Travel Collection – 3 in Sri Racha

How i learnt about Sri Racha was back in 2007, i was still learning the rope of the photography industry, more interested in the commercial aspect. I was asked to assist a photographer who is going to have an assignment in Thailand. It was my first time going to Thailand, was very excited about it at that point of time. Later i learnt we were going to Sri Racha to work for a few days. Where the hell is that??? That was then my first intro to the subdistrict town in the eastern part of the country.

Many years later, back in 2011 (has it been so long already). I travelled back to the less crowded town to pay a visit to my local friend. I took the opportunity to wander around as a tourist, more chill not too focus on making pictures. I did later transformed into a photographer mode and start my ‘hunt’.

Portrait of a local kid

Portrait of a local boy

Portrait of a young girl

Even thought my three subjects are children, i still treat them with respectful manner, more funky approach as well. Bear in mind good manner will influence others to be courteous and polite as well.

I approached each of them with a friendly smile, and with my fascinating broken Thai language, hand gesture was more universal at that point of time. Trying to engage with the kid for a while before i try to take pictures. I usually visualise how i want the picture to turn out, rather than pondering about how to compose the picture. Because i am not in a controlled environment, i never know what is going to happen next, the kid can suddenly dash off , or the parent calling for them. Is better for me to do it asap than been draggy, if the child still hang around, i can continue to take more pictures.

One tips to get their smile, is  to show the children their pictures on the LCD screen, they love it, their smile will appear if they did not smile initially. This method never goes wrong for me so far. Once that smile break open, quickly capture more pictures while they are smiling from the heart. You got yourself some great pictures.

Feel free to check out other of my travel collection articles.

1 in Beijing

2 in Bangkok

Tarot card reader from Bangkok reuse my picture for FREE!!!

Seven years ago, i visited Bangkok for a personal photo trip. I took many travel scenery and street portraits that caught my interest. As i am the type of photographer who would approach the person for permission rather than been sneaky behind or using a super long lens to snap a picture of someone without their acknowledgement. It just been me, i like interaction, i like people who have eye contact with my camera for street portrait.

I was in the famous Chatuchak market at Bangkok, roaming around there for the first time. I caught sight of a tarot card reader who looks very interesting with her table set up and dressing, i approached her for a picture, she was speaking in half broken English which i struggle to understand. She gave me her card and i promised to send her a file.

Here is the actual portrait picture i took of her.

Recently, i saw her on Facebook, and realised she was using the picture i took of her to advertise herself. Apparently she seems quite famous in the tarot industry.

Check out her tarot service if you are in Bangkok. ^^

Now, you may be thinking am i going to be mad about it? She’s taking advantage of a photographer who took her picture and ended up using it for her advertising materials; which she did not paid a single cent for it. I know many pros out there would be fuming if such things happen.

In another angle, i kinda of appreciate her cause of action, at least i know this picture i capture was worthy. Her action speaks the truth. Ya i would love to get pay, but these was no agreement for any remuneration. I would at least love to be credited by her, but is all right. As long she is happy, i am happy. But that doesn’t mean you can email me to take free pictures for you all right. ;]

P.S. Feel free to check out my street portraits as well.

Looking back at Asia 2011 travel photography images

I hope everyone have a blasting good year in 2011. First looking back at the important news in 2011. With the European economic still glooming in dark clouds, the nuclear disaster in Fukushima taking time to recover, water disaster that nearly drown Thailand, the future outlook of North Korean remains unknown, and many more heartening issues that concern the world.

Frankly, 2011 wasn’t a fantastic year for me. While many people around the world are living in hardship environment. Comparing with them, to be absolute humble. I’ll am slightly blessed to embark on travel photography trips and decent jobs that comes along to sustained my living. The other day i was joking with my friend that i might be the poorest photographer in Asia.

Here are mine 11 of favorite images of my Southeast Asia travel pictures.


The most beautiful sunset i have seen in Ho Chi Minh City


I love to shoot cityscape, hovering in a helicopter to shoot amazing pictures. In the meantime i will conquer whatever skyscraper that comes.


