So here we are, 7 months in the waiting and now it seems like we were never there.
Thailand? A country full of surprises. A country that revolves around food and a deeply religious society. I always figured the temples and Grand Palace of Bangkok was on the top 20 must see places in the world – I wasn’t wrong. The city bustles but in a semi-orderly fashion. The driving might leave a Iittle to be desired but nobody sounds their horn in anger.
Whilst the national grid, coupled with every telecommunications cable runs through the centre of all towns and cities, a sight that I have to admit I wasn’t expecting, the magnificent temples, the friendliness of the people and the amazing abundance of all kinds of food are quite eye opening. Everywhere you go, flowers of extraordinary colours adorn every nook and cranny.
During our trek through the bamboo jungle in the Province of Chiang Mai, the sound of crickets and cicada could at times be quite deafening. These sounds often seem to spill into the centre of the cities, adding to the atmosphere of the sights, smells and sounds.
Western civilisation has without doubt crept into the hill tribes in the north for better or for worse. While the tribal communities have learnt how to cultivate the land in a responsible manner where before, great areas of forest were cleared to grow opium, there is no doubt they are caught in limbo with modern technology beginning to eat into their rural lives. It wasn’t unusual for instance to see a satellite dish decorating a bamboo constructed house on stilts.
Towards the end of the trip and armed with a marine housing for one of my compacts, I ventured out to Koh Tao in the Gulf of Thailand for a spot of diving. The trip from Koh Samui by speedboat took about 1 hour 20 mins. Bleaching amongst the corals has become fairly widespread due to the upsurge in the average temperature of the water which now stands at 28-29 degrees. Whilst I’m no professional underwater photographer, it’s worth taking a look at the results in the gallery.
If travel photography and video are your thing then a tour of Thailand is definitely for you, but don’t go armed with a 2Gb card, as you’ll use it in the first couple of days. Also be aware, eating in Thailand is a serious pastime. If you’re looking to shed the pounds, forget a trip to Thailand and go to the gym. Thailand engulfs all the senses and like it or not, you will eat well.
Simon Lane, April 2012