Picture Of Thailand
A visual trip around Thailand to give you a taster of the wide variety of things to see available in the Kingdom.
Thailand is a major tourist destination and consequently it is a country that is well photographed. I first came to live in Thailand in 1997 and over the years have traveled to almost all of the 77 provinces of Thailand, taking photographs along the way.
Here I present a collection of photographs that illustrate a wide variety of aspects of Thailand, not just temples and beaches (although I certainly have included those too), that together make a picture of Thailand.
For the purposes of this page I have divided Thailand into seven regions;
- The North
- The Northeast
- The West
- The Southeast
- The South
I will present my photographs region by region so it helps create a picture of each region as well as an overall picture of Thailand.
I hope you enjoy my photographs.
A recommended Thailand travel map.
|Thailand Nelles map|
This is a handy travel map of Thailand, scaled at 1:1,500,000 (1 to 24 miles). All major roads represented and most minor roads with places of interest highlighted.
Region 1: The North
Filmy Ferny Trees - Summit of Doi Inthanon
Thailand is a lush, green country. High levels of rainfall and a fairly short dry season mean that vegetation is lush in most places but in the rainy season this is particularly true.
This photograph was taken in the wet season and pictures the twisty, moss-covered trees at the summit of Doi Inthanon which at 2565 metres is Thailand's highest mountain.
Filmy Ferny Trees
The forest at the summit of Doi Inthanon is beautiful and a visit is worthwhile indeed. A road takes visitors to the top and a couple of boardwalks make access to this forest very easy. One can hardly fail to notice the brightly colored birds which live up here and are quite tame, feeding on bananas and flowers around the gardens.
The forest is beautiful in all seasons but is at its most luxuriant in the wet season (May to October).
Terraced Rice Fields - Doi Inthanon
Terraced rice fields are something that many people associate with Asia. However, most rice cultivation in Thailand is done in the plains and these terraces on Doi Inthanon are one of the few places that I Know where one can see this spectacle in Thailand without traveling to remote areas. This photo continues my theme of how lush and green Thailand is.
These terraced fields can be seen on the mid levels of Doi Inthanon from about the altitude of 800 to 1500 metres. This photo was taken in early July, in the dry season there is not enough irrigation on Doi Inthanon to get a nice green crop of rice like this. However, in other parts of Thailand irrigation is sufficient to obtain several crops of rice per year, making Thailand the biggest exporter of rice in the world.
Buy Doi Inthanon Posters at Allposters
Hilltribe Weavers at Ban Nor Lae, Doi Ang Kang
In the tourist season, these hilltribe ladies sit just outside the army camp at Ban Nor Lae in the Doi Ang Kang region of Chiang Mai province. They weave these nice scarves out of plant fibres and use natural dyes which they fix with ginseng root. They sell the scarves quite cheaply - $3 to $6 depending on how complex the weave is.
I always buy one when I am there to help put a little money into the local economy. I have quite a collection now!
Hilltribe weavers at Ban Nor Lae
Doi Ang Kang is another place I visit a lot on birdwatching trips. Doi Ang Kang is a region on the Thai - Myanmar border which consists of a series of very pointy mountain peaks and deep, picturesque valleys.
In this area King Bumiphol initiated an agricultural project which took the locals away from growing opium and being ruled by drug cartels in exchange for cash crops such as soft fruits, cabbage, cauliflower and other vegetables that can grow in the cool climate in the mountains and not in the hot climate that most of Thailand experiences. This project is very famous in Thailand, has extremely beautiful gardens and attracts a lot of Thai tourists in the dry season.
Sri Wieng Chai Chedi - Lamphun
I first noticed Sri Wieng Chai Chedi when I was returning from a birdwatching trip to nearby Mae Ping national park; it is by far the most dominant building for miles around, stuck out in the middle of some fields on a hill as it is.
Sri Wieng Chai Chedi
Sri Wieng Chai chedi is a fairly new structure and quite frankly I have not been able to find out much about it. It seems to be built in a Burmese style; the local community being Karen from Myanmar may account for this.
What I do know is that this is a fantastic building, way off the beaten track that gets only a few Thai tourists. Along with the avenue that is lined with bulls on lamp-posts, the golden elephants that guard it and the assortment of other buildings this looks like someone blew the gold budget for the whole century in one fabulous go!
Some more photos of Sri Wieng Chai Chedi
Sri Wieng Chai Chedi
Sri Wieng Chai Ched...
