Thailand, officially the Kingdom of Thailand is a country in Southeast Asia with coasts on the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand. With a tropical climate, fascinating culture, unmatched markets and shopping centers, great food, breath-taking beaches in the south and hill-tribes hidden north in the mountains, Thailand is a magnet for travelers from all over the world, all year round.
Thailand is unique in that it’s the most Buddhist nation on Earth, with around 95% of the population identifying as practicing Theravada Buddhists. Temples play an important role in everyday life for Thai people. People go to the temple for merit making, pray to the Buddha for good health, good fortune and wealth, but also to seek advice from monks. Apart of being of great spiritual and social meaning, Thai temples are counted among the most beautiful structures to be found. There are an estimated 40 000 Buddhist temples in Thailand, and many of them are open to tourists.
Thai cuisine is one of the most popular cuisines in the world. One of the things that first-time travelers walking around Bangkok quickly notice the abundance of various ready-to-eat meals, drinks and large variety of fruits, sold by hawkers or vendors at food stalls. In the evenings, moving street stalls, often only a scooter with a side car, drive by and temporarily set up shop outside bars.
Thailand is home to hundreds of islands, many of which are off the beaten path or on the contrary overrun by tourist complexes. The choices vary from party islands, secluded islands, those with beautiful beaches and the ones that combine all. Coconuts and bananas growing everywhere can be found on almost every island.
If visiting Thailand, it is unlikely you will go through your trip without receiving at least one massage as it is seen as a part of national patrimony and natural nurturing of good health. Bangkok is famous pulling passers-by for massage treatments, on the street themselves. Many come to Thailand wishing to learn some of the techniques themselves and learning Thai massage is a very popular thing to do in Thailand. The Northern city of Chiang Mai is a center for massage schools. It is also famous for numerous number of vegetarian restaurants since there are over 200 Buddhist temples Wats in Chiang Mai.
My trip to Thailand began in 2012, till now I have visited the country four times more. Apart from making a large collection of photographs from different parts of the country but also, witnessing the differences occurring there along time, capturing a shift of passages every time, I wanted to be more open for some new learning experiences that Thailand was offering. I completed Thai massage school, went through a Buddhist meditation course Vipassana, and learned Reiki (the first two levels). I also had the privilege to work with runners from all around the world, making unique photographs of hill-tribe villages, allowing us to sleep every night in a different village deep in the jungle and mountains of north Thailand.
In 2012, I decided to move on with my travels. From Chiang Mai, I was traveling up north towards the crossing border with Laos. Using local transportation (buses and songthaew) I was lucky to experience the most beautiful landscapes along the way. I was making one-night stop in small villages, exploring and wandering around with my camera.
For my final destination in Thailand, I stopped in Chiang Rai, visiting the White temple. Next day, I arrived in a small town called Chiang Khong – the Thai side of the border with Laos, separated from Huay Xai on the other side by just a narrow stretch of the Mekong River… My plan was to take a boat and travel for two days on the Mekong River, ending in Luang Prabang.
Using local transportation (buses and songthaew) I was lucky to experience the most beautiful landscapes along the way, making one-night stop in small villages, exploring and wandering around with my camera.
For my final destination in Thailand, I stopped in Chiang Rai, visiting the “White temple”. Next day, I arrived in a small town called Chiang Khong – the Thai side of the border with Laos, separated from Huay Xai on the other side by just a narrow stretch of the Mekong River… My plan was to sail on a boat for two days on the Mekong River, ending in Luang Prabang.
February 23, 2016