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Mittwoch, 20. November 2013

Koh Chang & Krabi, the wonderful south of Thailand

It's been quite some time since I've seen the ocean, so it was convenient to combine the visit of my friends with a nice trip. I rented a Mansion by the ocean for 3 days on the island Koh Chang which isn't to far to travel by car but also not to crowded like the closer islands near Pattaya.

It was a wonderful start into the vacation. With our own house and a car we where completely independent.

But still strictly followed the rules ;)

One of the highlights on Koh Chang was the Sailing Tour on a Wharram Catamaran. Our Skipper Scotty was a humorous British fellow and his crew made sure that everyone felt really comfortable.

Scotty provided private skin diving lessons while the crew prepared a yummie barbeque. I can highly recommend Scotty´s day trip on his yacht. You´ll reach him on facebook:

Koh Chang is still not crowded by tourists like the many other islands in the south. We had enjoy beaches to be just on our own.

Originally we planned to continue with a tour to the north of Thailand, away from the 'mainstream', to see the real Thai life. But we where so fascinated by the ocean and so it didn't take much to convince me to travel south instead.
One of the most beautiful places on the ocean side in Thailand is Krabi. That was our new destination. Back to Bangkok and down south, we had a to drive almost 1200 km.

We made stop over in Prachuap Kiri Khan at a hotel on the beach with a fantastic view over the bay. I woke up early and made some  marvelous shots upon sunrise.

The ORANGE CITY HOTEL in Krabi was a stroke of luck. Almost new with incredibly nice stuff and reasonable prices. The owner himself mediated us with various daily trips and so we had an excellent time in Krabi.
I really recommend this place:

Nothing is more beautiful than going on a boat to explore the islands.

Of course he wanted a piece of our lunch box as well.

The Tiger Cave Temple (Wat Tam Suea) is not far from the city Krabi. It is high up on a mountain and is only reachable through a seemingly endless stairway. The 1200 steps give you enough time to find your own  rhythm in climbing stairs. However the view is impressive and it is definitely worth the climb.

We wanted to take our time on the way back and stopped at a cave. To reach the cave we had to walk a ca 1km boardwalk through the jungle, an adventure of its own.

The cave was home to countless bats and looking up , it looked like you where staring into a giants maw. It took us around an hour to completely explore the gigantic cave and at the end we once a again stood in the jungle.

Even a waterfall was on the way, and we definitely did not want to miss that. When suddenly a tree crashed onto the road before us.

For the forest workers it was no problem at all. 15 Minutes and they where done. Just enough time to play around a little with the camera.

Now and then there was a piece of road missing , which was washed away in the rainy season.

In the end we managed to reach the waterfall before dark. It's like they say "The journey is its own reward".

We made a small detour to the Burmese border, before we returned to Bangkok behind a colorful bus.

For me it was another day driving back to Sukhothai. Everything is better than flying!

Mittwoch, 28. August 2013

shooting the storm

As it is the rainy season here in Thailand, it provides perfect conditions for dramatic landscapes. Thats how my "atmosphere" series started in 2011. Come and join me on a little tour to the nearby lake where I love to go for photography. Just click on the picture below to see this little movie. Do not miss to click the HD option to get a decent quality.

Montag, 3. Juni 2013

Sri Satchanalai Historical Park, Landscape, People and Thai Cultural Photography

The Sri Satachanalai Historical Park is located only about 60 km from Sukhothai and has its  very own charm. The entire area is a lot wider then the Park in Sukhothai and has a peaceful and quiet atmosphere.

One of the participants, the Japanese man Sugawara Masaki didn't arrive at the airport. So we were only five in the car and had the comfort of more space. The Australian couple, Porter, weren't really interested in photography but wanted to use the opportunity for an enjoyable weekend trip.

The weather was wonderful and usually it's rather isolated in this Park. Today however there were 2 travel groups so we had to coordinate our tour to stay out of their way.

The Thais have their own way of visiting historical sites.


The Temple Wat Chang Lom (surrounded by elephants) is one of the most significant. In 1285 King Ram Kamhaeng excavated the holy relics of the Wat Phra Sri Rattana Maha That Temple , which was built under the reign of the Khmer in Chaliang.
After he worshiped them for one month, he buried them 3 km west where the Sri Satchanalai Park is today and build the Wat Chang Lom Temple above them.

Wat Chedi Chet Thaeo, which is directly opposite, was another photographic challenge.

The temple ruins seemed a lot older and less restored compared to the Historic Park in Sukthothai. I think that's what creates this special atmosphere.

After a refreshing lunch in a beergarden directly at the Yom river , we did not want to miss the new excavation site in the Wat Phra Sri Rattana Maha That.

In the evening, after an hour of driving and a break at the Ruean Thai hotel, we went to the fields in front of the Ramkhamhaeng mountain range in Sukhothai.

We hoped for fantastic evening light to capture the beautiful landscape.

Kenneth and I were thrilled when a cold front moved into the sunset. We had almost an entire hour to shoot before it started to rain while the light disappeared and we had to return to the hotel.

On the next morning we had to get up early. We wanted to use the morning sun for landscape shots. This time we didn't have much luck and the lack of light couldn't be created through Photoshop either. The sun was blocked by a thick veil of clouds and left us standing in troubled waters.

We used the opportunity of the diffused light to make some macro shots of the flowers growing on the fields edge.

Here's an example of what modern image editing programs like Photoshop are capable of and how you can put a little more "magic" into the pictures with a little bit of post processing.

We ate breakfast in the field and began searching for encounters with the natives. We met a cowherd , talked to a family whose daughter got married a few days ago, visited a potter and a family which made palm sugar.

We earned a break and were craving for a nice lunch. Before I had to bring Catherine and George to the airport, we had an appointment with the monks in the Wat Pak Khwae Temple.

My son did me the favor to go with us and Kristen made this nice photograph of us with the monk , who patiently stood model for our portrait shots.

Kenneth and Kristen stayed for another day and Kristen booked me for the next day to explore the Historical park in Sukhothai.
In the evening I had an appointment 30 km outside of Sukhothai and invited Kenneth to join me. Originally he was looking for the classic postcard scene: sunset between two palm trees. Instead a storm swept over us and we were unlucky to be on the wrong side of the mountain.

Sometimes that's how it is with landscape photography.