Sri Wieng Chai Chedi
Hilltribe Big Wheel - Pai
The small town of Pai, in Mae Hong Son province, used to be considered an "undiscovered" backwater known only to backpackers. These days hoards of Thai tourists flock there after a famous movie was shot there; "Pai in Love".
One of the attractions is a very touristy hilltribe village where they have a couple of very rustic big wheels that have to be spun around by muscle power. My wife can be seen at the apex of this one.
Rustic Big Wheel
Pai is still worth visiting as although plenty of people get there, the town is still small and has a really good night market where I found some unusual foods and drinks to try. Pleasant accommodation is plentiful, the scenery is nice and lots of restaurants serve excellent food at excellent prices; we found some nice places to relax, listen to music and drink quite cheaply.
Getting to Pai is quite an adventure too with a road with hundreds of hairpin bends to negotiate. Small air-conditioned buses make the trip from Chiang Mai or you can hire a car and drive yourself which I think is preferable so that you can explore the area without exposing oneself to the dangers of motorcycles.
Wat Thatorn - Thatorn
Thatorn is a village about a three hour drive north of Chiang Mai. It is a pleasant little place with attractive farmland and beautiful mountains around it as well as having plenty of cheap accommodation available for visitors.
Wat Thatorn is built on the hills around the village and consists of a string of buildings starting in the village and continuing along the hill ridges with a variety of Buddhas, stupas and various other temple facets.
The above photo was taken as I was descending Doi Lang after a birdwatching trip and it shows the temple with its backdrop of farmland and mountains.
Although there are not lots of attractions in Thatorn, it is a nice place to relax and take a look at life in the countryside of northern Thailand.
Himalayan Bluetail - Birdwatching at Doi Lang
Thailand is a great country for birdwatching. The Kingdom spans at least three different biogeographical zones meaning that there are a huge number of species that can be seen as one travels around the country.
Doi Lang is one of the best locations in Thailand for birdwatching and there are a few spots on the mountain where photographers have set up feeding stations which allow for close-up and clear views of some wonderful birds - this Himalayan Bluetail is one of them.
Bird Conservation Society of Thailand
The Bird Conservation Society of Thailand is the official Birdlife International partner in Thailand and their website contains lots of information about bird conservation in Thailand - Bird Conservation Society of Thailand.
Doi Lang is one of the most remote locations in Thailand with a narrow road which for much of its length forms the border with Myanmar. The scenery at Doi Lang is wonderful as is the sense of wilderness and peacefulness.
Have You Visited Thailand?
|Lonely Planet Thailand (Country Travel Guide)|
This new version of this Thailand travel guide is a vast improvement on the older stuffy versions that did nothing but list every temple lintel in the country. Packed full of travel information for every province.
Region 2: The Northeast
Butress Roots On A Huge Tree - Khao Yai National Park
Although there has been a lot of deforestation in Thailand there are still a large number of national parks that protect forest, mainly on hill slopes and upland areas. Consequently, there are a large number of fantastic trees around the country. I have chosen this one to represent the trees of Thailand as its butressed roots are fantastic.
If you want to visit this tree you must walk along a forest trail for around 1.5 kilometres. From the HQ you must walk along the road, uphill, forabout 50 metres where you will see the start of the trail on your right. If you cant find this tree, never mind, there are some really huge strangler fig trees around the park; the entrance to the trail at Km 36 has a fantastic one.
Khao Yai national park is one of the most visited national parks in the country and a large number of local guides can show visitors amazing birds like hornbills and mammals such as gibbons. Do not visit this national park at weekends or national holidays when it gets horribly busy - it is far more pleasant to visit at quieter times.
Prasat Hin Phanom Rung
Prasat Hin Phanom Rung is a Khmer style temple in Burirum province, not too far from the Thai-Cambodia border. It is not as large and spectacular as the Khmer ruins at Angkor but it is as beautiful as any there and it is easy to find oneself alone there.
This is the view of the outside of the sanctuary, across a lotus pond, from the top of the main staircase.
The ruins of Phanom Rung have been restored and it really is a lovely place to visit. Stuck up on one of the few hills in the area it commands a great view too.
Tickets to Phanom Rung also allow visitors to access nearby Muang Tam, which is similar although not as well restored. I have been to both temples a few times, late in the afternoon and had the places to myself; very nice in the late afternoon light.
Phanom Rung Poster
Prasat Hin Phanom Rung Links
Sirindhorn Dinosaur Museum
The Sirindhorn Dinosaur Museum, in Kalasin province, is quite a trek from any of the places that most tourists ever visit in Thailand but it is a surprisingly good museum, if a little small. The museum is at the site of a major dinosaur bone discovery at Phu Kum Khao where, in 1978, a geological survey team a dinosaur bone was recognized in the collection in a local temple. Since then hundreds of dinosaur bones have been unearthed and a very educational museum established on the site.
