Bangkok’s Top Places and Things

1) Get involved in a tuck tuck scam

You might want to believe that drivers in BKK are not trying to squeeze money out of you but they just really want to show you the city, but it’s of course not true. The most active ones are around street waiting for youngsters to jump on, especially for a temple tour that you pay at the end or not pay at all if you don’t mind visiting a tailor and tourist shops full of crap from China..The tour is actually nice, if you are able to breathe during rush hour (conveniently at every hour in Bangkok) and to avoid the shop assistants trying to sell you everything from a true silk tie to their passports. The best part for us was to be dumped at the last stop of the tour, where another driver was “miraculously” waiting for us…to get paid. We blissfully ignored him and took a bus instead.

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2) Eat from vendors on the streets

Simple as. Nutrition on the go, a cheap alternative probably not the healthiest option, but especially in Chinatown if you pick one with only locals you might just enjoy it, like a lot, believe me.

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3) Get lost in Talat Noi

Probably my favourite area in all Bangkok. Talat Noi is an unspoilt part of Chinatown, its oldest one, and I was blessed to stay there during the Vegetarian Festival, and its final day was something unbelievable to witness. I need to write a blog post only about it, remind me of that. 🙂 The people there -living quietly in all in garages facing the street, working metals and motors day and night-are kind and reserved, not pushy as in the other parts to get your money. Prepare to get lost, it’s impossible not to, and embrace it.

talat noi

 

>>Bonus: River View Guest House best chilled budget hotel in BKK!! And its terrace is to go ballistic!<<

4) Have some hipster downtime with a brunch in Ari

It’s still Bangkok with its alleys and mess, but it’s also a bit of Brooklyn and a bit of my Berlin. There are many nice cafes and restaurant, perfect for a flat while, a brunch or a more homie dinner.

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5) Take as many boats and ferries as possible

Because…breeze.

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6. Take pictures of all the people taking pictures at the sacred area

The buildings are majestic, see link, but how people are willing to sacrifice their lives and pose like demons to get the perfect shot is highly hilarious to watch and frame.

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7. Visit the parliament, highly underrated

The building and the royal collection….

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8. Find a terrace bar to take pictures of Bangkok in the night-time

It doesn’t have to be the one where the hungover was set (that is anyway a good one, aye), just pick one and enjoy the hustle and bustle of the lights and streets, really inspiring.

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Now time for some games for the last 2 ones:

9. Count how many rats hang out in the street during night

Ratatouille was a sucker compared to the colonies in downtown Bangkok! Maybe – maybe – that’s because of the rubbish left on the streets during night? Just a guess, mine…

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10. Counts how many taxi drivers can constantly honk you while you simply just walk down a street

…. Because it’s warm, you are a tourist and you should not want to walk. Your feet were not made to walk… Come on, giv’em dat money!

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After the top 10, do you think the city is something for you or you better go fishing? You can do that too, at your own risk… Bangkok, you’re quite something. See you next time.

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A photo session in Turin

Turin is the first big Italian city coming from West.

I came from East, from the soulless, business-oriented region of Milan. The good thing to reach from one city to the other is to see the continuous groups of rice fields between them, separating their distant personalities. The trip gets a bit cathartic, like a silent, natural cleansing of your mind.

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Looking outside the window

Turin was the first capital in Italy, the first in many things. Was. Somewhere roaming around you can still feel it, in some other parts it still holds the crown of being the capital of local, even of lost.

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I remember my first time in Turin, maybe 15 years ago. I found it sad and kinda empty. I’ve changed my mind during the years… Turin has had a sort of newborn vitality, all around events, museums and arts. There’s one thing I’ve always loved loads of Turin though: la Mole.

For me, one of the most magical building men could ever create.

Perfection, anthropology and mythology together.

