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IN THE PICTURE #12
In ‘In the Picture’ photographers from all over the world share their 10 most beautiful pictures of Thailand. See Thailand through the photographer’s lens, read background stories about the photos and learn more about the beautiful Thailand! This time we welcome Tore Bustad, happy to have you here!
Hello, please introduce yourself.
Hello dear Thailand Magazine readers,
My name is Tore Bustad and I live in a small village Asker just outside Oslo in Norway. I’m a librarian by education so it’s not surprising that literature is one of my passions haha. Besides reading I’m a big fan of Liverpool FC and love good food combined with a good beer or glass of qualitative red wine. I also do appreciate a good coffee as you can read further in this In the Picture.
I love nature and travel (and Thailand)! I bought my first camera (Canon 550D) in 2010 to use on holiday, but I became addicted. First I did all the technical things. Birds in the sky, landscapes, 14mm to 400mm, photoshop and filters to manipulate reality, etc., but after a while I realised that all technical things bored me. Especially because everything I see online looks the same. Nowadays I only use a 35mm. I like that perspective. I photograph in RAW and process my photos in Lightroom, without any manipulation. Especially in travel photography there is so much manipulation, both in the camera and in Photoshop, that I seldom recognize the places on the photos when I go there.
Phra Nang Cave Beach, next to Railay Beach, just outside Ao Nang in the Krabi province. This is the Thailand I fell in love with. This picture was taken in 2012, a couple of years before the tourism exploded. Unfortunately, with speed boats everywhere, most of Krabi doesn’t look like this anymore.
Looking down on the city of Chiang Mai from Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep. One of the nicest temples in Thailand. The drive up the hills are spectacular.
What is your favorite destination in Thailand?
My fascination for Thailand starter with the beach-destinations. Especially Phuket, Khao Lak, Krabi and the islands surrounding these areas like Koh Phi Phi, Koh Lanta and Koh Yao Yai.
Thailand became the perfect place for winter-escapism a month every year. Today, twelve years later, my favourite places are Chiang Mai and Bangkok. If I have to name just one place, I’ll say Bangkok. I think I’m attracted to the chaos. The fact that something’s happening everywhere. The sounds, the smells, the food, the people. While most beach-destinations got way to overcrowded in the years before Covid-19, I don’t mind the crowds in Bangkok. In fact: I love it!
Which place / destination in Thailand is still on your wish list to visit?
It’s not really a place, but right now, being stuck in Norway because of this pandemic, I’m playing with the idea of bringing my bike and some bikepacking gear when the pandemic is over, and cycle from north to south. That way I will get to see some of the smaller towns I haven’t visited yet.
This elephant is from the famous Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai. Over the last couple of years rescue camps for elephants have been popping up all over Thailand. This is from the place that started it all. I love elephants!
Originally I made this picture in black and white, and for some reason it got published a few places. To me it just represents the chaotic Bangkok I like. People making food on the sidewalks, someone passing buy, a bus with people on their way to work. I don’t remember where in Bangkok this is, but it could be anywhere.
Which place / destination do you recommend our readers to visit and why?
Chiang Mai. It’s just sooo Thailand. The temples, the food, monks in the streets, the northern friendliness, Khao soi, the culture. In Chiang Mai you get to see some spectacular places, both within the old city, and a short trip outside of it.
Parks: When in Bangkok I enjoy starting my days in Benjakiti Park around sunrise, before I go back to my hotel for breakfast.
It’s more difficult to recommend islands these days. Mostly because of mass tourism. But I have some great memories from lots of islands in the Andaman sea. Koh Tachai now part of the Similan Islands, outside of Khao Lak, was pure paradise. Small sharks where swimming near the beach, the ocean was blue as far as the eye could see, it was sea turtles, and on our way there we met a bunch of dolphins out on the sea.
Where do you like to eat?
I eat a lot in small restaurants, mom and pop stores and food stalls. Some of my favourites have been around for generations. There’s a small place that specialises in duck in Bangrak, near Chao Phraya River. It’s called Ped Prachak (ร้านประจักษ์เป็ดย่าง), and I believe it’s been around for over 100 years. I love eating in places like that.
I also need to mention Baan Soei Restaurant (ร้านเส่ย) in the Dusit district in Bangkok. They serve fantastic dishes you don’t get anywhere else. Try the raw shrimps in wasabi sauce! It’s a bit more difficult to get there without a taxi, but if you don’t mind walking, you can walk from a few BTS-stations (I usually walk from Ari, and I think it takes about 40 minutes).