This is a photo of one of the carnivorous dinosaur skeletons on display.
Cast of Carnivorous Dinosaur Skeleton
The dinosaur museum at Kalasin is smaller than many people expect but, in my opinion, it is one of the best museums in Thailand. As one walks around the museum the creation of the universe is explained and then the formation of earth. Things like plate tectonics, volcanic activity and tsunamis are explained and demonstrated before one moves onto the section about life on earth. Visitors are then taken through the process of life evolving on earth and then the dinosaur exhibits are the centrepiece, beginning with the dinosaurs discovered in Thailand and then moving on to others. Finally mammals and the evolution of humans is dealt with before leaving the museum.
The area is know as Isaan Jurassic Park in reference to the Isaan region of Thailand and the well-known movie.
Five species of dinosaur have been first found and named in Thailand: Phuwiangosaurus sirindhornae, Siamotyrranus isanensis, Siamosaurus suteethorni, Psittacosaurus sattayaraki, Isanosaurus attavipachi.
More photographs from Sirindhorn Dinosaur Museum
Evolution Floor Dis...
Young Dinosaur Fans Will Like These Toys
A great Dinosaur LEGO set containing a realistic LEGO Tyrannosaurs Rex being chased by two heros in their dinosaur-catching vehicle.
Assemble the models into realistic looking flying dinosaurs and fly them with friends or alone at home or in the garden.
Lego Dino - Triceratops Trapper
A fantastic LEGO Triceratops is the main feature of this great LEGO set. Two minifigures and their huge dinosaur trapping vehicle are also great fun to play with. Young dinosaur fans will love this.
Region 3: Central
Sunset at Laem Pak Bia, The Gulf of Thailand
Thailand is famous for sunsets and you will see many photographs of sunsets on the Andaman sea coastline, featuring the towering cliffs of Krabi. I thought I would provide you with a different sunset picture of Thailand; this one on the Gulf of Thailand coast at Laem Pak Bia.
Sunset at Laem Pak Bia
I visit this area about 5 or 6 times every month leading birdwatching trips. This is an excellent way of getting to places that tourists seldom visit and seeing parts of Thailand that are off the beaten track.
This small boatyard is typical of 1000s that line the Thai coastline and provide a colorful scene at any time of day. These boats go out to sea for up to two weeks at a time fishing for a variety of small fish, using Thai and Burmese crew members.
Buddha Images - Wat Yai Chaimongkon, Ayutthaya
Rows of stone Buddhas in saffron robes is one of the most famous images from Thailand so I felt compelled to my own here. If you want to take your own similar photo then you need to visit Wat Yai Chaimongkon in Ayutthaya, where all such photos are taken. Some other temples have similar displays but none as good as at this site.
Row of Buddha images
Wat Chai Yai Mongkon is one of the must-visit temples on a trip to Ayutthaya, in my opinion. Its rows of Buddhas and huge Chedi are great and lots of green vegetation makes for a nice background for photographers.
Buy Buddhas at Wat Chai Yai Mongkon Poster at Allposters.com
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market - Ratchaburi
Damnoen Saduak floating market is the most famous floating market in Thailand. It is often referred to as being in Bangkok, but in fact it is in nearby Ratchaburi province. It is actually quite small, ultra touristic but very photogenic for those with a camera. This lady selling fruit was one of the most photogenic sellers on one of my visits. You can see her cane that she uses for hooking the fruits and passing them to customers. She collects her money in the same way using the little pot she is holding in the photo.
Floating Fruit Vedor
Damnoen Saduak floating market is one of those extremely touristy things to do when in Thailand. Although it is smaller than expected on arrival and many of the sellers cater exclusively to tourists, it is still an interesting place to go, particularly if you are a photographer, and a great place to try all manner of Thai food and fruit.
I would suggest getting there early before the crowds though.
Buy posters of Damnoen Saduak Floating Market on Allposters.com
Lotus Flowers at Bueng Boraphet
Bueng Boraphet is a large, semi-natural lake near the city of Nakorn Sawan and for much of the year it is covered in flowering lotus like these ones.
Lotus Flowers at Bueng Boraphet
Boat trips from the southern side of the lake cost 400 baht per hour and take place on comfortable boat with a canopy to protect you from the fierce sun. Many visitors come for boats trips to observe the huge numbers of waterbirds such as ducks, storks, swamphens and jacanas but a short tour to see the flowers and observe the fishermen is interesting for any visitor.