 

Well, I was in Turin for a reason: to learn about an artist. What I learnt from that day was much more, especially from his sons’ eyes and story telling. And while I was listening to them, I started remembering little things. The dynamics of a family, the smell of an Italian house, a wall by no reason left white, but filled with paintings, the little gardens with wild flowers, kids eating gelato, couples looking at the shop windows on a Saturday afternoon. Everything frankly so much more than my lonely life.

That day I also tried to switch camera, and left my beloved Titty to my friend. The pictures along this posts are actually his. Enjoy.

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Lübeck on a rainy winter day

It might not sound all that ideal, a trip to a city when you know the weather will be a scary mix of winter-in-Northern-Germany horror deluxe: Böen winds, possible fog, possible rain, possible snow. A delightful mix for your hair and the impending cold you feel growing inside.

Fizzy hair, don’t care. Cold, too. Train, here I come. Lübeck, see you in a bit.

First impression: Red bricks and houses that reminds me of Amsterdam. And Copenhagen. It’s like Amsterdam is, in fact, set in Cop. Pretty inception, I must say. It gets prettier when you realise that, despite being on German soil, the Old Town is a bit on sweet hills. Details are the interesting part of this trip.

Bar the rain, it was a pleasure to capture the silent streets, tiny alleys, beautiful houses and the small harbour. The pictures I took end up being quite dark and contrasting, catching the light was a bit difficult, but I might say I enjoyed some of the results

I would also get an extra side of rain for the fish I ate there. De-Li-Sh. I recommend you Kartoffelkeller >> www.kartoffel-keller.de/ 🙂

Following, snaps from the city.

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And the view from the harbour:

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I particularly liked the houses and the small, unique alleys spread around the city. Here’s some examples.

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I have other 50 pictures I would like to upload, but I’ll stop here. 🙂

See you soon.

 

25 Hours in Bratislava

One of the perks of living in Europe is the endless possibility to visit unique places within a few hours, all around you.

One of perks of living in Berlin is the fact that you are perfectly in the middle of this amazing continent. That sounds the perfect deal to weekend getaways… I picked Bratislava to be my January’s escape. Why?

Pocket-sized Old Town + nice Opera + a castle + good food + beer. Too good to be true!

The first stop was a night at the Opera. A great excuse to dress up elegant.

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The National Opera

 

A quite nice choice is also enjoy a feast of beer and goulash or halušky, sheep cheese dumplings. You can’t say no to beer and local delicacies! I recommend the beautiful Pilsner-Urquell pub for the evening (conveniently closed to the Opera, and they don’t mind if you’re overdressed for a pub).

 

Beer

 

Even if all the shops are closed on Sunday, the city center is quite lively and rich in tourists. There are, however, some quite street, perfect for taking pictures. A trip to the castle is essential to have a better grasp of the city.

What strikes is to see how small the old town is, and how different it’s from the new part of the city. And even striking feeling comes when you look at the other side of the river, and see coloured block: Communist architecture excels in Bratislava, indeed.

 

Small peak to the Old Town from the Castle

Small peak to the Old Town red roofs from the Castle

 

And the view of the castle from Old Town.

And the view of the castle from Old Town.

Here some postcard-perfect snaps of Old Town. So charming!

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to the main square

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A special thank to the brutal Communist buildings. And the UFO Tower on the bridge. 🙂

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Ecstasy of the Senses in Grand Palace, Bangkok

If everyone visits the Grand Palace at least once, it means it’s good, right?

Spoiler: It is.

But it is also overcrowded as f… People are everywhere. Yet, tourists can’t be not enough beautiful, or interesting, to overshadow those stunning buildings. After the first steps in a courtyard, I thought of how much engaging craftsmanship was used to create all that incredible horror vacui filled with gold. Another impressive thing is how asymmetry plays a big role in perceiving the space and in a certain way in making pondered the eclectic styles. The different designs and colours, impressively enough, don’t clash with each others.

I wonder how this place, all set around open lawns, gardens and courtyards, looks like when it’s empty. I wish I could visit at the dawn, when nobody’s already there. I bet it’s breath-taking. But, you know, being a tourist for a day you get what you pay for. Good news is that if you play it wisely, you can almost avoid big crowds an get some incredible shots of details. Not enough to cope with hoards of tourists, but enough to get a glimpse of royal Thailand.

