Photography is often a great map of our traveling, helping us to pay attention to what we see around us. Of course we are not talking about selfies or just pictures of monuments, but using the camera to navigate the streets is an excellent way to feel more connected to the street life of any Asian town.
A great place to do this is Bangkok, with its vibrant colors and fast pace of living, the beauty of the Thais and the contrasts between modern and traditional. So pick up your camera and go out discover the streets!
Explore the markets and other crowded places, especially the ones with no tourists. Talk to locals or, if communication is a barrier, just smile in order to connect and take a photo of them.
Focus on contrasts, which are usually interesting for pictures. The big and the small, the new and the old, the beautiful and the ugly.
Go closer. Don’t rely always on zoom, move yourself in search of a good shot. It also makes you get out of your comfort zone and get more intimate with others.
Find connections in what you see. Take pictures that can make a story in the viewer’s mind.
Search for the weird. Take photos of unusual things instead of the common ones: everyone already has a photo of that beautiful beach or that gorgeous sunset.
Look for little expressions of creativity. A big city like Bangkok is full of expressivity, little pieces of beauty where some unknown person decided to paint or draw or do anything else in order to break the grayness and anonymity of the urban landscape.
For the same reason, keep your eyes open for little things that often people place on the street. Small shrines and objects of worship, something to beautify the street or even humble pieces of art!
Focus on the natural expressions. Those right moments where you can eternalize a brief gesture or facial expression, a candid portrait of real life as it is.
Go to the smallest streets, explore the darkest alleys and corners. Don’t stick to the main avenues, usually the places that are more controlled and less filled with life.
Work on your compositions. For example, experiment with juxtaposing different elements such as people, objects, architecture, etc.
Find situations where something is a little bit surreal, objects in places they don’t belong or people doing things they aren’t suppose to.
Search for what is natural. People posing it’s boring, go for more natural looking portraits of everyday life.
Last but not least, don’t be afraid to experiment with light or take imperfect photos since a photo doesn’t need to strictly represent reality. Use it for painting your own subjective version of what you see around you.
And, most of all, have fun with your photography journeys through the city of Bangkok and its street life. We are sure you will make a great travel album out of it!Read more
You like to visit Bangkok and experiment the city’s vibrant nightlife but you are starting to get a bit tired of the typical tourist bars in Khao San road? We totally understand you and have the perfect solution for it… here are some ideas of where to go within the many alternative places to go out and experience a different vibe of Bangkok nightlife!Read more
Being such a long journey, and with so many rumours of being a bumpy and troubled one (especially while crossing the border), going from Cambodia to Thailand by bus can be an itchy experience. How surprised were we to actually go through it without any hassles and in a quite comfortable way! This is our experience of travelling with Nattakan bus from Phnom Penh to Bangkok, a company that provides a direct journey without having to change transport on the border.
A modern and comfy bus for a more than twelve hours trip can be a way better option than traveling by minivan.
The journey starts at 6 AM so better to arrive at least half hour before to the departure point. In this case we went to Rithy Mony Bus Station on street 102, quite near to Wat Phnom, the Night Market and the beautiful old colonial building that now functions as the main post office of Phnom Penh. There weren’t so many travellers so the bus left on time and the smooth ride and the conditions of the bus itself were more than an invitation to spend most of the journey sleeping. The seats are wide and soft, with a lot of space for legs and with the possibility of changing the inclination to almost becoming beds. The staff, even if not speaking much English, were helpful and provided a small box with a wet towel, a bottle of water, a packet of juice and a small cake (in the street of the bus station you also can find a couple of noodle soup restaurants, in case you want to eat your breakfast before getting into the bus). Anyway, next stop is already on the border so better to eat and sleep, Thailand is awaiting us!
What a sleeping beauty nest!
In case you need to use the toilet there’s actually one on the bus, so no time to waste, very soon we will arrive to the border. The journey was really smooth, despite the typical bumpiness of Cambodian roads, so a long nap was actually not a difficult thing to achieve. As soon as we arrive to the border the staff asked us to leave to take care of the visa, not before giving some name cards to hang on the neck in order to identify us on the border and let people now we belong to the same bus after taking care of the paperwork. The first step is the Cambodian immigration office on the right of the road, where they will give you the stamp out of the country. From there you just have to walk straight through a kind of white tunnel, as shown below…
… then cross a sort of gate imitating Angkor Wat style…
… and arrive to the Thai side where you will find a building on the left of the road to take care of the visa on arrival. Depending on your country of origin you can get from fifteen days to several months free of charge, and depending on your luck and the amount of people in line, the process can be quite straightforward. We end up not spending more than fifteen minutes waiting in line, then a quick two or three minutes process with the immigration officer before getting out of the building and seeing one member of the Nattakan staff waiting to lead us back to the bus.
After waiting for everyone else to arrive to the bus as well, we drove for a couple of kilometres where we stopped again and the staff gave us a box of fried rice and more bottles of water. Then straight again to Bangkok with no more stops, reaching there a few minutes later than 6 PM. The place of arrival was Mo Chit Bus Terminal, quite a central hub in terms of transportation to the rest of the city: there’s a BTS station nearby (the Bangkokian fancy skytrain!), plenty of buses and also lot of cabs available (make sure you take one that follows the taxi meter otherwise you will probably be ripped off!). If you are going to Khao San Road you actually have free bus from the station, ask in the information office for the bus numbers.
The return journey was pretty much the same, starting on Mo Chit at 5 AM and arriving Phnom Penh between 5 and 6 PM. Again quite smooth and with no troubles at the border.
On the Thai side…
… and on the Cambodian side.
The only care you need to have is, while there, not paying attention to random guys trying to convince you there is some kind of problem regarding the visa and that they have the solution for you (of course, they always have). If they start the conversation asking you some kind of payment don’t believe them, even if they are from the police (actually, especially if they are from the police). With us, we had the funny situation of a Cambodian police officer randomly asking on the street for 300 bahts to get us the visa (it’s mandatory, he said!) and with us insisting we don’t want and that we prefer to go to the immigration office itself, he ended up saying it was just to facilitate the process and get us the visa faster, for us not having to wait in line… no thank you! (There was almost no one in line at the moment, by the way). So be always aware, only believe in people inside the immigration offices themselves, both on the Thai and on the Cambodian side, no matter what uniform some random dude appears to you on the street.
And after that, just enjoy the ride through the sleepy Cambodian landscapes…
In case you are planning to go from Phnom Penh to Bangkok, or the other way around, Nattakan is an interesting choice to explore, with a high level of comfort and with the advantage of not having to change bus on the border – it’s direct from one capital to another in just around twelve hours. Have a look on Camboticket website for this or other options of traveling between the two cities and enjoy your trip!Read more
For travelers in Thailand, often the next destination is the famous temples of Siem Reap including the incredible Angkor Wat. However, the journey from Thailand to Cambodia is fraught with various issues. Either you spend a mini fortune on a flight ticket, or you take one of the buses that necessitate undertaking immigration formalities at both the Thai and Cambodian borders and risk dealing with the numerous touts that crowd the border area.Read more