Happy (Chinese) New Year.

There is no shortage of reasons to party in Thailand, with 3 New Years to celebrate ! This week is of course the Chinese New Year, and all roads lead to Chinatown ….


It’s the Year of the Dog now, and there were a few dogs dressed to party yesterday !

But for those of Chinese descent it is also time for attending the temple, and the temples of Chinatown were of course busy. One of the most atmospheric temples in Bangkok, IMHO, is Wat Mangkon Kamalawat in the middle of Chinatown but not seen by many tourists. During Chinese New Year Wat Mangkon Kamalawat is packed with worshippers lighting candles and incense, and many chanting monks.

Wat Traimit is more famous because of the “Golden Buddha” :
Incidentally, there is usually a hefty admission fee for tourists to see the Golden Buddha, but if you are a ‘Cheap Charlie” it’s free on Chinese New Years Day. The catch is you can only go in after HRH Princess Sirindhorn has been and paid her respects during the afternoon. She is heavily involved every year, and in the evening the main road is cleared so she can visit one of the many gold shops and buy a trinket or two, accompanied by about 50 aides and a couple of hundred police. 🙂

Some more photos, click to see a larger version :

The “Bangkok Photographers” Facebook group is having it’s monthly photowalk in Chinatown this weekend, so I’ll be heading back there tomorrow. Hope my feet are not so sore by the morning !



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A Bangkok photo walk : Khlong San

I’m a bit late with this photo walk from last month, partly due to the organisers being a bit late publishing the online magazine, and partly due to life getting in the way of things (aka lack of motivation 🙂 ).

January’s walk was around the Khlong San area of Bangkok, starting at the Din Daeng ferry pier opposite Chinatown and heading through an old but increasingly gentrified part of town where multi million dollar (yes, dollar) condos tower over old wooden houses in narrow alleyways.

One of the most striking examples of this to me was at the Lhong 1919 complex, where a small dock and associated warehouses which one housed a small Chinese-Thai community of families has been turned into a tarted up tourist complex of restaurants, boutiques and galleries. I could n’t help noticing that the vast majority of signs were in English or Chinese, obviously they are aiming at the tourist market or local hi-so’s with money to spend. I guess this sort of thing is inevitable, and you cannot blame landowners for chasing the money trail by building luxury riverside condos and tourist traps attractions, but Bangkok is turning into yet another sterile Eurasian city.

The admin of the Bangkok Photographers Facebook group are a bit fanatical about capturing memories of “old Bangkok” so many of the monthly walks go through these changing neighbourhoods, places which tourists and most local expats would not normally see.

One place that tourists venturing along the river would see is the pagoda at the Chee Chin Khor Moral Uplifting Society :

Part of a large Chinese temple complex it is very visible from the river but with no easy access apart from a zigzagging walk through the alleyways it does n’t get many white faces actually visiting.

Well worth the effort getting there though, and also worth the effort to climb up to the top floor of the pagoda ! Some more of my photos :

Or for more of the groups’ photos from the walk check out the online magazine :

(click on the centre square to see the full size version !)


Or if you happen to be in Bangkok Feb 18th the next walk is through “The real Chinatown” ….sounds interesting ! Details through the “Bangkok Photographers” Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/events/392520277861977.

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Cosplayers @ JapanExpo 2018

Well I’m still waiting for the organisers of the photowalk to publish online, so we are asked not to publish on our own blogs or social media either. But I have finished culling the well over 200 photos from last weekend’s cosplay event !

The CentralWorld shopping centre in Bangkok holds a “JapanExpo” every year, with Japanese food stalls, travel agents, retailers and LOTS of cosplayers.

I cannot see the attraction in dressing up as a cartoon or anime character, but it makes for some good photo ops !

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You little devil !


It’s been a quiet 3 weeks or so while we went to my girlfriend’s home in Ubon Ratchathani, with nothing much to report on that trip. Unless you count the fact that it was cool enough to wear a t-shirt to bed AND use a blanket, for the first time in a long time, as being newsworthy that is ? Even on the coldest night in Bangkok I have never had to use a blanket since I moved here. But at a “chilly” 15 degrees (C!) it did feel cold for a couple of nights.

In the week or so since we returned I have been on an interesting photowalk with the Bangkok Photographers Facebook group, but pics are embargoed until the organisers publish the online magazine which was supposed to be today but they seem to be running late. This weekend there was a “Japan Expo” at one of the shopping malls downtown, I knew there would be plenty of cosplayers there so I went down to take a few pics ……well, actually 248 images….. When you have extroverts like these cosplayers there is no shortage of photo ops!

So while I wait for the photowalk magazine to go online, and while I process the cosplay photos here are a couple of teasers ….japanexpo2018-10

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but wait, there’s more ….of Ko Lipe

Some more from our trip to  Ko Lipe

As usual we flew down with Nok Air on a combo flight/van/ferry ticket, which is cheaper and more convenient than booking each leg separately, but instead of the former ferry from Hat Yao via Trang the airline now flys to Hat Yai and then its a speedboat from Pak Bara, which is a longer route for about the same cost as last year ….Thai business logic at work. As I have mentioned before, I am wary about taking speedboats here as all too often they end in tragedy ( Google “speedboat accidents Thailand” !) but this was a brand new boat driven by an older crew wearing the ferry company’s uniform, not young “cowboys”. As a bonus there were only 7 of us on board a boat built for 75 ! And nice smooth seas too, even my GF did not feel queasy.kolipe_dec2017-50 Also as usual we stayed at the “Green View Beach Resort”, nothing fancy but fairly cheap (for a tropical island !), clean bamboo bungalows.

All I look for in an island holiday is that sort of accommodation, sandy beaches, clean waters with a coral reef where I can use my mask, fins and camera. I don’t need fancy hotels, resorts or restaurants …..

On that note, I was slightly happy to see that the “Art Beach Club”, an Ibiza style monstrosity on Pattaya Beach was dying a slow death. It was now closed during the day, and every evening we walked past there was never more than one table occupied by customers even though it was into high season….a couple more occupied with staff playing on their phones. I don’t know why anyone would think to open a place like that on Lipe which mainly attracts older, non-partying westerners and Allah-fearing non-partying, non-drinking Malay Muslims via nearby Langkawi.

The first couple of days we had a bit of rain, cloudy days, and equally murky water, but then both the skies and the seas cleared up to give us a week of glorious weather and great snorkelling. The GF, like many Thais, does not ‘do” sun or sea ( I sometimes think Thailand is wasted on the Thais !) but as long as she could relax in the shade during the day, drink cocktails and eat seafood on the beach in the evening she was content …I think. Meanwhile I made the most of it with several hours of snorkelling every day 🙂

All pictures taken with a Canon G7X in a Fantasea housing, shutter priority at 1/250sec. Click to see a larger version.

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F.F.S. !!! …OMG !!!…WTF !!!

maccasJust read this on Thaivisa.com ….McDonalds has opened a store on Phi Phi Island !

Why on earth do you need a Macca’s on a tropical island ? Phi Phi has been spoilt for many years, but this will mean even more rubbish ending up in the sea.



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