Travel Thru’ The Lens Series: Bangkok Dangerous

Bangkok Thailand is one of those places that most Singaporean would have gone for a holiday to enjoy the relatively strong Singapore currency and cheap budget flights.  Being there a couple of times myself and it was really nothing more than shopping, eating, shopping eating, massage, eating, shopping….

Now what fun is there for a photographer? As much as Singapore is not just Merlion, Marina Bay Sands or God forbid, Changi Airport, Thailand is also not just about temples, shopping, cheap food and red light districts.  There are corners of Thailand where tourist and visitors won’t get to see as much or taste food that are hidden in some corner of the town.  Hence the trip is to discover a side of Thailand that is more local, more cultural and definitely more flavourful.

A nice goodbye as the sunrises over at Changi Airport

We arrived at Bangkok pretty early so it is only fair that we head to Aw Taw Kaw Market to get the local produce. The highlight is of course the local dishes that the market has great abundance of and imagine having seafood BBQ in the middle of a well lit and surprisingly clean wet market. There were also the local Orh Luah, their excellent local Thai Robusta Bean coffee, cakes, tarts and other things a foodies shouldn’t miss. What a great start to the trip!

What a wet welcome! Heat was quite bad before we arrived…

Now you see them…

…Now you don’t

We arrived! Aw Taw Kaw Market.

Check out their Economy Rice Stall!

The duck /chicken/ Quail BBQ store.

Not your typical idea how Bangkok Market looks like. A real pleasant surprise!

This is the super huge prawns where they will BBQ the prawns that you choose!

Sotong Stick!

Crayfish sized Prawns. Huge is an understatement.

Look at that size! And we got the medium sized ones! The large ones….*go imagine*

Michelle Goh Delicately peel away the shell to show what’s inside the head. PhD anyone?

BBQ Prepared Fish. Just heat it up a tad more and it will be steaming hot.

Preparing a Thai Salad

Fried Oyster Omelette. Thai Style is really delicious too! Reminds me a bit of Taiwanese style but with a spicy twist.

Up Close and personal.

Thai Style pork satay. Big Meaty and Chunky. Slurrp~~

Size is very important!

Dessert Galore… that’s their version of Ang Ku Kueh! Creative designs. One can see more later in our trip and it still taste good!

Egg Tarts. 1SGD each and big!

Thai Coffee done gourmet style…in a wet market! Well done! And it is superb (but the one at Fremantle still gets my vote as the best!)

Awww….cute!

Awww…very cute!

The girls can’t help themselves too…

Table full of makan. We loving it (McDonald’s tag well used here!)
Just next to the market is actually another market but this time is for orchid, more like the orchid centre for the local people.

Danny, Sabrina, Kim, Tiger, Kevin C, Long SL, Michelle Goh….&….Felicia(?)

A visitor would naturally choose a simple hotel to stay but nooooo….travel thru’ the lens (or T3L) is a travel program that I would want to experiment with whacky places to stay or at least boutique hotels that gave people who join us, a different accommodation experience.  For this Thailand trip, I have chosen the Mystic Place for the lot as it comes with different themed rooms. I think the girls really enjoy the rooms.

We reached Mystic Place.

Check in! 

Whacky reception area, an indication of the things to come.

The entrance to my room on the top floor. Ballerinas? Pink? Oh dear~~

This is what greeted me at the door.  I can vaguely imagine a sexy being dancing through the curtain…

The other angle beyond the curtains

At the door of the toilet

Very suggestive when you open your eyes after a nap

Through the toilet and up the stairs?  Yup this is why I got this room in the first place (but the hot pink is something I was not really expecting)

A nice view greet me through the door

Superb area to chit chat and have a smoke (but I don’t). There’s a deck chair at the back!

Going back down and then I realise…this is my shower cubicle!! Next to the stairs! Talk about space maximisation. But I seriously do not have problems while there.

As part of the photography tour, I think as photographers we should go back and have a look at what the old cameras was like and really be thankful that we do not need to do any manual focusing or handle film. Or waste money developing film and printing the photos while we are learning how to shoot well. Digital do have its uses but the technology loses some of the romance of lugging around a film camera and we lost that sense of anticipation how our picture would look like after the trip to the local photo shop. I for one am glad that the old way of controlling the camera via the Aperture ring on the lens and shutter speed dials is making a come back via the Fujifilm X100 and XPRO1.  It is a more intuitive way rather than pressing buttons and shifting through the settings using a jog dial/wheel.  It feels all the more involved in the art of photo-taking.  As such I do have a penchant for old cameras, having touched my mum’s kodak brownie, dad’s Canon L1 (canon body with Leica lens) and my sister in law’s Canon A1.  So you can imagine the joy of seeing old cameras at SIAMTLR.

This is the (real) leather neck strap I got from SiamTLR for my X100 (and possibly the XPRO1). It gave the X100 the immediate feel of the cameras of yesteryears at a fraction of a cost that other leathersmith are charging on the Internet.