So, what’s left from that visit? Tons of photos. Some of those I leave them here for you, enjoy.

  1. Surroundings:

first

nice

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    2. People at the Grand Palace:

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    3. Details:

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first 2

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Brackets: Shutters of Bangkok

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Dog?…

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…Or cat?

It appears that metal gate doors are still a big thing in Bangkok.

Every place, house, shop, restaurant in Chinatown rocked it, usually in different colours. Nothing is better, for one with a huge passion for framing like me, to take pictures of every different shutters. Coincidence, these ones were all in the same street, Tri Mit Road.

Which colour do you prefer?

shop blue

shop mattone

shop green

shop grey

shop tomato

First Impressions of Bangkok

Let’s state the obvious: first impressions matter.

We get influenced easily, especially while travelling. Impressions turn in conceptions about the surroundings, to simplify the travel. We have, after all, a simple mind. But during my first day in Bangkok, I tried to hold the thought and every impression of the city: my cuz was ill, and needed to rest. We based our stay in Chinatown, where we knew we could trust in good food, less tourists and Chinese indifference.

We read incredible stories about how tourists were squeezed to the extreme in Bangkok (latest revealed all true: scammers, screamers, sellers are constantly trying to get money from you) and we just wanted, at least for a day, to rest. So we found our little peace in the little streets of Chinatown, that lies between the main train station and the river. We took a train from the airport, and experienced a third class ride; of course as in other intended moments, we were the only Westerners.

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2 train

People were kind to us, but quite alarmed by my camera (and the big luggage). I was able to snap a quick shot of the toddler in front of me, and it’s actually one of my favourite pictures I have ever taken.

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In the late afternoon I went out for a photo session around the neighbourhood. I loved the vibes, the humid weather, the food stalls, and the general buzz. I ended up in temples, dark alleys, street markets, and then the riverbank, all without a map/phone. It was a nice me-session, where I was able to capture my personal first impressions of Bangkok’s Chinatown. It’s similar to many other Chinatowns I have been, yet different. I particularly loved the jungle trees growing everywhere around the small, cute, decadent houses. I leave you some pictures (that means many, since I couldn’t pick fewer) here: get your own impression, and enjoy.

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11. chinese temple

4. generator

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12. chinese market 1

8. building

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12. chinese market 3

6. river

 

 

Brutally Patong

Patong is pornographic.

It is, believe me. It’s a clash of buildings, wires, market stalls, vendors, screaming trucks, tuk-tuks, drunk people, young tourists and people who want something from you. All.The.Time.

It’s ironic that such a carnival-type-of-place is in the middle of a beautiful green island like Phuket. But it’s a great place for backpackers and people who are not in the mood of relaxing holidays. Also perfect for a night out of the resort.

Want to know more? Here are 10 snaps of the place, enjoy!

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nice

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The Wire – Phuket Version

A bit of digression from the usual travel story-telling this time.

I am preparing the first chapter about Phuket, and while watching back the pictures I took I got hooked up by one of my photo obsession: wires/electricity.

Since I started taking pictures I have been attired by some particular topics:

  • Posters
  • Convey Safety Mirrors
  • Phone Boxes
  • Janis (my dog sister)
  • Electricity (Wires, Power and utility boxes)

As soon as I got to Thailand I noticed how electrical safety has not the usual common European standards. Or any standard at all. Sometimes I was a bit freaked out by the warmth and buzzing sound they were emitting, but I must confess they were great fun to take pictures at.

The following series comes from Patong, enjoy.

wire 1
wire 3

 

wire 2

 

wire 4

 

wire 5

 

wire 6

 

wire 8

 

wire 9

 

Phuket and Patong chapters coming next!

 

P.S. Even in this blog post I managed to create a list. My mind is that list-oriented. 🙂