THIS POST IS ALSO AVAILABLE IN : Nederlands
IN THE PICTURE #33
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!
In this edition not only a kind woman, beautiful wife and amazing mother but also a great photographer! Kay graduated from the Institute of Photography in New York and we are thrilled to present a professional photographer like Kay in this column! Keep on snapping dear Kay!!!
Hello, please introduce yourself.
Sawasdee Thailand Magazine!
My name is Kay and I am a Scottish mother of 3 who has been living in Bangkok, Thailand for the last 5 years. We have recently moved to Australia from Thailand and writing this has been a wonderful way to reflect on my memories and photographs of this incredible country.
Thailand is the most sensational sensory overloaded country and it is the reason I picked up my camera. I felt the need to capture as much as I could as there is beauty behind every corner. Through my camera lens, I have been able to witness and document the beauty in the crystal clear waters of tropical islands to lush green rainforests to the inner city slums. Thailand is a photographers dream!!
Wat Benchamabophit (The Marble Temple) in Bangkok
Everywhere you look in Bangkok, you will find beauty and there is nowhere as beautiful and intricate than the temples that surround the city. I love this specific image as it shows the intricate details and rich colours within this Wat. (Wat means Temple in Thai).
Buddhist monk at the Golden Mount (Wat Saket) in Bangkok
Monks are an everyday sight in Bangkok but it’s something I never grew bored of. This monk was walking down the beautiful winding stairs of the Golden Mount Temple. I love this photograph so much as the monk saw this image on Instagram and now we follow each other!!
Thai dansers at the Erawan Shrine in Bangkok
The Traditional Thai dancers at Erawan Shrine in Downtown Bangkok (Siam Square) are the most breathtaking sight. Here you see them showing grace and beauty in traditional clothes whilst also staying safe during Covid-19.
What is your favorite destination in Thailand?
Thailand is the most incredible country with so many wonderful destinations; this makes selecting a favourite so difficult! I think, as a family, our favourite destination would be Phuket. One hours flight from the hustle and bustle of Bangkok and you land in paradise filled with countless beaches, spectacular scenery, an architectural goldmine in Old Phuket Town and ofcourse the gateway to all the incredible Andaman Islands like Koh Phi Phi, Koh Lanta en Koh Lipe.
We have so many fond memories of our times in Phuket and it caters for everyone from families to solo travelers; you can eat delicious food at a beach bar whilst watching the sunset, snorkel in the crystal clear waters, zip line in the rainforest; it really is a place for everyone!
Which place / destination in Thailand is still on your wish list to visit?
One place we didn’t manage to visit during our time in Thailand was Sukhothai. As a photographer, I was so eager to visit the World Heritage site there but unfortunately with the emergence of Covid-19, like so many others, our travel plans were halted.
Laem Sing Beach on Phuket
The crystal clear waters of the Andaman sea are breathtaking and we saw this from the roadside so had to stop the car to get a better look. This is common in Phuket, as you drive around the coast, a stunning beach will just pop into view. This island is filled with these beautiful coves and beaches. It is located in the middle of Phuket, between Surin Beach and Kamala Beach.
Streets like this one in Bangkok
I spent my first year in Bangkok teaching English in kindergartens in Khlong Toey slums. I took this photograph as I wanted to show how organized, bright and interesting these areas are. The community there welcomed me with open arms and this area will always hold a very special place in my heart.
Which place / destination do you recommend our readers to visit and why?
There really is so much to see and do in Thailand but one of my most treasured memories was visiting an ethical elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai. Being able to be so close to these magnificent creatures, and knowing they are being so well cared for , was very important for us. Our three children helped prepare their food whilst learning about the elephants and we walked with them down to the river to watch them bath.
Obviously no sanctuary is ideal as ideally we want all elephants to be free in the wild but these are rescue elephants and seeing them in a place where they are clearly loved, was priceless.
Where do you like to eat?
Bangkok has the most exceptional restaurants and my personal favourite is “Sit and Wonder” a small Thai restaurant situated off Sukhumvit Road, on Sukhumvit Soi 57 (very close to Thong Lo BTS station). The food quality here is always exceptional and the prices are very cheap. If you are a photographer, you will adore the interior as it is floor to roof black and white images of Thailand and the shelves are filled with vintage cameras.
Thai Burmese railway in Kanchanaburi
Thailand is steeped in history and Kanchanburi is somewhere that is built on that. This trip to Kanchanburi, traveling on the Thai- Burmese railway was in my to do list for a long time and it was a fantastic way to view a different side of Thailand. The Bridge over the River Kwai and all the WW 2 museums and cemeteries were a must for me and I was so impressed with the way in which the memories of the fallen have been maintained. A tragic place to visit but important to ensure our kids understood what happened there.