I love to try food that is cooked in a different way. In Sagion, how about prawn dip in coconut juice, the taste is absolutely splendid.


Is a competitive world out there, especially selling the same stuffs on the same street.


West Lake in Hanoi, a serene destination to visit.


Having a cup of hot tea to keep me warm in chilling Hanoi.


In the province of Ayutthaya, Thailand. Visit the UNESCO site of Wat Mahathat to vision the Buddha’s head wrap in Bodi tree.


Wat Phra Si Sanphet, this venue was affected with terrible flood. After intensive cleaning it is open to tourist for visit.


Ko Sichang is a popular destination island for the local to visit and relax.


A dog either sleeping or enjoying the sun on the island of Ko Sichang, i love the simplicity of the composition.


I love to shoot pictures related to Buddhism. I hope my readers will be blessed with good health and happiness for 2012.

How to get to Ayutthaya?

Bangkok been the capital of Thailand, is a fascinating place where tourists love to explore in shopping and food, at least from a Singaporean point of view. As an Southeast travel photographer. The opportunities of capturing interesting images are pretty endless, depending on what you interest you. Subjects to shoot such as buddhism religion, street photography, endless food, portraiture etc. As most people would hang around the capital to have holiday. Things might get a little bored.

I decide to visit Ayutthaya, especially after the terrible flood that cause the nation huge economy deprivation and life of locals. Now the question is how to get there, how long is the ride, what to see? Surprisingly some people never even heard of the place, or the famous Buddha head announced as an UNESCO site.

Here am going to share a detail account of getting from Bangkok to Ayutthaya by train. Train is proven to be a much cheaper, economically. And, less pollution to let the earth suffer. As a travel photographer i usually scout around the departure venue to have a better understanding of the situation. So things won’t go wrong on the actual day, especially not been a local has it’s disadvantage.

Take a train to Hua Lamphong MRT, eastern part of bangkok. Follow the sign or map to find the exit sign to Hua Lamphong train Railway station. Is about 3 mins walk. The train mrt underground would brings you directly to the entrance of the railway station. Visit the information counter to ask for a commuter train timetable, this will let you plan for your trip. The friendly staffs on the ground are able to speak good English, at least for the one i met.

Circle in red is the information counter

The underground towards Hua Lamphong Railway Station

Exit from the Hua Lamphong MRT or BTS

Get a ticket from the ticketing counter which costs 15 baht. Train ride begins as early as 4.20am. I took the train that departs at 5.20am. Although the timetable indicate reach Ayutthaya at 6.44am. The train ride took longer than i expected due to one long stoppage at a station. Arrived about 20 -30 mins later.

The earlier you leave, the less crowded it is. I managed to get myself a window seat, if you want to catch the beautiful sunrise, do sit on the right side of the moving train window. The train ticketing personnel was kind enough to inform me that i had reached my station, i was surprised he actually remembered where i was going after checking my ticket shortly after departure.

Ayutthaya train station

Upon arrival at Ayutthaya Station. One can either rent a bicycle across the road from heading west or take the tuk-tuk if your traveling in a bigger group. For pair i suggest rent bicycles from the various shops across the station, inexpensive for sure, and rent for the entire day!! The shop owner would be able to tell you where to take the boat ride. For individual, especially the first timers. DO NOT BE COAX by the tuk-tuk drivers. Every driver answer would be the same, “Bike rental shop is very far, so is the boat ride”. As i was rushing for the early light, i couldn’t care less, hopped into the tuk tuk and went off, which was not my plan at all, sadly.

Tuk-tuk across the bridge.

Taking tuk-tuk requires bargaining skill. The driver quoted me 100 baht, which is too expensive. I’ll managed to negotiate to 50 baht, fetched me to the destination i wanted. One can start to explore on the island by taxi, tuk-tuk or bicycle. Bicycle is able to provide you the flexibility, whereas taxi and tuk-tuk only drive you around for 2 hrs, if not pay more for longer hours if want to explore deep. Depending how much time you wish to spend on the there.

