05/02/2019 Bangkok, Thailand
I was lucky enough to be able to travel to Thailand to experience a piece of life in Asia and of course that meant the first thing I packed was my camera! Something a bit different from the normal photoshoots and weddings, this trip was a great opportunity to try some different types of photography.
I landed in Bangkok and was immediately hit by the size om the airport- it was huge! Landing in Asia is a bit of a culture shock, its a million miles away from the caramel latte I had sat in Terminal 5 of Heathrow Airport! The heat is the second thing that gets you, hot and humid and its not long before you really appreciate air conditioning!
Bangkok had so much more to offer than I initially thought with a long and interesting history, with so many old temples, statues and monuments from centuries past being merged with the hustle and bustle of modern day life. There was a real mix of buildings that were hundreds of years old next to modern skyscrapers. I used the river boats to navigate the city and it was great to have some calm out on the river to really take in this amazing city- the streets are so busy and hectic with so much going on that often you can get to the end of a road and realise you couldn’t really take anything in!
This vibrant and bustling city provided so many great photograph opportunities. Buildings, landscapes, people, food, traffic, history- all of it was so interesting and viewing it through a lens was a really great experience. I had a couple of travel companions in my wife Amy and our friends Ellie & Dom who live in Singapore, meaning I also had some budding models for some portrait shots as well!
After a few days in Bangkok we moved down to Hua Hin on the coast for a couple of days relaxing by the sea. I had the pleasure of visiting a Thai food market where the locals go to buy all of their ingredients- food is such a big part of the Thai culture and it was great to break away from the commercial and tourist areas and experience a more real and local experience. The colours and smells around the market were a complete attack of the senses, so much was packed into such a confined space. Our guide showed us different types of cuisine, ingredients, snacks, drinks and flavours that were all sourced locally- some of what we tried had some real Thai spice thrown in!
I also got to experience something very special as we visited the Hutsadine Elephant Foundation & Sanctuary where a group of British volunteers help to provide care for 6 rescued Elephants who have been tortured, abused and mistreated by the Thai tourist industry. A very informative trip started with a one hour education lesson on the treatment of the Elephants in Thailand, how the tourist industry uses the elephants and the story of each elephant at the sanctuary. We then prepared some food for our four legged friends before we got to meet them.
What magnificent and beautiful animals! Its very surreal being that close to these amazing creatures- growing up in a western society I, like so many people, had only seen elephants from the safety of 2-3 safety barriers at a zoo but you get a real sense of the power of these animals when you are stood right next to them! All of these elephants were born into captivity, being forced to perform street tricks or work in cities for the tourism trade and therefore there is no possibility of returning them to the wild. We got to go on a walk with Boon Mei, the sanctuary’s only bull elephant who was a gentle giant. You may notice from the photographs that Boon Mei has had his tusks removed- this had only been done only recently by his Mahut (the name given to the elephant trainers who work with the elephants every day. Every elephant has its own Mahut and they trust them implicitly) who had sold the tusks and then left the sanctuary. Just another example of the awful way these beautiful animals are treated.
We then got to wash and feed all of the elephants as the temperature started to rise and got soaked in due course, but it was great to see the work of the Hutsadine Elephant Foundation as they look after and care for these magnificent rescued beasts.
I got some amazing photographs throughout my trip through Thailand and it was nice to take photographs and film that wasn’t under pressure but done for the pure love of doing it. I have far too many to share them all but there is a selection below so I hope you enjoy them!
If you want to know more about the elephant foundation click on the link below. Thanks for reading and I will catch you on the next blog!