Hua Lamphong Station in Bangkok
This is one of my favourite places to photograph in Bangkok. It is a buzzing station where all walks of life can be seen. Before covid, barbers would be cutting hair on the tracks and the platforms were always busy with families selling food and commuters.
In recent months, it’s become clear that they will be closing this station and on one of our last days in Bangkok, I had to return to capture the architectural beauty of the station and feel the black and white add a timeless look to the image.
In de afgelopen maanden is duidelijk geworden dat dit station gesloten gaat worden en op een van onze laatste dagen in Bangkok moest ik terug om de architectonische schoonheid van het station vast te leggen en het gevoel dat het zwart-wit een tijdloze uitstraling aan het beeld geeft.
Tip us a nice coffee shop or bar where our readers can drop by.
During our time living in Bangkok, we were able to learn about the local communities and charities set up to help. One that stood out was “Steps With Theera”, not only can you enjoy one of the best cups of coffee in the city, you can do so knowing you are supporting a vocational training Centre and coffee shop, specifically supporting qualifications and employment for teenagers and adults with special needs in the community. I would also recommend their baked goods and fresh soups, delicious!!
What is your favorite Thai dish?
I have grown to like spicier foods but I’m still not at a local level yet. I would always ask for a little spice in my curries but the spice in this particular sauce is too good to not try. Moo Ping are pork skewers basted in coconut milk, served with sticky rice and spicy dipping sauce. This is a staple at street vendors and Thai restaurants and it’s definitely what I miss most.
Kata Noi on Phuket
Sunsets in Thailand are exceptional but this was taken on one of our last nights in Phuket. I wanted to enjoy every last second as the colours in the sky change constantly. The heart shaped cloud took my breath away and illustrates the awe and love I have for this time of day in Thailand.
What is your favorite accommodation in Thailand?
My favourite hotel in Thailand is the Anantara Golden Triangle in Chiang Rai. This incredibly beautiful hotel has the most incredible grounds and views as well as an elephant sanctuary on its grounds. There is nothing like hearing elephants trumpeting as you overlook from high up enjoying your morning coffee.
Do you have a (travel) tip that might come in handy in Thailand?
I would recommend you always have small notes for tips. Most people in the tourist industry have low wages and a small amount of money could make a big difference to them. Thais are the most amazing people and are always willing to help, you never feel obliged to tip but you will always want to.
Is there a Thai phrase or word our readers need to learn?
“Chan kaw thayup khun di mi?”
Asking someone if it’s ok to take their photograph is a really important thing to learn. After I learned this phrase, I found myself communicating more with locals and even though language was clearly a barrier, it showed a level of respect that made them eager to communicate in anyway they could so this lead to lots of sign language and connection by showing them my photographs on the camera.
Ayutthaya : Buddha in a tree
A quintessential image shown so many times but somewhere I had to see for myself in Ayutthaya.
Spending time photographing people in the Khlong Toey slums was one of the most enjoyable photography experiences I had in Bangkok. Children were always eager to have their photographs taken and then look at my camera afterwards. I adore this image and have named it “Heroes”. The Spider-Man costume, the loving look of an older brother and all overlooked by a picture of the much loved King Rama IX.
What type / brand of camera do you use?
I am a Sony lover and currently use a Sony a7iii. My 70-200 lens was my favourite for a long time but I now adore heading out with only my 50 or 85 to ensure I get up close to my subjects.
Where can our readers find your work / photos?
My Instagram is kayashtonphotography.
Last question, who should we also ask our ‘In the Picture’ feature?
Bangkok is the most vibrant photogenic city and it is bursting with talented street photographers. I would recommend you check out RDstyle photography and Louise O’Brien.
Maekhlong Train Market near Bangkok
This market was always on Instagram as visitors flocked to the market to see the train run through the Centre of this market and watch in awe as the vendors take down their stalls and then set up again within seconds of it passing. As international travel wasn’t happening last year, I had the opportunity to explore Thailand instead. I’m so glad that I was able to see this market and I was not prepared for just how close that train gets as it whizzes by!
This was taken as we were walking with the elephants down to the river in Chiang Mai. The weather wasn’t great but seeing this baby elephant walk with its mum, nearly tripping her up several times, was incredible. This ethical elephant sanctuary (Happy Elephant Home, Chiang Mai) allowed us to get up close with the elephants, only when the elephants were comfortable with us and by the end of the day, the baby was constantly trying to play with our three children.