Sukhumvit Road is a major road, and not only as far as Bangkok is concerned. This road stretches all the way to the Cambodian border and is nearly 500 km long. Photograph of a corner of Sukhumvit and Thonglor Roads.
Railay East beach during high tide. No roads or trains lead here - the only way to get to the Railay peninsula is by boat.
Every day boats go to and from Railay carrying not only passengers, but also any supplies hotels or restaurants need, as well as trash they produce.
A mix of rail and pedestrian overpasses in the center of the Siam district. Photographed from the corner where Erewan Shrine is located. Bangkok.
Woman praying on her way to work in the morning. In this particular temple, the famous Erewan Shrine, Buddha has four faces, each pointed in a different direction. Four faces relate to: career, money, health, romance. Worshipers pray and put flowers and joss sticks in front of each of those faces.
On August 17th 2015 twenty people were killed and 125 injured when a bomb went off near the Erewan Shrine.
Number 108 has a special meaning in Buddhism. There were 108 actions and symbols that led Buddha to perfection. Buddist malas (rosaries) have 108 beads. Many temples have 108 steps. In Japanese Buddist temples end of year is marked by chiming a bell 108 times.
In the Wat Pho temple there are 108 pots. Buddist would put one coin into each pot, each time making a wish.
Skytrain tracks with a Siam district's skyscrapers in a distance. The often recommended Jim Thompson's house is nearby, as well as several enormous shopping malls and the Erewan shrine. Bangkok.
This letterpress printing press might be even 50 years old. It's an "Original Heidelberg" model first introduced over a century ago. Owner of this small printhouse was kind enough to demonstrate how it works. Ban Baat neighbourhood, Bangkok.
Monks use alms bowls to collect food or money from Thai people. Alm bowls are machine manufactured in factories but here, on a small street in Ban Baat area, few families still make them by hand.
Each bowl is made from 8 pieces of steel, which represent Buddist eighfold path (right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration). Bangkok.
Wat Chana Songkhram temple seen from the west end of Khaosan Road. Khaosan is one of the most popular tourist spots in Bangkok. It's full of souvenirs, massage parlours and restaurants.
Youg men, or even boys as young as 8 years old, can become monks for a limited time. Sometimes they do that for the duration of the wet season. Or during school breaks. Sometimes just for a day after their relative passed away.
Flowers are a commong offering in Buddhism. Here are few verses from a Buddhist chant:
I worship the Buddha with these flowers; --- May this virtue be helpful for my emancipation; --- Just as these flowers fade, --- Our body will undergo decay.
Akha Ama Coffee in Chiang Mai. It was funded by families from the Akha tribe to let them sell their coffee beans at a good price. The tribe now produces 35 tons of coffee a year.
One simple vegan snack found in Chaing Mai's night market. Rice flower mixed with coconut milk and sugar, topped with corn or chives.
Spectacular way to prepare fried noodles. There should be some laws prohibiting use of huge huge open flame in a highly crowded area, but apparently there are no such laws in Chinatown in Bangkok.
Scene from the Yaowarat Rd, the main street of Bangkok's Chinatown. We've been lucky enough to visit it right when celebrations of Chinese New Year took off.
In Chinatown, in proximity to Little India, a bulk of daily chores are done outdoors. People cook, work and play right there, on a sidewalk.
For instance, every night a group of men would play a variant of hacky sack. Bag would sometimes fall into the nearby canal, in which case a long pole with a hook on one end would be used to recover it from the water.
Prior to the Chinese New Year folks would also spend time outside preparing decorations for sale. Bangkok.
One of small, old stores or workshops. There are many similar outlets with cosmetics, Buddha figures, meat grinders or farmacies in Bangkok.
Wires, wires everywhere. Some of them carry electricity, some phone, TV or other services. They were all mounted on the pilars above the ground because it was cheaper than to put them underground.
City government started moving some of them underground, but the process is slow and expensive. It would be hard to imagine Bangkok without them. The estimated cost of moving 127 km of wires undeground on 39 major roads in Bangkok was $1.4 billion. The move will also enable telecoms to offer modern broadband services.
Such an abundance of wires isn't specific to Bangkok, or to Thailand for that matter. Similar scenes can be seen in many places in southeast Asia. Photograph from Chiang Mai.
The amount of wires hanging off a single pole is sometimes so large that there is a real risk of that pole collapsing.
It's not uncommon to touch a low hanging wire with your head. There are cases of people dying by electrocution in such situations. Fortunately, most of the high voltage wires are hang higher up, above the somewhat safer, low voltage cables such as phone lines.
A "garbage truck". On the east side of the Buak Hard park in Chiang Mai.
One of the Buddha statues in the Wat Phantao complex in Chiang Mai. Decorations, lanterns didn't seem authentic, but they were picturesque nonetheless.