The Kodak Brownie in pristine box with flash and flash bulbs~! A rare collection indeed and that harks back to my Mum’s own Kodak Brownie.

The old transistor radio add to that nostalgic feeling. It feels more at home than what the camera shops in Singapore can offer.

Tiger testing out the Yashica TLR 635.

Won being a test subject.

The original Olympus Pen. Sadly, the MFT did not give as good an image quality than its film based older brother.  At least they look really alike but that’s about it.

The Rollei’s

I totally understand. I wish I can buy the whole shop back. Fantastic Lomo images at the top (using the old Lomos, not those new ones)

Polo Fried Chicken. Our Lunch/Tea Break stop.

The chicken fried to a crisp. Wonderfully marinated.

Pork 

Deep fried Cat Fish. Not much of any pieces left but the taste was exquisite!  This goes well with the…


…Sticky Rice (glutinous)!  They keep asking me to eat with my hands but I have a camera to take care of. LOL.

The Deck is where we will be planted for our sunset shoot right across the Chao Phraya River with…

 …The Temple of Dawn or Wat Arun or Wat Chaeng as the main subject. We arrive pretty early to enjoy the cool breeze and drinks.  I wonder how it looked like in the morning since it is called the temple of Dawn. X100 Panoramic Shot.

The sequence of time from dusk till blur hour.

Enjoying the night view from the deck.

After the sunset shoot.

The old barber shop just ooozzzeeee 60s vibes

It seems that there was this general feeling that Thailand is stuck at 1960s era. I still remember the last time I was in Bangkok with Wonder Girls’ “Nobody” blasting through the airwaves in the mall with their 60s theme MTV being in the rage then. And when I am back this time round, I still feel that I am back to that era (and Sabrina’s orange dress do remind me of that too).  So when we go Talad Rot Fai Train Market, the whole place just feel superbly retro.  The night market is anything but boring. With whacky drink stalls out of 60s era Volkswagen vans, old Fords trucks, old signboards the whole place is a blast from the past.

He set the tone alright!

The old sign add to the touch.

The old Chevy truck waiting to be customised!

The old feel cafe with old furniture just adds to the vintage feel. Hey…where did we get that feel? Oh yes! Swan Valley of Western Australia!

Alternative Music Musician. Pooja would have approved.

Home made yoghurt. That’s how Tow Kay Nooi seaweed snack got its start.

Bar Club On Wheels! It comes with a DJ!

I love the way they customised their trucks and vans into a show piece and a drink stall for that matter. Beautiful!

Kim queueing up to get the Egg Omelette rice.

Special Mention Goes to this simple yet overly delicious egg omelette rice fried to perfection! It is a rojak of fragrant egg mixed with ingredients. Will be back for more!

Selling Tickets to a Charity Concert (www.facebook.com/bbaconcert06).

Mystic Place at Night after a day’s worth of travelling.

The next morning promises to be another great day ahead with us waking up at 4am, trying to catch sun rise at a salt harvest field outside of Bangkok city. Next stop was the Maeklong Station where we catch the famous rail way track market where the market stalls gives way to the train when it passes by, providing a weird glimpse of Thai daily life. I mean there are great open spaces for market and why do it along the railway track? Nevertheless there is a fantastic pork rice stall at the corner with its rich soup broth tingling one’s taste buds. Delicious!

Look at the tourists!

The spirit of Kiasuism never left us alone!

Here comes the train. Look at how the stall lady doing the backward stance to avoid the train!

The Thai kids look at us in wonderment.

Group Shot!

Doing the tourist thingie…

… while he serenades in the backgr0und (and he sang really well).

The Pork Rice Stall. Check out the big pot of pork!

Tiger demonstrating how to eat

Sabrina doing the same…*hungry already lah!*

Lean Pork, Trotter Skin, some broth on the rice and YUMMY!

Felicia bought some Chiangmai style Chee Cheong Fun(Rice Sheet Roll)!

Thailand being the land of smiles is also the land of temples. The most notable ones and indeed special in its own right would be the tree temple and the limestone cave temple.  The tree temple, or Wat Bang Kung is situated at Ampawa is covered by a Banyan Tree so much so the temple itself has become entwined in the root system of the whole tree, giving the temple a unique look.  The limestone cave temple is situated at Khao Luang Caves. It has three chambers that holds numerous Buddha statue chief of which is the sleeping or lying Buddha.  We planned to arrive at 11am  so as to capture the sunlight piercing through the cave’s open cave roof that illuminates the interior of the cave, providing a special vista to the place.  It is picturesque to the point that the movie, Bangkok Dangerous (hence the name of the tour), based one of its scenes in this temple itself.

The Tree Temple , Wat Bang Kung

Trying to get some shots of the Buddha statue inside

Devotees Donation to the temple. Take one stick, stuff a currency in and then stick it into a wicker bunch.

Our newest member of the SPIN group…

….Not! Just some statues showing the various stances of Muay Thai.

Positive Demonstration of Muay Kevin Chua…LOL.

Interesting way of selling things.