Early morning in Benjakiti Park in Bangkok. Probably my favourite place for my early morning walks. Around sunrise is the perfect time to visit. It’s almost unbelievable how peaceful parks in a huge city like Bangkok can be. Just buy some fruit, sit down on a bench and relax.
Name a nice coffee shop or bar where our readers can drop by.
My favourite place for coffee is probably Mother Roaster in Bangkok. It might take some time waiting in line, but it’s worth it.
I usually grab a beer wherever there’s a bar, and there’s no lack of bars in Thailand. I don’t remember lots of names (and they seem to change names every time I’m there), but I often have a couple of beers listening to music in Apoteka in Sukhumvit Soi 11. I’m not a fan of loud clubs or famous upscale bars with fancy drinks, and prefer small bars with wooden stools, a welcoming waiter and a few ice cold beers served in one of those condoms that keeps the beer cold.
What is your favorite Thai dish?
I never seem to get tired of Pad kra pao, Som Tam (I eat it almost everyday when in Thailand) and different kinds of noodles (specially boat noodles near Victory Monument in Bangkok and a soup I believe it’s called something close to “Giow Tiew moo Tom Yum”).
And of course: Khao Soi. Everyone should try the one from Khao Soi Loong Prakit Kard Kom in Chiang Mai. It’s a small shop a short walk from the old city. It’s the one seen on Somebody feed Phil on Netflix. A bowl of Khao Soi in that place is worth the trip to Chiang Mai from wherever you are in Thailand. It’s not just a fantastic Khao Soi, but one of the best foods I ever tasted.
A tips to everyone visiting Bangkok is that you learn how to use BTS, MRT and the river boats (both the ones on Chao Phraya and the ones going up and down the khlongs). That will make transportation in Bangkok way more pleasant than when you’re stuck in traffic.
Outside the Grand Palace in 2017. A few months before the royal funeral. Most people in this part of Bangkok dressed in black that year.
What is your favorite accommodation in Thailand?
I probably stayed in close to 100 hotels in Thailand, but I have some hotels I always return to. Dream Hotel in Sukhumvit Soi 15 is one I always enjoy. Good rooms, nice staff, very good breakfast and central, so it’s easy both to get around and to/from the airport.
It’s easy to find good for accommodation for a good price in Thailand, but I often choose hotel after location. In Bangkok I want a hotel close to skytrain, in Chiang Mai I want a hotel close to the old city, and if I’m near a beach, I want to stay close to the sea (preferably with beach access from the hotel or bungalow).
Do you have a (travel) tip that might come in handy in Thailand?
It’s easy to travel in Thailand, so don’t plan too much. Book a couple of days in Bangkok and take it from there. And don’t fear spicy food. Just eat chilli till everything burns, and you soon get used to it.
Is there a Thai phrase or word our readers need to learn?
“Pet” means spicy. “Pet pet” means more spicy. That’s important if you like spicy food. Especially in the tourists areas, where they tend to see pale people like myself and remove every taste of chilli. I wish they would stop doing that, and just serve the food thai-style, unless the customer specifies otherwise.
Hông náam. That means toilet. You need that word if you follow my previous advice and eat till everything burns. :)
Just a fishing boat on the south end of Hua Hin Beach, near Wat Khao Takiab. I remember a fantastic seafood restaurant at the foot of the mountain with the temple on the top. I like this part of Hua Hin. There’s almost nobody there, except monkeys and fishermen.
The northern kitchen is delicious, and Chiang Mai sausages are famous for a reason. Chiang Mai is also where I learned to cook Thai food. In that regard I can highly recommend Thai Akha Kitchen in Chiang Mai. These days you even can book online cooking courses.
What type / brand of camera do you use?
These days I only use Fujifilm X100V and iPhone. I like the 35mm perspective. I process my pictures in Adobe Lightroom.
Where can people find your work / photos?
On my Instagrampagina and on my Flickr page.
Last question, who should we also ask our ‘In the Picture’ feature?
I mostly follow street photographers, photo journalists and a few travel photographers, so I don’t really know any Thailand-photographers.
Beside from that I just want to wish everybody good luck during these unfortunate times. Especially readers from Thailand, who might own small tourist related business that’s hit hard by this pandemic.
I read somewhere that almost everything we eat in Bangkok has been through Khlong Toei Market on its way to our plate. I don’t know if that’s through, but this fresh market in Bangkok is always bustling with life. Just a stone throw away from the Bangkok’s luxurious shopping centers in Sukhumvit like EmQuartier, but a very different world.
I already mentioned my favourite coffee shop in Bangkok. Here’s Mother Roaster in action. This is what I call brewing! :)