Region 4: The West
Kaeng Krachan National Park - Petchaburi
Kaeng Krachan national park, in Petchaburi province, is part of a much larger complex of forest in Western Thailand. A number of national parks all connect to each other in this region to create the largest piece of forest in mainland Southeast Asia. This is a view from Panoen Tung campsite, 30 kilometres into the park.
Kaeng Krachan National Park
Kaeng Krachan national park is one of the best places in Thailand for forest birdwatching and other wildlife. Observing wildlife in forests in Thailand is very difficult and you cannot be guaranteed to see anything. However, over the course of years that I have been visiting I often see Black Giant Squirrel, Common Palm Civet, Asian Elephant, White-handed Gibbon, Dusky Langur, Northern Treeshrew, East Asian Porcupine, Yellow-throated Marten, Red Muntjac and others. I have also been lucky enough to see Leopard, Gaur, Fea's Muntjac and Southern Serow.
If you visit Kaeng Krachan it is easiest to rent your own vehicle and drive to one of the accommodations just outside the park or camp inside the park. Bangkok to Kaeng Krachan takes about 3 hours and it takes about 40 minutes from the park gate to Panoen Tung campsite.
Some Wildlife at Kaeng Krachan National Park
Butterflies at salt...
Lesser Mouse Deer
Suan Peung - Ratchaburi
Suan Peung is an area of low hills, agriculture and forest that is easily accessible from Bangkok and has more pleasantly cool temperatures for much of the year. It has become fashionable to head out there for weekends with a number of resorts in the area. One of the big attractions are the sheep farms in the area.
Feeding the Sheep
In this photograph my wife is feeding the nice, fluffy white sheep that get bathed and groomed frequently so that they look nice for visitors' photographs.
This was one of a few sheep "farms" in the area - it is called "The Scenery Resort & Farm" and the entry ticket to see the sheep was about 30 baht per person from what I recall. Thailand is generally too hot for sheep so most Thai people have never seen a real one and it was fun to see people getting exited to feed and pet these tame animals. The most amusing thing to me was music by Rolf Harris played on speakers on a constant loop.
Region 5: The Southeast
Prayers at the Floating Rock - Khao Kitchakut
Every year, in the months of February and March, Thai Buddhist pilgrims make the journey up Khao Kitchakut in Chantaburi province to pay their respects to the Buddha footprints near the summit.
In this photograph the footprints are covered in orange flowers and a couple of monks lead prayers at shrine in front of the "floating rock".
Prayers at the Floating Rock
Apparently the monks have "proved" that the rock floats by managing to completely pass some holy string underneath the rock.
It is an interesting experience to visit this site with the hoards of people who go there to pay their respects. One must take a pickup truck up a dirt road, changing trucks at the halfway point, and then walk uphill for about 20 minutes to the Buddha footprint and floating rock.
Most people make this trip in February and March when vehicles run up and down the dirt road but visitors are able to go at any time of the year, walking from the bottom. It is about 15 kilometres to walk!
Fishing Boat At Sunrise - Chantaburi
One sees plenty of sunset photographs so for a change I thought I would include a sunrise picture from Thailand. This was taken just after dawn as a procession of fishing boats returned from a night's work.
Boat at Sunrise
I have already mentioned that birdwatching gets me to some interesting out-of-the-way places and again it was my search for a Copper-throated Sunbird that got me to this seldom visited fishing village. Fortunately, for my photographic efforts, there is a large road bridge over and inlet that let me get a good angle on the passing fishing fleet.
For those people who like to visit regions that do not receive mass tourism the Chantaburi coastline is quite an interesting area to look around.
This area is dotted with small-scale resorts, seafood restaurants, fishing villages, mangroves and aquaculture - a good place to investigate, particularly for photographers (and birdwatchers).
I have marked the spot where the above sunrise photo was taken.
Region 6: The South
Railey West Beach - Krabi
The Limestone Karst features of Krabi and Phang Nga provinces are well-photographed for good reason; they are spectacular. The stretch of coastline around Krabi is dominated by these huge limestone cliffs and they make for wonderful scenery with the white sands and blue skies that are a feature of the dry season.
This photograph was taken on Railey West beach.
Railey West Beach
The first time I went to Krabi I had been traveling for more than a year and had become a little fatigued in terms of having seen it all before somewhere else. However, when I arrived at Ao Nang and Railey I was extremely impressed by the beauty of the area.
