Celeste van Rooyen - Photography

T h a i l a n d – I will return!!!!

As some of you know, I ended a chapter of my life and was pretty stressed out and always planned to go to the Thai islands when this happened, so when I got booked as well for a wedding in Thailand, I saw it as meant to be: The Gods has spoken and off I went on my little adventure.

Im still busy writing in detail all I experienced ….. Watch this space

Enjoy images for now

xx

All I can say for now is Kopanang full moon is the best!

click here:

A little teaser I shot at the full moon party: Ko Panang

Some of the images at the end of my blog was taken when I first visited Bangkok about 7 years ago and skipped the islands. But for sure – you would want to spent limited time in Bangkok.  There is a reason why most travel directly to the Islands.  For the article, I cannot skip Bangkok as there is much to do discover, just make sure you don’t  spent too much time here.

BANGKOK

Yes some are saying the city is dirty - but I cannot help but notice the amounts of adrenaline pumping through my veins every time I arrive in this overcrowded city of pollution and traffic jams;  I just blatantly love Thailand for no specific reason. Why should you go to Bangkok….?  Well priced holiday? (not so much as before but still affordable)- especially clothing, accessories, fakes and wooden interior shopping, discovering new culture and the beautiful sights and landscapes surrounding the city; to see what everybody is on about? Most definitely this place is a sweet haven for photographers. Here follows my “must do” list for a compact, short visit.

 

ACCOMMODATION 

I stayed mostly in the Holiday Inn Silom Bangkok Hotel but recently I discovered a little hidden gem of Bangkok – the most cleanest and coolest Backpackers ever! Better than some hotels!  It’s walking distance behind Holiday Inn Silom Saphai Pae.

The location of Saphai Pae backpackers is is pretty good – walking distance from Patpong – and walking distance from my favourite:  MASSAGE place.

If you are more into a cosy street of a backpacking community surrounded by bars nightlife etc., I suggest the Khao San Road area, where most of the free spirited backpackers flock to.

MASSAGES

One of my highlights of Thailand. Super affordable and amazing.  As mentioned before: my favourite massage place (and I’ve had loads of massages) believe me, is: Healthland Spa.

I’m not really into Thai stretching message, more the foot and normal oil message.  But you cannot deny the power of an amazing massage.

Wat Po is the oldest and largest temple in Bangkok. Originally set up to train the blind, the traditional practitioners of this healing art, Wat Po’s massage school is now the national headquarters for the preservation and teaching of traditional Thai medicine, message and herbal therapy. Take a break from sightseeing and have a herbal body wrap.

TRANSPORT

TRY TO EXPERIENCE ALL OF THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF TRANSPORT – the tuk tuk is the most famous but don’t disregard the skytrain or even the scenic rive boats.  The locals use the Chao Phrya Express Boats which runs super regularly (every 15 mins or so) to avoid traffic. chaophrya boat – The Grand Palace, Wat Phra Kaew and the National Museum are all near the Tha Chang Pier.

Nice views of other palaces along the river awaits you on a clear day and you can get off where you want!!!  The most important palaces to visit is the Wat Phra Kaew (Grand Palace), Wat Arun (the Temple of Dawn) and the Wat Pho (with the reclining Buddha).  Wat Phra Kaew closes a bit earlier around 3:00 in the afternoon and you will need to wear a top and shoes covering shoulders and feet.  Wat Pho is home to the biggest Buddha I’ve ever seen. Both attractions are walking distance of each other. So much gold, monks and unique architecture, everywhere!  A taste of real Bangkok culture that should included in your itinerary.

Tuk Tuk drivers are not so innocent as they seem – yes there is a communication barrier but the biggest mistake you can make is to agree that they take you for a very cheap price to shopping areas of their choice.  The rule: if things seems too good to be true, then it is too good to be true. They are being paid commission if you buy from the places that they suggest and these places are most definitely not worth visiting. Make sure that both of you come to an agreement that you want to reach your destination directly.  If your not careful they can drive around with you the whole day wasting a lot of your energy and time in the heated traffic.  I have been approached by these lying threewheeled-motorized-health hazard drivers twice in the Wat Phra Kaew and Wat Pho areas.

