate bamboo grubs from street vendors (yep, worms)(and yes, I'm serious about the last two, I did it to prove a point)

I ate for a WEEK, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and random snack attacks from street vendors.

AND, you know what? I even ate bugs, and neither I nor my wife got even remotely sick. Well, that's not entirely true, she bought some bread from 7-11 (a western chain, western style food) and got a stomach ache shortly after eating it.

Anyone who would go to Thailand with one of the world's most famous cuisines and eat at or recommend McDonalds of KFC makes me wonder why on earth they are travelling in the first place, food is one of the biggest parts of culture.

I wonder if Mr. Greenspun made it to the backwater canals of BKK where foreigners are discouraged from going because the boats are running on water contaminated with raw sweage and the smell is rather strong (of course travelling with an Asian wife may be what actually got people to tell me how to get there)? It smells like a cesspool, but maaaan, the shots are incredible (and no, I didn't go fishing there for dinner)...

...just a friendly reminder to actually experience the places you travel and you will probably get more interesting shots (hell, my wife and I stayed in Sukhimvit near the Nana Plaza, probably the wildest red light district in the world)...

...and when you go, be SURE to have Thai Massage (I had the non-sexual, you may want the extras, up to you) on a DAILY basis...200-250 Baht and my back now feels better than it has in YEARS...and yes, the masseuses were available for sexual activities...but it was NOT requred. My point being, leave your cultural biases in a locker at the airport in Asia and your trip will be as multi-faceted as the culture (and after this trip, we are planning on moving from Taiwan to Thailand in the next 3-5 years)...

Edison Lew , May 02, 2005; 09:14 P.M.

Just want to add to the comment by Dexter above, where he is robbed by a taxi driver in KL Malaysia. The bogus taxi driver who had been committing robberies almost every other day has been taken off the road.

Nicola Heather , June 15, 2005; 12:33 A.M.

I just wanted to mention that I found a fantastic guy in Bangkok that specialises in B/W developing and printing. Everything is hand done and he's very accomodating regarding requests. He doesn't touch colour and as other people have mentioned IQ labs are ok, although i wouldn't use them for B/W. His name is Surat and he can be contacted at surat_su@halfmoonlab.net or surat_su@hotmail.com He's a friendly helpful guy in all respects, he'll help you out with sourcing film/camera repairs etc. Ps Thailand is the kitchen of the world you can eat superb food from the streets, I've never had any problems just pick a busy stall!

Wee Keng_Hor , December 22, 2005; 03:39 A.M.

I've just visited Bangkok recently. Interesting street life, great food and shopping. I would recommend wide angles like 28mm for the streets. You may also like to consider using a small digicam instead of a SLR sytem.

marcel muench , February 17, 2006; 02:45 A.M.


I really enjoyed bangkok and taking photos there. amazing city! the best shop to develop analog films is as mentioned above:


Fuji Expres Digital 28 Silom Soi 2/1 Bts Sai daeng T.02-2354763 02

its just on the other site of silom complex.

greetings, marcel

Rex G , March 06, 2006; 09:35 P.M.

Many good observations above. I, a farang (white guy) and my Thai wife of twenty years had the good fortune to visit Thailand last month. It was my first trip there, I was armed only with an Olympus D-595 and 2GB. Bangkok is a crazy place for someone from southern California. I enjoyed it, but preferred the slower pace and cooler climate of the Chiang Mai province and the north in general.

Which does remind me to warn those planning to visit the north AND south to bring warm clothing as well as light clothing. We were cold at times in the north, always hot in Bangkok, and south down to the islands it can get stifling.

The Thais in general are a very friendly people, the country deserves its designation as "The Land of Smiles". I agree with the person who said the massages are a must. If you walk a lot, you'll appreciate always having an inexpensive masseuse available nearby.

Mitch Alland , April 06, 2006; 06:41 A.M.

The "Real Books" recommendations above will not tell you anything about Thailand. Conrad's Lord Jim is a great book, but it's not about Thailand. Here are two Thai novel's that are excellent, with insight into Thai society:

"Four Reigns" by Kukrit Pramoj, about a young girl who enters the royal palace around 1900 and lives until 1956, through the reign of four kings.