Ao Nang has become more developed in recent years but is still a good place to visit. Railey beach has not really changed at all and is quiet; although it is on the mainland it can only be reached by boat and has an island feel about it.
Buy Krabi Posters at Allposters
Trang Botanical Gardens
The southern province of Trang is not a place that many tourists go to and those that do usually head for the beach which means that Trang Botanical Gardens is a very quiet place with few visitors. Located a few kilometres south of Trang town, on the main road, the gardens are easy to find and protect a small remnant of lowland forest, a habitat that has been almost totally destroyed in Thailand and is under severe threat throughout Southeast Asia.
At these botanical gardens there is a forest canopy walkway, the only one that I know of in Thailand; it allows visitors to see the forest from a different angle and observe animals and birds at eye level.
Canopy walkway, Trang Botanical Gardens
Once again, my search for birds, this time a Red-crowned Barbet, brought me to this very under-visited site and I had the place to myself. The canopy walkway was interesting and as I am no great lover of heights being 15 metres up in the treetops made me feel a bit wobbly. However, the walkway is very sturdy so I became accustomed to my new environment pretty quickly.
Region 7: Bangkok
Wat Arun is one of the most visited temples in Bangkok and it really is a spectacle with its tall Prang and multitude of surrounding chedis. One can get a nice view of the temple from the opposite bank of the Chao Phraya river but crossing the river by ferry allows the visitor to enter the grounds and climb the Prang.
More Photos from Wat Arun
Demon at Wat Arun
Climbing the temple in the daytime is quite memorable as the steps are extremely steep, I have seen young ladies in high heels have big problems here, but the view from the highest point accessible is very good. At night it is possible to enter the grounds and take some really great photos, although it is not possible to enter the inner sanctuary.
Wat Arun is more attractive from a distance than it is close up but it is worth a visit at least once.
Buy Wat Arun Posters
Khon Performance at the National Theatre
Khon performances recreate scenes and stories from the Ramakien and involve dancers, musicians and orators as well as the skills of hundreds of craftspeople in making the costumes. My wife took me to see this performance at the National Theatre in Bangkok.
If I am honest, I found the Khon performance quiet boring. It was visually stunning for a short time but the performers move very little, just a little twitch of the head or stamp of the foot. The speaking is done by orators at the side of the hall in an unusual speaking style. So unusual is it that I could not understand anything even though I can speak Thai fairly well.
The performance was really long and by the time it was over the visual effect had long worn off. Luckily I was able to sneak a few shots; this one was the only good one as I did not use flash.
|The Rough Guide to Bangkok|
"The Rough Guide to Bangkok" is a travel guide dedicated to giving advice on how to enjoy one's stay in the capital of Thailand.
Watch a Khon performance at the national theatre
The Chao Phraya River
The Chao Phraya River is the main waterbody that runs through Bangkok and, indeed, most of Thailand. It has been a vital transport route for centuries and allowed Thailand to build up its wealth through trade. Today it is still a busy river with lots of rice barges, tourist vessels, ferries and a variety of industrial vessels always in evidence.
Boats on the Chao Phraya River
Using the river bus on the Chao Phraya river is a great way of viewing the city without getting stuck in a Bangkok traffic jam.
Those that wish to use this boat service can find out about the routes on the official website - Chao Phraya Express Boat.
Thailand Travel Advice: 10 Memorable Things To Do In Bangkok
Bangkok can be a confusing place but one thing it certainly is not is boring. There are lots of temples, markets and other places to visit but here I present some fun "touristy" things to do in Bangkok.
None of these things are very original but they are entertaining and experiencing them all will get you around the city and see a variety of life.
Bangkok, and indeed every Thai town, is full of Buddhist temples. Wat Pathumwanaram is a very interesting one due to the fact that it is nearly all white, has a beautiful little image hall and ordination hall and is situated between two of Bangkok's biggest shopping malls.
The photo below shows the chedi of the temple and Central World shopping mall in the background.
Wat Pathumwanaram is a nice, peaceful place in one of downtown Bangkok's busiest areas and worth a quick visit. For those who like such things there are some interesting old buildings around the temple which form the monks' quarters. The temple's website can be found here - Wat Pathumwanaram.
Thailand Picture Book
Thailand: The Golden Kingdom
Over 140 color photographs adorn the pages of this lovely book which attempts to paint its own picture of Thailand as it takes the reader around the various regions of the country; "It gives an endearing portrait of Thailand's multi-ethnic population, the people's beliefs and ways of life and sets it in an historical and cultural context".
A nice coffee-table book for those that love Thailand or plan to visit.
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