Monkeys of the Cave Temple

Entrance to the Cave Temple

HDR Shot of the Cave Temple using 5 Shot Bracketing Nikon D200 (-2 to +2)

Normal shot without bracketing with Fujifilm X100. Still awesome.

Everyone is trying to get the shot, including some more tourists who came after us.

Super panoramic shot using X100 180 degree

Dedication Service for the Sleeping Buddha. We are at the right place and at the right time to witness this.

One of the things we would not associate Thailand with should be wine. Wine, long since the drink of choice of the Europeans and temperate countries , is now planted in Hua Hin Hills about an hours leisure drive from Bangkok.  Hua Hin Hills vineyard on the way to Palao U Waterfalls provided the new wine region for the ASEAN area. Frankly, the wine from Hua Hin Hills is as tasteful as those from established wine regions of the world.  It is really not a wasted trip as we have fantastic western fare at The Sala. Be assured it is not the wrong place to be lah…really~! For the uninitiated, ‘sala’ is our Singaporean colloquial for ‘wrong’.

The Sala…is Right!

The view of the Vineyard from The Sala.

See it to believe it: Thai Grown Grapes.

The crazy foodies

The awesome threesome: The Merlot, The Rose and The Chardonnay. Surprisingly refreshing wine. I personally love my wine robust and the red is suitably so. The rose is something I think the ladies would prefer; the chilling taste of white yet the full bodied staying power of reds.

The Thai tasting plate. Not bad.

My order: Spicy Thai Spaghetti. I underestimated the Spicy part of the dish.

The main favourite: T Bone Pork Chop. Thanks to Long SL get to taste this wonderful dish.

Lychee based Sorbet desert

The cheese cake

We heard of Essence of Chicken…but grapes? Super thick.

After lunch stroll through the vineyard

Interesting place: An elephant? a 4WD? Olive groove? Mango tree BBQ? Yes the 4WD and the Mango Tree looked really interesting! Should plan for this for the next trip.


The last stop of the day was the Amphawa floating market. Unlike the touristy market you see at Bangkok, this caters more to the locals and thus more authentic. We get to taste more local food at their stalls and it does not have as many souvenir shops though we kept seeing T-Shirts professing love to the area. It is not hard to see why as we are eating and enjoying the place like the locals, a better experience overall.

This lady was chit chatting with the next stall owner and was pretty animated. The post box behind is also something that kept popping up as small versions of it are sold as souvenirs.

Horse shoe crap being BBQ. There’s some toxins within these crabs so it is better to be careful.

The local Ang Gu Kuay makes its appearance again. Really colourful and creative.

The satay stall

Squid Egg Omelette. It may sound weird but believe me, it was simply superb! And BTW, the guy giving the thumbs up? He’s a photographer too!

Lighting and candles. Saw something similar at Jongker Street of Malacca.

Seafood BBQ Stall

The local ethnic chinese ngoh hiong. Tasty!

Do try their local desserts! Welcomed after a hot day out.

Thai dumpling selling.

The food street we were on crossed over this waterway where the floating market is. The boat lined up like those stalls in a coffee shop, waiting for orders coming from the shore. The promptly whip out their dishes and pass it to the waiter on shore.

Enjoying food the Thai way.

As quickly we arrived at Thailand, the last day comes like a wind. At least on the last day we can do some shopping and I myself was looking forward to do some car accessories shopping.  The last time I checked for a customised designed rear lights for my Honda Jazz, it cost a whopping $500 from Taiwan. Similar ones can be bought much cheaply here in Thailand. The girls will be spending their time buying food stuff for their families and colleagues back home. There is one more food we need to try before we head back home, the famous Duck noodle.

Breakfast with Thai Coffee. Wonderful even drinking it for 3 days straight.

One last shot with the glass.

We arrived at the Duck Place.

Looks really promising indeed!

Preparing our food.

Duck Noodle Dry version

Equally delicious is the Duck Noodle Soup version. The Duck, unlike the local version, melted off the bones like stewed meat. The taste? Awesome is an understatement!

Our dessert is equally tasteful even after we have our fill of the duck noodle.

Something to remind me with. Next purchase will be the bumper! Why Singapore is so slow in this?

A Fitting Goodbye!

More photos can be seen at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wilzworkz/sets/72157630065200003/

If you are interested to be in the Bangkok Dangerous trip with me, do email me at wilswong@wilzworkz.com to organise for you group of friends, company trip, families or photographers!

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8 thoughts on “Travel Thru’ The Lens Series: Bangkok Dangerous

  1. I am indeed having a fantastic tour around Bangkok through your superb lens!:) Food trip makes your Thai travel more engaging. I miss the delicious food from Thailand!:)

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    1. It was a photography trip organised for my photography class/club.

      If interested, can do it again sometime 1st week of November. That would have a Buddhist ceremony, the cave to go to and also the salt plains.

      Like

  2. Your photos are really very high standard! Visually artistic and well-composed. Technically speaking, did the camera do everything on auto? I understand the X100 has a fixed lens although the XPro1 is an ILC.

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