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Galleries 3 & 4: Bangkok & Koh Phayam, Thailand (2017)

Wading in the Andaman Sea

We were lucky enough to visit Bangkok on three separate occasions this year, but in more or less quick succession. First a week in April before going down to the island of Koh Phayam in the south, then coming back up from the south and also for a week in June to visit the World of Coffee and Tea Expo (en route from Tokyo to Kochi, India where we are now). We absolutely loved the variety of food, especially street-food for which Bangkok is known, and really enjoyed the friendliness too. Every encounter with anyone Thai was so positive, with no animosity to tourists who are over-running their fair city (Bangkok is the most visited city on Earth). Other world cities are not quite as welcoming for tourists....cough......[Paris].....cough. Although we didn't get to that many top-10 things like temples, we explored a huge amount by foot and investigated many, many markets, including apparently the world's largest weekend market. We especially liked Chinatown which is a little silly as we were in Bangkok, but for the reason that there was a great concentration of tea shops there. Everywhere else you can of course find delicious Thai teas filled with caffeine, condensed milk and a mountain of sugar. Elizabeth who does not normally have a sweet-tooth had to be restrained by her husband on numerous occasions so as to not to die of a caffeine overdose, everyday. The food though, as already mentioned, was the absolute star and we would recommend anyone who loves (spicy) food to visit Bangkok.

Koh Phayam was our getaway, us having not been on any sort of beach holiday ever, that is, without some plan to explore a city or visit family or learn Spanish or do something productive. With the cost of Koh Phayam and Thailand being so low in pound sterling, our £14/$20 per day en-suite beach-hut 10 metres from the water was a not-too-damaging hit to our budget! One reason for the low cost, much lower than nearby places, is that this island is not as touristy as the larger well-known destinations like Phuket (that's pronounced.....less funnily than it should be). I once visited Phuket as a teenager, and can attest it is great fun but super-touristy (the hotel I stayed at was destroyed by the tsunami a couple of years later so I don't know how it has developed since then). In Koh Phayam, we had a great time not doing anything. A strange feeling given we had always previously felt the cost of a holiday needed to be recouped in experiences. With friends and family telling us about trips to Barcelona, Croatia or Puerto Rico, we finally did it ourselves and lazed about reading books, swimming and playing games. We would recommend this island for that purpose, as there's not a whole lot to do but relax. A very pleasant escape from the world for a short time.



P.S. For any photography enthusiasts or professionals reading: I use a Panasonic G5 (micro four-thirds), and mostly used a 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 kit lens from 2013-2017 (full frame equivalent 28-84mm). In 2017, I replaced it with the much faster 20mm f1.7 II prime allowing the capture of much more light, as well as an increase in saturation, a reduction in size and a significant boost in sharpness. This is the full-frame equivalent to a 40mm f1.7 so is a 'normal' lens in the traditional sense. I also use a telescopic 45-200mm f4-5.6, it has great reach given the full-frame equivalent of 90-400mm, but at f4 is not the fastest lens. If you would like to discuss cameras or photography I would be very happy to hear from you, just use the email in the footer.

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