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Koh Phi Phi in Thailand
Koh Phi Phi in Thailand

IN THE PICTURE #16

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 pictures and learn more about the beautiful Thailand! We are happy to welcome this Italian photographer and graphic designer with a big love for Thailand (and free diving)! Ciao Marco welcome!

Hello, please introduce yourself.

Ciao Thailand Magazine!
My name is Marco Boetti, I come from a small town in northwest Italy and have been living in Barcelona, Spain since 2006. I’m a graphic designer/illustrator (@mb_graficart, behance.net/makoboetti) and since I’m very young I’ve enjoyed taking photos and filming. My uncle is a professional photographer and he taught me some basics when I was little.

A few years ago I traveled more often and decided to buy a professional camera. In love with those tools I became more and more addicted to this hobby. The oceans have always been fascinating me. A few years ago, during the summer, I started spearfishing in the Mediterranean Sea once in a while. But the party really started when I first traveled to Koh Tao. There I took my first free dive lesson and fell in love with the underwater world. Since then I go underwater as much as I can and I can’t travel without my mask and fins in my bag!

For your information:
I put the pictures in chronological order, because I started my trip in January and was planning to return to Spain in April. But with the pandemic situation I decided to stay in Thailand and extend my “trip” until July 10. This seemed like an interesting detail to tell for this ‘In the Picture‘.

#1

Bangkok's skyline seen from the Hangover Bar (Lebua)

Bangkok, January 2020
One of my favorite things to do in Bangkok is to visit some sky bar or rooftop bar in the city. Often these can be found on top of the many hotels or skyscrapers. This shot is from the “Sky Bar” (Sirocco @ Lebua), famous for the movie “Hangover 2” and almost 250 meters high in the sky. This sky bar is one of the highest sky bars in the world.

#2

Een turtle in the ocean on Koh Tao

Koh Tao, February 2020
The island of Koh Tao is one of the best destinations in Thailand. A small wild island, perfect to explore by scooter, beautiful beaches and full of diving and snorkeling spots plus diving schools. This picture was taken in the sea in front of Shark Bay, a beach where you can swim, sunbathe and spot big turtles and white tip reef sharks.

What is your favorite destination in Thailand?

From my 2020 trip I will say Koh Phi Phi, thanks to the beautiful beaches and diving and snorkeling spots. In addition, the island is easy to explore by kayak or just by swimming or hiking in the jungle. And I love the atmosphere of a small island without cars and scooters, I hope that in the future a new conscious and responsible way of tourism can keep this place in its beauty, this is something we all have to think about.

Which place / destination in Thailand is still on your wish list to visit?

There are many beautiful islands in the Andaman Sea of Thailand that I have not seen yet. Actually, I just want to go back to the Surin Islands and Koh Tao, because there are some places that I really want to see there.

#3

The  Surin Islands

Surin Islands, March 2020

2020 was the year I visited the Surin Islands for the first time. There are no luxury resorts here, but you can spend the night on a campsite or in a small simple bungalow. There is no “city” in the archipelago but there is a small bamboo house village of the locals called the Moken (or Sea Gypsies).

The restaurant is only two hours during lunch and dinner. There is no ATM and alcohol is not allowed. The perfect place for those (like me) who appreciate nature, underwater life, free diving and as few tourists as possible. This picture was taken on one of those beautiful early mornings after waking up the tenth.

#4

A manta ray in the sea of the Surin Islands

Surin Islands, March 2020
After obtaining the second level freedive certificate in Koh Tao, I was able to enjoy the new knowledge and experiences in the crystal clear waters of the Surin Islands. Eagle rays are one of the most elegant sea creatures you can see there.

Which place / destination do you recommend our readers to visit and why?

Thailand can attract travelers for many reasons: culture, food, nightlife, temples, paradise beaches, dive sites. As a free diver and nature lover I recommend the Surin Islands, but Koh Tao and Koh Phi Phi are also very beautiful.

Where do you like to eat?

Every food market is good and cheap in Thailand. One I especially remember is the Thong Sala Walking Street Market on Koh Phangan, where me and my friend enjoyed the fresh sushi every day. Highly recommended if you are on the island.

#5

A shoal of fish in the sea of the Surin Islands

Surin Islands, March 2020
While snorkeling around the reef of the Surin Islands you may spot black and white point reef sharks, turtles, rays and many more. But one of the best underwater encounters I had there was with this school of fish that came to check me out and started swimming around me like a tornado.