"Letters from Thailand" by Botan, about a poor, young immigrant from Fujian in China who starts life as a coolie and works his way up to riches, in the form of letters back to his mother in China.

These books are usually available in Bangkok as paperbacks at bookstall in major hotels and at Asia Books and Kinokunia.

Jakop Iskandar , September 03, 2006; 10:02 A.M.

Hmmm, what about Indonesia? I don't see it in the photo.net Asia travel. Come on now. Coast is fine, water is clear. For any help in photographing Indonesia adventurein_aperture@yahoo.com.

rungsun klinkaeo , January 20, 2008; 02:58 A.M.

Mr.Rungsun Klinkaeo

Abstract The purpose this research were to compare with achievement students in Thai subject (Thai 43202)...E-mail : rungsun_kk@yahoo.com http://rskk.ourtoolbar.com http://www.geocities.com/rungsun_kk http://search.msn.com/macros/rungsun__k/klinkaeo/?FORM=OIJT http://groups.msn.com/E-school

Markus Staas , September 07, 2008; 11:08 P.M.

Bangkok is still a good place for travel photographers, leaving the typical tourist paths you will be able to discover and explore worthwhile photo opportunities. Try for example the area on the other side of the Chao Phraya river just behind the Hilton and Baan Chaophraya, for street life and street portraiture. No tourists, smiling and curious faces and not much traffic. Cheers, Markus Bangkok Photographer
Photographer Bangkok

richard daniels , November 04, 2008; 08:57 A.M.

wat suthat

My favourite place to photograph in Bangkok is Wat Suthat Monastery. Its very quiet with hardly any people there, although its still very near to Ko San Road.

Its also the best place to see Buddha Statues being restored and round the corner from the Temple is the main area for selling Buddha Statues.

Please check http://www.richarddaniels.com to see more of my work on Buddhas and Bangkok in general.


Richard Daniels Photographer, Bangkok Thailand

Justyna Z. , December 19, 2008; 04:09 A.M.

I LOVE BANGKOK!!!!!! http://photo.net/photodb/folder?folder_id=868690

Alice Vu , January 28, 2010; 08:27 A.M.

Visa is required for most visitors for entering Vietnam for either tourism or business purposes, however, there are exemptions with details below: - Not more than 30 days: for citizens of Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Laos. - Not more than 15 days: for citizens of Japan and South Korea, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Russian Federation (from 1 Jan 2009). - French citizens holding valid diplomatic passports are exempt from visa requirements when visiting Vietnam and are allowed to stay for up 3 months at one time or on several visits within six months since their first immigration dates. Vietnamese citizens holding valid diplomatic passports also enjoy similar privileges. - Citizens of Chile and Vietnam holding valid diplomatic or official passports from one of the two countries are exempt from needing entry, exit and transit visas in the other's territory and are allowed to stay for up 60 days on each visit. for more information please visit: http://www.vietnamvisa-online.com

Stefano Ferro , January 23, 2015; 06:38 A.M.

Quite an old article but still very useful. There are so many places in BKK that it's always hard to make a choice.

I have been visiting tihs city for more than 10 years and collecting photos. I have eventually wrote a small guide called "Crazy traffic in Bangkok : Best places to make a photo" if anybody interested. Enjoy the city :D

David Van Driessche , June 05, 2015; 09:49 P.M.

Bangkok is an amazing place to take photos and also a base for many amazing other locations like Angkor Wat and Myanmar, I have traveled to many of these places around Thailand and would like to say they are amazing for photography. The people seem to be Ok with having their picture taken 90 percent of the cases. For a Bangkok visit make sure you hit the canal boats on the Chao Praya River, get off at the Tha Tien pier and head to Wat Arun, then head to the Royal Palace (500 THB now) and then Chinatown, this will fill your day already. Then in the evenings go to a sky bar and try to capture the Skyline at dusk. See some of my Thailand photos here: http://davidvandriessche.com/category/thailand/ wish i had the time to upload more of my shots. 

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