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IN THE PICTURE #71: MATTEO
In this feature called ‘In the Picture‘ we ask great photographers from all over the world to share their 10 most favorite Thailand photos with our readers. See Thailand through the lens of the photographer, read the background stories and learn more about the land of smiles.
Matteo is an insanely good landscape photographer from Italy. After checking out his Instragram page we immediately asked him to participate. Below are some of his photos shot in Thailand.
Benvenuto Mateo, it’s a pleasure to showcase some of your amazing work!
Ciao Matteo, could you please introduce yourself to our readers?
Hi readers of Thailand Magazine,
My name is Matteo and I am an Italian boy from the province of Turin. I have a degree in Dental Hygiene, a job that takes up most of my days. When I can, however, I dedicate myself to my true passion: photography.
I was born and raised in the mountains and the landscapes have always been just a click away. I still remember when I started taking pictures: I was in elementary school and my mother gave me a disposable camera to take on a school trip. Obviously those first photos were mostly dark or burned but that was the beginning of my journey in the world of photography. Since then I have always shot, good and bad, learning every day to better manage the camera.
Two years ago I managed with my wife to organize a trip to Thailand, a tour from north to south that allowed us to discover and appreciate it in all its nuances. Bangkok, Ayutthaya, Sukhothai, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, all wonderful places, each of which with its own peculiar characteristic that makes it magical and unique. Starting from the most chaotic Bangkok, where everything is possible and there are no limits, our journey has become a more peaceful and spiritual way among the temples of the north until it ends in relaxation among the enchanting beaches of the Puket area.
But now I will let the photographs speak and waiting to be able to return to travel without limits, good Thailand and good light!!!
Our photographic journey began on an island group near Phuket. We leave early in the morning, two hours before sunrise in order to be the first to set sail by boat. Between nomadic villages and mangrove forests we arrive at James Bond Island in the Phang Nga province. A few small paths to do in the woods and this spectacle of wild and uncontaminated nature opens up to the view.
One of the characteristic Thai symbols is the Bridge over the River Kwai, another point of interest made famous by a film, but the site of numerous victims during its construction. Often this place is full of tourists, it is rare to see it deserted but during the visit, between the various waves of people a passage opens up that leaves me just the time to immortalize this gentleman who walked alone in the middle of the tracks. Making this shot in black and white seemed more appropriate to give a sense of history and return to the past.
What is your favorite destination in Thailand?
If I have to choose a place that really left me speechless it was the hotel on the River Kwai: The Float House River Kwai where we spent New Year’s Eve in a floating villa. The dawn lights that timidly warmed us as we sipped our coffee, listening to the sound of water beating on the stilts was something magical and indescribable. This is a stage that I really recommend to everyone.
Which place / destination in Thailand is still on your wish list to visit?
Among the various visits, one was particularly colorful: the one to the umbrella factory (if we can say so) located in the Chiang Mai area. No machinery, no technology, the current was used only to activate fans to try to make the air temperature cooler. Only hand tools, knives and chisels and a lot of effort. As result? A wonderful rainbow of colors.
The journey continues to the Amphawa Floating Market in the vicinity of Bangkok: stalls of all kinds that almost hide the green waters of the canals. You can find really everything, from food, to spices, from fabrics to jewels and why not, even some snake owners. This Boa greeted us with great elegance as soon as we got off our taxi.
Which place / destination do you recommend our readers to visit and why?
I was also very impressed by the visit of Ayutthaya, the ancient capital: I found a very relaxing peace and quiet, probably also thanks to the influx of people who in the early morning was really minimal, but walking around those ruins was very engaging and touching.
Where do you like to eat?
Among the streets of Bangkok I really enjoyed Khao San Road, a street full of stalls and clubs. Here there are no limits you can meet people of all kinds and savor all kinds of dishes: from the simplest dishes to the strangest insects.
