Thailand’s colourful cityscapes, picture-perfect beaches, and dazzling temples are the stuff of photography dreams. If beautiful Thailand is on your travel photography bucket list, here’s where to go to make the most of your shutterbug adventure.
1. Ban Pa Pong Piang
If you’re happy to exchange a few modern comforts for a one-of-a-kind escape to unhurried hikes and masterpiece sunsets, take the off-road journey to Ban Pa Pong Piang. Each year, May’s rainfalls leave a palette of colourful reflections on terraced rice paddies, but a visit during summer and harvest seasons at the end of October is just as beautiful to witness.
What to expect: Ban Pa Pong Piang is found in Doi Inthanon National Park in Chiang Mai, where only a private four-wheeler can take you. Nature-loving travellers who know how to make the most of authentic, rustic accommodations will find themselves at home in small, quiet, candlelit shelters.
2. Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
Surrounded by three rivers and the sea, the restored ancient city of Ayutthaya is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, home to beautiful temples, monasteries, and statues. Grab your camera and explore the ruins of striking 14th-century structures. If you’re paying attention, you’ll stumble across Wat Phra Mahthat, an engraved Buddha head nestled in a formidable Banyan tree trunk. When you pay your respects to the famed reclining Buddha statue, draped in a flowing, bright orange robe, you’ll notice many locals rub coins on the reclining Buddha’s feet for good luck.
What to expect: It’s important to explore Ayutthaya respectfully. Inside many temples and monasteries, it’s customary to remove your shoes. Follow the example of the locals around you, and you’ll be fine!
While you’re exploring, stop at one of the local stalls to sample the roti sai mai, a sweet roti rolled around handmade cotton candy.
3. Khao Sok (Khaosok) National Park
To say that every corner of Khao Sok National Park is magnificent is no exaggeration. The 739 km2 park is largely untouched and ripe for exploring through sustainable eco-tourism. Wander around the towering karsts that give the park its iconic Thai appearance. The views rival the postcard-perfect formations at Pha Nga Bay, but without the competition with crowds for an ideal vantage point.
What to expect: Khao Sok National Park is a two and a half hour drive north of Phuket by taxi. The park is open to guided exploring by bamboo raft, canoe, and hiking through Cheow Lan Lake and the dense surrounding jungle.
4. Wiang Kum Kam
If you visited Thailand before 1984, you (along with the rest of the world) would have missed seeing King Mangrai’s 13th century walled city capital. Archaeologists only recently uncovered the lost city of Wiang Kum Kam, which Mother Nature had reclaimed for centuries with immense seasonal flooding. Now, the remarkably well-preserved city made up of holy temples and other stunning buildings is open for exploring. Capture its ornate architecture and designs for your photo collection- before floods swallow it up again.
What to Expect: Wiang Kum Kam is found in Mueang Chiang Mai District and opens for visitors at 8:00 am. Hire a tuk-tuk to transport you from site to site within the city.
5. Koh Phi Phi
To best capture the resilient beauty of Koh Phi Phi after the 2004 tsunami, it’s important to plan your trip wisely. Of the six islands that make up Koh Phi Phi, Phi Phi Don is the largest and most popular among tourists. Only the earliest birds will walk away with serene shots of the iconic landscape before crowds and motorboats take over.
Nearby, Phi Phi Leh, made famous by Di Caprio’s The Beach, is a smaller, uninhabited islet which is ripe for the taking (of pictures). Whichever island you visit, it’s tough not to marvel at the area’s unmatched natural beauty.
What to expect: You’ll find it easier to travel by longboat or by foot around Koh Phi Phi. There are plenty of restaurants and bars to enjoy a meal and rest your feet for a while.
6. Rod Fai Train Market
Blanketed with a sprawling canopy of rainbow tents, the Rod Fai Train Market in Bangkok is the place to go for infinite opportunities for unique photo shoots. Situated in two equally exciting locations, Srinakarin and its smaller sibling, Ratchada, the Rod Fai Train Market boasts live music, authentic antiques from around the world, mouth-watering street food, and countless oddball collectibles.
What to expect: The Ratchada location is easier to get to from most hotels in Bangkok, but if you have the time, venture further to Srinakarin and start with Rod’s Antiques, where cool antique cars will help you get your artistic juices flowing.
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