SHOPPING

Shopping in Bangkok will teach you the new meaning of bargaining – I promise you if you persist, you will win!!!

When it comes to shopping and you are in Bangkok over a weekend, nothing beats the weekend market. The markets and stalls cover everything – all types of artifacts available to buy in Bangkok – in one huge area! It’s called the Chatuchak weekend market. The cheapest and quickest means of travel to reach the market is by taking the skytrain from Surasak Station (around the corner from the hotel), changing at the Siam Center station for the correct line to reach Mo Chit Station (next to the weekend market). The market space is huge. Make sure you receive your free map of the grounds at the entrance – with that you would have some direction as to what can be found where. Rest well beforehand…! Not to miss – especially if you don’t have time to travel around to different shopping areas; Chatuchak will save you time and money.

On the way back, if you were not impressed, get off at the Siam Center station.  At the station itself you will find loads of shopping centers, of which the favourites are: Maboonkrong (MBK) shopping center, Siam Centre & Siam Square.  Siam Square is outside markets containing mostly designer clothes and goodies for the young hip generation.

During the evening, just walking distance down the road from the hotel is the Patpong night bazaar – Home of funny sex shows (the tricks those women can perform with balls has got everybody talking…(so I have heard of course) with a feel of Camden Town in summer time.  I will never forget the evening when I bumped into “BEEM”.  “BEEM’ is a little elephant and if your lucky you‘ll find him in this area.  Of course I kind of felt sorry for him as it was obvious that he was his owner’s sole income and the little animal seemed so tired but the effect that the spirit and character of “BEEM’ had on me was indescribable.  I felt so happy to feed and hug him.  His thank you response included sounds and trunk movements.  If you are looking for the the same type of night bazaar but more organized, civilized and less crowded, make your way to Suanlum Night Bazaar, not for away.  If you are looking to buy wholesale goods then Pratunam, Sampeng and Bayok is the names of areas to remember.

OUT OF TOWN:

Tigers and Monks:

The tigers and monks in the mountains is about 2 hours drive from the city.  The monks has raised these tigers and survive solemnly on donations.  But wouldn’t it be great to have a picture with a huge tiger on your lap?  The whole trip will be approximately 5 hours and including the taxi should not cost you more than 1000 baht. The Tiger Temple: Wat Pa Luangta Bua Yanasampanno is located in the Saiyok District in Kanchanaburi Province. The monk:  Abbot: Pra Ancharn Phoosit (Chan) Khantitharo is probably in everybody’s pics as we all that has been there have the same style tourist image with the tiger on their lap, sleeping.  Some say that they are a bit drugged but I wish to not even consider this thought.

Floating Market:

The Floating marketThaling Chan – where clothing and food merchants gather on the canal.  This place is an extraordinary spot for colourful photography.  You will need to go early in the morning though, as they close by 10:00 mornings and is only open during weekends.  You can even hire your own little boat and whilst on the river shop from the passing other boats.  Interesting that most of the locals has never visited their own floating market, nor the tigers and monks in the mountains, nor the Patpong night market.  The fact that it’s more than an hour away from the city could also be good enough reason to move this destination down your list of priorities.

THE BEACHES

And just like that, suddenly, when I speak to peeps about Thailand, everybody (it seems) has been to the Thailand Islands before and it’s probably one of the few places that everybody returns to.

Especially with the economical crisis, (and it was noted by the regulars) the island feel the influx of not only the regular holidaymakers but also the tourists that cannot afford the Europe / Ibiza etc. holidays anymore.  I must say there were a lot of Russians everywhere.

And who can blame them.

Just like ‘Burj’ in Dubai means: ‘building’ as you realize that most of the main buildings start with the word ‘Burj’;  so does ‘Koh’ in Thailand mean: ‘island’ as most of the island names start with ‘Koh’.