#6

Pakarang Beach on Khao Lak

Khao Lak, April 2020
When I came back from the Surin Islands my initial plan was to travel back to Barcelona, the city where I live. But because of the pandemic and the collapse of the airline, I decided to stay in Thailand. After a crazy week of communicating back and forth with my embassy, I got an extension visa. Luckily I also found a nice resort to stay with some people I met on the Surin Islands. By the way, a great hug and thanks Michael and the Pakarang Villa Bungalow Hotel.

Khao Lak has been my quarantine paradise because the restrictions there were not so difficult. I had the pleasure to explore the area and the desert beaches around due to the few tourists. This picture is of one of those beaches (Pakarang Beach).

Name a nice coffee shop or bar where our readers can drop by.

I’ve always enjoyed watching sunsets with a beer, in the shade of a tree, at every bar on Sairee Beach on Koh Tao.

What is your favorite Thai dish?

Difficult question, I like massaman curry and noodle soup with seafood.

#7

An elephant in Khao Lak

Khao Lak, April / June 2020
When exploring the area in Khao Lak… you sometimes can just meet an elephant in the middle of the countryside, usually (unfortunately) tied up with a chain near some tree. Despite the sad picture, it was nice to have some kind of interaction with one of these great animals in the world. I felt the desolation because of being alone and tied up.

#8

Longtail boat on Khao Lak

Khao Lak, April / June 2020
Lockdown and the rainy season… During my stay in Khao Lak I couldn’t wait to go underwater again… After almost two months without seeing a dive site I was going crazy! Thanks to our friends from Suntan Tour I was able to dive again. They organized a boat trip near Thap Lamu Pier, a shallow water coral reef. The conditions were not optimal, but after all that time without free dives it was an incredible experience.

What is your favorite accommodation in Thailand?

I spent almost three months in Pakarang Villa in Khao Lak, it’s a beautiful and quiet resort and is close to several beaches. The owner really helped me a lot during the lockdown of 2020.

Do you have a (travel) tip that might come in handy in Thailand?

Of course: What I suggest (not only in Thailand but everywhere you travel) is don’t read too much on the internet (haha sorry Thailand Magazine). What i try to say is just go there and ask the people, the Thai are always open to help you. Try to discover the country by yourself, and above all, respect the culture and the environment.

Is there a Thai phrase or word our readers need to learn?

One of my favorites is “Sabai Sabai” which doesn’t have a literal translation because it contains a lot of variations on the idea of relaxation: quiet, comfortable, thoughtless…exactly how you feel when you’re on one of Thailand’s great island beaches.

#9

Sunset on Little White Beach on Khao Lak

Khao Lak, June 2020
Probably one of the best moments in Khao Lak were the sunsets. Almost every day I watched cloudy skies and low water levels, more than just a scientific phenomenon. Just like an artist in the sky, painting an image of beauty and hope!

#10

Viking Beach on Koh Phi Phi in Thailand

Koh Phi Phi, June 2020
In the last three times I visited Thailand, I never dared to visit Koh Phi Phi because of the enormous flocks of tourists visiting the island. It seemed like a perfect time to visit this destination in Thailand after the pandemic lockdown. As soon as the passage between the provinces was allowed again, I left my “bunker” in Khao Lak and decided to make the move to spend my birthday there.

Probably the best decision I made during my trip. I was able to explore Phi Phi in peace and tranquility while most of the activities were closed. As there were no full hostels and no boats full of tourists arriving, I can say it was a once in a lifetime unique experience. The picture taken from the beach facing Maya Bay is an example of how quiet it was, probably the most touristic island in the world.

What type / brand of camera do you use?

I use a Panasonic Lumix GF1 and a Gopro Hero 3 and 8 for the underwater images.

Where can people find your work / photos?

You can see and follow me on my Instagram- and Facebook page.

Last question, who should we also ask our ‘In the Picture’ feature?

I want to tip two great photographers. A Thai man that I met in Phi Phi and an Italian friend of mine who has a cooking school (Thai Akha Kitchen) in Chang Mai (also for online cooking). Both are professional photographers and have beautiful pictures! Tom Vudta Wattana and Svevo Mondino.

#11 (bonus)

Loh Dalum Beach on Koh Phi Phi

Koh Phi Phi, June / July 2020
One of my favorite specialties to do at tropical islands is spotting wild animals, and sea eagle are one of thems. This shot has been taken at Loh Dalum Beach while this majestic predator was hunting over the low tide beach on Koh Phi Phi.

#12 (bonus)

Viewpoint on Koh Phi Phi

Koh Phi Phi, July 2020
The end of my adventure. Finally it looks like some airline is going back to work. It’s time to go back home.

I was a little worried when I decided to stay in a country that wasn’t mine during the lockdown at first. Far away from family and friends, but in the end, I was deeply touched by the help and respect I received from every person I encountered on this journey. Thank you Thailand and thank you dear Thai people! 

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