One of approximately 10 levels of Mae Sa waterfalls, 20 km or so from Chiang Mai. There are no public transport options to get there. Most people who have no wheels rent a songthaew (a pick-up truck modified to be a taxi) with a driver for a few hours.
No road or rail tracks has ever been constructed because the Railay peninsula is cut off from mainland by high, limestone cliffs.
On the other hand some folks climb those cliffs. Including people as young as 3 and as old as 60 or 70 or so years old. We've witnessed an old man, not sure his age but he was probably on his retirement, climbing 30 meters up with no rope or harness.
Somewhere between Railay peninsula and Ko Po Da island. That island is a small paradise, but is also extremely overcrowded during high season.
The most popular and the cheapest way to move around is on long-tail boats. They are constructed from timber and operated by a single person.
Logging of natural forests is illegal in Thailand, hence wood used to construct long-tail boats is usually imported. Imported timber became expensive in recent years, causing the price of the hull alone from around 3000 to as much as 200,000 baht. As a result the number of newly built long-tail boats has fallen dramatically.
Long-tail boats are propelled by the... car engines. Used engines are cheap and easy to maintain or repair. Propeller is attached to a long driveshaft. There's no transmission. Boat is maneuvered by moving the engine and the propeller.
Long-tail boats are agile and have a small draft. That makes that suitable for use on shallow waters or in caves, plenty of which are in this area.
When I saw this man, he looked very relaxed and happy. I pointed at my camera hoping to get a permission to photograph him. He said nothing in response, but raised his thumb. In one of the pubs close to the Railay Beach.
After skipping Lop Buri, the city of monkeys, I thought we won't see even a single primate in Thailand. But there were few in Railay.
Area around the Rop Krung canal. Some of the "houses" in this part of Bangkok are so small and poor they resemble a slum more than an actual apartment.
Rod Fai, one of many night markets in Bangkok. Filled with antiques, cheap clothes, watches and electronics. And old, beautiful and expensive vintange cars.
A spirit house being built next to a brand new hotel one some small, obscure street in Chaing Mai. Spirit houses are built to appease spirits so that they don't cause trouble to the business. In Thailand in particular it's customary to leave offerings (food and drinks) for the spirits. Very often a drink is red, and according to Wikipedia, it's a strawberry flavoured Fanta.
This man was kind enough to pose for me. When we walked back couple of hours later, we was still there, in the same seat, reading the same book.
Restaurant in Chiang Mai. Vegan Thai food is delicious. One of my favourite desserts is banana in sweet coconut milk.
Something seemed off about that monk's appearence. And indeed, under his orange robe he was carrying a baby monkey. The monkey was sick and he was carrying it to the vet.
In the distance: Wat Ratchaburana temple built in 1424. Photograph was taken from the site of Wat Maha That. Ayutthaya.
The most photographed item in Wat Maha That. No one knows for sure how Buddha's head ended up tangled in banyan tree's roots.
Three chedis in the Wat Phra Si Sanphet temple in Ayutthaya. Oldest two were built in 1492 and the third in 1529. All three have been created to enshrine the ashes of former kings.
Those three chedis survived the Burmese invasion of 1767, unlike the rest of the Wat Phra Si Sanphet temple complex.
A couple praying to Buddha in the Wat Yai Chaimongkhon temple in Ayutthaya.
Ayutthaya was founded in 1351 because the previous capital, Lop Buri, suffered from a smallpox outbreak. By the 18th century it might've had a population of one million, meaning it was one of the largest, if not the largest city in the world at that time.
As is the case in other countries in that part of Asia, all kinds of snacks, drinks, fruits and even full meals are being sold in every train.
Train ends with... an open door. Our whole family (2+2) did travel from Bangkok to Ayutthaya (90 km) for 40 baht if I recall correctly, which is a bit more than 1.30 USD.
Also, last several rows of seats are reserved for the monks. That's the case not only in trains, but also in the subway or waiting rooms.
Travelling 3rd class is fun and cheap, but it also means no AC will be available. Ceiling fans and wind blowing through the windows (or lack of thereof) are the only things cooling the train car.
Tuk-tuk's are a fun way to move around. Songthaews, plenty of which are in Chiang Mai, are convenient too (photograph depicts a songthaew driver). Unfortunately when it comes to taxi's, experience can sometimes be less than ideal.
I explained to one of the taxi drivers where we want to go, he nodded and let us in. But he didn't start the meter. When I insisted that he uses the meter, he stopped abruptly and told us to leave. Asked why, he told me that he no longer knew where the destination was.
Another taxi driver pulled over and asked us where we want to go. He then told us the price for the ride will be 400 baht. I pointed at the meter. Without a word he drove away - almost going over my foot.
Crossing the street is an extreme sport on its own. A good way is to stand behind Thai folks who are going to cross as well, and walk as soon as they start walking. Never looking at cars and tuk-tuks racing your way.