Just to give you an idea/understanding of the Islands:

To the east (or right on the map) of the mainland , you will find Koh Samui and from there you can go (or must go) to the most spoken island: the full moon island:  Kopanang.  From there you need to see the most beautiful Ko Tao.

Kopanang: I’ve been to loads of parties but this one is a must be! There is fireworks (see videoclip at the top of this blog), buckets of drinks to buy,     people from all walks of life and even more shoes left over the next morning on the beach than there is available in the shops!

To the other side of the mainland lies Krabi and Phuket  (one hour drive from each other).  Then from here a ferry to the Pi Pi islands (The Beach movie and target of Tsunami) which in turn will lead from here to even more seductive and idyllic islands experiences and explorations.

Since I love sunsets (and my drink with sunset), this side of the island is of course my favourite, as at Koh Samui side I could never see a sunset or I just stayed on the wrong side of the island (something to remember if you like your sunsets as much as I do. Unless you go to a smaller island. I was mesmerized by some crazy Krabi sunsets.  Just a shame I get so tired to carry the big cam with me that at the end of the day when I wanted to relax I only had the Iphone with me.  Yes Instagram makes everything beautiful but what a shame: the quality on the screen looks great but as soon you upload iphone pics you see how bad the quality really is.

Internal flights to the Islands are covered by Bangkok Airways, whilst my Thai Airways flight back to Johannesburg felt like an SAA flight:  full of South Africans.

When it came to Thailand and the way I travel: I like to be free. No restrictions of what to do when.  I wake up in the morning in a new spot and then decided what I feel like doing and where.  This of course has it disadvantages, as it leads to me not booking any tickets in advance.

But it can be done.

All the times where I went to the airport early in the morning, I managed to find some seat available on some internal flight for the next island.

My flight from Koh Samui to Krabi cost me approximately (3000 baht) and accommodation there with air-conditioning could be 1000 baht per night.

What I loved to discover was the Tom Yum soup with lemon grass and the watermelon juice (added vodka of course).  What I really started bothering me after a month was amazing cheese and constant annoying mosquito bites and everlasting itching.

A while ago when I wrote about the dolphin killings in Japan with my Japan article, someone told me to keep my travel writing light but now I’ve decided to just plain express myself: if you don’t like it write me a comment on the blog or don’t read further.

I want to say that I get a really wrong feeling when I see the old guys with little mostly young scared looking Thai women on the airplanes or in Thailand.  I’ve decided to mention it – it’s there and it’s part of Thailand.

I’ve also decided to mention it as other travellers feel the same and even guys mentioned their disgust towards this as well.

And another thing: guys please – stop wearing speedo’s on the beaches or anywhere in the world!  It should be banned:  we (us women or anybody with taste) don’t want to see your knob!  Feel free to show me the woman that is happy with this.

 ….. to be continued xoxo

 

 

The wish:  Everywhere on the beaches you buy lanterns to be lighted and set free in the sky:  this is when you make your wish……


 

 

Want to have a foot scrub?

Yanhee Hospital - probably my second favourite place in Bangkok – here you can walk in as a man and walk out as a woman

But I love to do my microdermabration facial here – so good and well priced.

Always fully booked – and the first time I see nurses on rollerblades.

 

 

 

Tigers sleeping with no chains

some of my beautiful sunsets in Krabi:

3 comments to T h a i l a n d – I will return!!!!

  • Hi,
    Nice to see you back.
    I would have to come back here whenever i am planning to go to thai. I hope you had captured the wedding in style as well

  • Laurentia

    Wow – truly amazing photographs – what a talent. Love the colours

  • Celeste Muller

    Ah, Celeste.

    Ur work is incredible. U have a the most incredible eye, and intuition when it comes to capturing a scene. awesome!
    I look forward to meeting you eventually… :)

    Love and light as capturing it continues

    PS.. if ever u need as assistant ;) ill hold your reflector or carry ur tripod ;)

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