For many people, Bangkok is merely a stop-off point, a city in which to spend a few hours before going on to relax body and mind on the white sands of the Thai islands.
For others, Bangkok signifies transgression, chaos or even danger.
Yet all you have to do is set one foot in the city and you will completely change your mind – which is just what happened to me.
I totally fell in love with this metropolis (also known as the City of Angels); so much so that it has entered my “league table” of all-time favourite cities, so much so that I cannot wait to go back and spend more time exploring it.
For me, what is the most natural way of describing Bangkok? Through the five senses. Because visiting the City of Angels is the most incredible sensory experience.
Starting, of course, with sight: your gaze shifts from the street food stalls to the lined faces of the street sellers and passers-by, to the constant traffic jams of multicoloured cars, to the bright colours of the tuk-tuks and of the majestic religious temples.
You pass from the typical confusion of the big city to the inner peace of the people gathered to pray inside the spiritual buildings. And the passage is really quite short: sometimes, all it takes is a step over the threshold. A truly amazing contrast.
The Royal Palace is one of the must-see places in Bangkok: a multitude of temples, a jubilation of colours, an explosion of the senses.
Here, sight (for the brilliant colours) meets touch (for the pleasurable sensation of the cold paving under your bare feet) and smell (for the sweet fragrance of the lotus flowers).
Every corner of this place is a source of inspiration, but this doesn’t justify snapping away with your camera as if there were no tomorrow – and this is something I’ve learned over time. My advice is to breathe in the local atmosphere, immerse yourself in it, feel a part of the place you are in. Inside the temples, my advice is to try closing your eyes and listening to the voice of your soul. It sounds like madness written here, I know, but the East holds a special essence that really enables you to get yourself in focus.
Only once you have achieved a minimal awareness of the place in which you are will it be possible to find the inspiration for taking pictures from the soul. The sort of photos that, once you’re back home, are also good for the heart.
It’s true that Bangkok is rich with interesting photography ideas, yet, as with every city, it does contain the classic “interferences” that could harm the beauty of your photographs. Electricity poles and refuse bags – often lying open on the streets in Bangkok – are just a couple of examples of typical interferences to avoid whilst taking photos.
Chinatown is one of my favourite areas: a maze of little streets that don’t imitate China, but rather are an authentic representation of it. As well as the usual pagodas, little coloured lanterns, fans, small shops and traditional restaurants, Chinatown is also home to the bizarre. There, I saw for the first time ever the “open-air beauticians”; mobile beauticians who work on the streets, under the gaze of the passers-by. I simply had to give in to my desire to steal a few shots, but only after politely asking permission to take some photos. I find that this is a courteous and respectful way to come into contact with the local people. Also because the Thai people agree with a massive smile that fills you with joy.
Bangkok also stimulates the hearing. Not just with the aggressive sounds of the car horns beeping in the streets, but also with the unmistakable and elegant sound of the Thai bells.
The Golden Mountain – or Wat Saket – is my preferred spot for listening to their pleasant ringing. These bells are so widespread in the country because, according to local culture, they protect and evoke the gods, keeping evil forces at bay and good ones close by.
The last of the five senses – in no particular order – is taste. A wander among the cheap street food stalls and the goodness of the local flavours is an absolute must. Thai cuisine is both spicy and truly delicious. An unmissable experience to complete your journey and immerse yourself completely in Thai culture.
And if you really can’t bear spicy food, you can always opt for the sweetness of Pad Thai – one of my favourite dishes.
That’s not to mention the unusual fruit, such as the durian and dragon fruit.
I’ve told you about my Bangkok, a Bangkok that fills you with emotion and stimulates the senses. A city that stimulates hearing, smell, touch, taste and sight. And provides you with unforgettable photographic images.
I relive the feelings every time I look at them.
My name is Manuela and I describe myself as inquisitive, enthusiastic and lively.
I’m not interested in perfection, but in happiness.
When I think about the fact that, outside of these four walls, there is a world to discover, I get so excited. Just the thought that the world is waiting for me sends me into raptures, joyful out of all proportion. And so, since I started travelling, I have never stopped, but I’m always happy to come back home to my homeland in Puglia.
My blog was born of an urgent desire to write, to give voice to the thoughts and emotions that accompany my experiences.
I love photography because it allows me to capture and keep forever moments and emotions.