Bangkok Trip 2023

End of June 2023, my wife and I took a sudden trip to Bangkok as we had a public holiday in Indonesia and decided to take advantage of the long weekend.

I planned a 3-day itinerary, visiting the popular tourist spots in Bangkok. This was my second visit to Bangkok. The first was back in 2014 when my friends and I went specifically for a music festival to watch Taking Back Sunday, one of the headliners. However, the festival was cancelled, so we made it into a two-day trip. It was too short to fully experience the city.

This trip served as a way for me to cross off an unfinished bucket list item from years ago.

Fujifilm X-T5 + XF 18-55mm F2.8-4

I brought along all of my cameras to capture every moment and take advantage of their capabilities. The cameras I brought were:

1. Leica Q – for its full frame range, wide focal length, and low light capabilities.

2. Fujifilm X-T5 + XF 18-55 f2.8-4 + XF 35mm f2 – for video and hybrid purposes.

3. Ricoh GRIIIx – primarily used by my wife, she had it with her most of the time.

4. Olympus XA – for film photography, although I haven’t had the chance to develop the film yet.

In reality, I only carried two cameras each day. For example, one day I would only bring the Leica Q and leave the Fujifilm X-T5 at the hotel, but I always kept the Olympus XA with me as it is small and lightweight.

Leica Q
Leica Q

Bangkok hasn’t changed much since my last visit, despite the 9-year gap. We stayed at a beautiful hotel near Thong Lo BTS station called Karaarom Hotel, which matched my wife’s aesthetic preferences.

We arrived very early, as our plane landed at 6 am. We decided to check if our room was available, but unfortunately, it wasn’t. However, the hotel offered to keep our luggage and backpacks for us while we carried on with our itinerary until the room was ready.

Surprisingly, they also offered us breakfast as a complimentary offer for checking in early. We happily accepted as we were quite hungry.

The photo above shows the restaurant where we had our breakfast. In the morning, the sunlight created a beautiful reflection on the restaurant windows, making everything look photogenic. The food was truly delicious. They always offered a choice between American-style or Thai-style breakfast as the main dish, and the buffet menu changed daily. The combination of Thai food with other Asian and European dishes was flawless.

We visited the Museum of Contemporary Art, which is similar to MoMA in New York or Museum MACAN in Jakarta. Here, we had the opportunity to see many contemporary art pieces by talented Thai artists. After the visit, I gained a tremendous amount of respect for the artists in Thailand. The art was truly amazing and it inspired me greatly.

We also visited the famous Grand Palace complex. The day was scorching hot, but I managed to capture some great photos during our time there.

In the evening, we explored the Chinatown area at Yaowarat and briefly walked through the Cowboy Soi ‘Red District’ area. The neon lights in this area created an authentic atmosphere, reminding me of Night City from the game Cyberpunk 2077.

Prior to this visit, I reached out to someone in a Leica Facebook group who had posted a photo of Bangkok. I asked if Bangkok was suitable for street photography, and he assured me that it was. Since my last visit in 2014, I hadn’t really delved into street photography, so my photos back then were quite casual.

I must say, Bangkok is indeed a fantastic city for street photography. It is teeming with tourists, and it’s not unusual to see people with cameras around their necks, capturing photos of stray cats or other interesting scenes. While there are some similarities to Jakarta, But I still think the mix between ‘the old’ and ‘the modern’ is really visible in every side of the town, which makes it truly authentic and photogenic.

Maybe in the future, if I have the chance to visit again, I’ll try exploring another city or covering more areas in Bangkok.

I just need to bring more white shirts as this city was really hot. We tended to stay at the mall just to cool off a bit.

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