Here is the best experience spent in Thailand, a night in The Float House River Kwai: a series of stilts that sway with the passing of the boats. We arrive in the room in the late afternoon and the sunset light began to color the sky red, all around us only water, woods and lots of peace. Immortalizing this moment and being able to see it again allows me to be able to take a break from the hectic life of every day.
To stay on the subject of “manual work” (see image #3), I appreciated a visit to a pottery shop: vases of all kinds and every decoration, entirely handmade: but who was the artist? Here, from the curtain that connects the back of the shop, you can see a gentleman who, despite his age, is still passionately dedicated to his work. Shooting it in a frame of his creations seems to me the best way to represent it.
Tip us a nice coffee shop or bar where our readers can drop by.
To be able to appreciate Bangkok in its entirety, I definitely recommend the Sky Bar at the Lebua Hotel which offers a truly wonderful view over the whole city. From here you can admire a sunset that leaves you breathless while sipping a good cocktail. When night falls, the lights offer another spectacle, even more sensational.
What is your favorite Thai dish?
While discovering Thailand, of course, culinary pleasure cannot be neglected: one of the typical dishes is definitely Pad Thai: A kind of pasta seasoned with soy and a mixture of vegetables, shrimps and meat that create a really tasty and savory dish. For someone like me, however, a lover of sweets, it is impossible not to mention the Mango Sticky Rice, of which I was really greedy: a simple dish made up of rice, coconutmilk and mango.
What catches your eye when you land in Bangkok? Traffic certainly; taxis and motorbikes often made up of make-up that line up at traffic lights as if they were participating in a car race and when the green light clicks, they sprint at full speed to stop at the next traffic light. Very characteristic are those stretches of road that flank the elevated tram lines full of lights and colors. When I look at this photo I can still perceive the smell of diesel in the air, the sounds of the engines and the horns that go on all night.
When you spend a few days in Bangkok you cannot fail to pay a visit to the highest and most beautiful skyline of the city: The Sky Bar at the Lebua Hotel, which became famous for the famous film The Hangover II, truly offers a breathtaking view. Maybe the cocktails are expensive for Thailand’s standard but the lift ride is free which shouldn’t be underestimated and once you get to the top you will have the city at your feet.
What is your favorite accommodation in Thailand?
Without a doubt The Float House River Kwai in Kanchanaburi!
Do you have a (travel) tip that might come in handy in Thailand?
The advice for those wishing to visit Thailand is to have local experiences, not just stop in the tourist resorts but to look for a trip that takes you to learn about life together with the locals, get to know families and their way of life .
Is there a Thai phrase or word our readers need to learn?
This photo I took in Sukhothai park, among the various temples, this was surrounded by imposing centenary trees with huge roots and all above ground. Their silhouette was so beautiful and imposing that it could not fail to be immortalized.
You can find a place full of history in Ayutthaya, the ancient capital of Siam which was razed to the ground by the Burmese. In an almost unnatural silence you will find yourself walking in a well-kept park, where the ancient ruins of the city are highlighted in a succession of often beheaded statues and monuments now reduced to a few heaps of bricks.
What type / brand of camera do you use?
My toy? A simple Nikon D7100 that I have tried to enrich over time with lenses of various kinds. For reasons of space I have chosen 2 lenses that I love and that I never leave at home: the Sigma 10-20 and the Nikon 50 1.4.
Where can our readers find your work / photos?
Last question, who should we also ask our ‘In the Picture’ feature?
Are you guys following Thailand Magazine on Instagram already?
A visit that deserves your attention is the Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai. You will be welcomed by a characteristic staircase of 300 steps bordered by 2 imposing dragons and once you reach the top you will be surrounded by temples, golden statues, flowers and candles. All this accompanied by the sun’s rays that will make everything even more brilliant and suggestive.
To end our journey, like a scene from a movie, I chose the beach of Khao Lak at sunset but unlike these footprints imprinted on the sand, which sooner or later will be erased by the sea, this journey and the emotions it has given to me and my wife will remain etched in our hearts and minds forever.