Once finish explore the province of Ayutthaya. Head back to Ayutthaya train station to buy a ticket back to Bangkok. Train timing varies, sometimes is not accurate according to the timetable, timetable only gives you a gauge of arrival. Only on the day itself will reflect the precise arrival time.

Train direction signboard

A local monk crossing the tracks to wait for train arrival.

Signaling for train arrival

Myself!

Finally the train arrive to bring me back. ^^

If need more information regarding my trip to Ayutthaya feel free to drop me a message here

Wat Saket (The Golden Mount) in Bangkok, Thailand

Buddhism is the core religion in Thailand, it has a huge impact on Thai society for many centuries till today, with over 94% of Thais devoted to Buddhist. As a travel photographer. There are plenty of pictures opportunity i wish to share during my first solo travel trip. Hope it will give inspiration to my fellow peers.

One of the prominent feature temple on the travel map pick up from any hotel in Bangkok is The Golden Mount Temple. Also know as Wat Saket.

Entrance of Golden Mount Temple, is not hard to miss it upon entry.

A little bit of history if you keen to know more.

Wat Saket itself (the temple complex at the bottom of the hill) dates back to the Ayutthaya era, when it was called Wat Sakae. The wat was restored under Rama I (1782-1809).

Wat Saket was used for cremation ceremonies, which were not permitted inside the walled city. During a plague in the reign of King Rama II (1809-24), 30,000 bodies were brought here.

The Golden Mount is an artificial hill constructed under King Rama III (1824-51). When the king tried to build a chedi here before the hill existed, it collapsed because of the soft soil beneath. He therefore made a strong pile of mud and bricks to support it.

It was Rama IV (1804-68) who crowned the new hill with the intended chedi. He also shored up the hill with 1,000 teak logs because it was already sinking into the swampy ground.

Rama V (1853-1910) added the chedi that stands today, enshrining within it a relic of the Buddha, said to be from India or Nepal, given to him by the British. The concrete walls were added during World War II to prevent the hill from eroding and the structure collapsing.

I realized Wat Saket is different from most temples in thailand, it is build on a hill top. Visitor requires to climb up 314 steps up. Fear not, the wide stairway spirals up and around the sides of the mount. climbing up is like walking on a gentle upslope, is relatively easy for most healthy ages.

Look how wide it is

Don’t worry about the numbers of steps, the stunning view of Bangkok will give you plenty of good energy to climb for.

View of Bangkok

Once on top, you can roam freely around the temple, there is no admission charge require. I came across a site saying requires to pay 10 Baht to enter the building and gain access to the rooftop terrace. So untrue.

Interior of the temple is clean and well maintain by the working personnel. You can walk round the 4 corners of the temple in a swift. There are many golden statues of Buddhas are displayed for devotees, one can light up the incense stick provided by the temple, kneel down for a little prayer. Is good to give some donation, no obligations.

Statues for praying

In the back right corner of the room as you enter is a narrow stairway up to the roof. The first thing you will see upon emerging onto the roof is the huge chedi covered with thousands of gold mosaic tiles. From the rooftop terrace one received a stunning 360 degree view of Bangkok. I was traveling there in mid November. Wat Saket was hosting Bangkok’s most important temple fair, when the Golden Mount is wrapped with red cloth. At the bottom of Wat Saket, carnival erupts around it, with food and drinks stalls. That explains why i never saw any carnival previously as the place was really peaceful.

The red cloth is made available for worshipers and visitors to write their names for good luck in the coming year.

Is really great to shoot something different that only happens once a year. Extremely lucky to bump into the festive. Of course i would urge photographers or tourists to do their research before heading out.

A small golden shrine below the chendi

Once finish touring or picture taking. Exit by the back entrance of the temple you come out onto a street lined with wood shops. The sights, sounds and smells can be worth a stroll.

Interested to purchase or viewing of more pictures click on Capture Asia website.

Wat Saket is located between Ratchadamnoen Klang and Boripihat road. The temple complex is open from 9:00A.M. – 5:00P.M.