Sometimes we get so caught up in the most profound negative aspects of Thailand we lose sight of what brought us here in the first place.  I’m guilty of this as much as the next guy, but we all Cycle Thailand   and perhaps lately I’ve been on the down stroke more than I’d care to be.

Canon 5d Mark II, 24-70mm F2.8L USM  @F8  1/500th  24mm ISO 100

Sometimes we get so caught up in the more profound negative aspects of Thailand we lose sight of what brought us here in the first place.  I’m guilty of this as much as the next guy, but we all Cycle Thailand   and perhaps lately I’ve been on the down stroke more than I’d care to be.

Despite all the common complaints about Thailand why are we still here?  I’d feel seriously sad for the individual who comes here primarily to improve their love life, so there must be more.  I’m here for a number of things:

First, I really enjoy Bangkok.  It’s nothing you can put your finger on, but like Seoul, Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Taipei, Bangkok has serious energy.  You feel alive almost every minute you’re outside your apartment.  When I was a patrol cop in San Diego people asked me why I did it.  The answer was easy:  “I live more on one night on patrol, than I’d otherwise live in an entire year as a civilian.”  This couldn’t be more true for living in Bangkok.  I live more on any single day out on the town, than I could live in all but 2-3 major US cities.  And none of them would be as high energy and exciting, while providing all the exotic stimuli of smells, sights, and sounds.  Bangkok Rocks with high energy.

 

First, I really enjoy Bangkok.  It’s nothing you can put your finger on, but like Seoul, Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Taipei, Bangkok has serious energy.  You feel alive almost every minute you’re outside your apartment.  When I was a patrol cop in San Diego people asked me why I did it.  The answer was easy:  “I live more on one night on patrol, than I’d otherwise live in an entire year as a civilian.”  This couldn’t be more true for living in Bangkok.  I live more on any single day out on the town, than I could live in all but 2-3 major US cities.  And none of them would be as high energy and exciting, while providing all the exotic stimuli of smells, sights, and sounds.  Bangkok Rocks with high energy.

Canon 1ds Mark II, 24-70mm F2.8L USM  @F5.6  1/25th  32mm  ISO 100

A good friend lives in Hua Hin in a really nice villa complete with a new house, pool, maid, gardeners, and for less money than it costs me to live in Bangkok.  Occasionally I go down to visit or enjoy one of his fun dinners or parties.  Unless the Jazz Festival is happening at the time, I can’t stand to spend more than a day there.  There just isn’t enough to keep me interested.  I’ve tried on several occasions, but by day 2 I’m climbing the walls.  Hua Hin is Thailand, but it’s far too westernized for my tastes.

 

A good friend lives in Hua Hin in a really nice villa complete with a new house, pool, maid, gardeners, and for less money than it costs me to live in Bangkok.  Occasionally I go down to visit or enjoy one of his fun dinners or parties.  Unless the Jazz Festival is happening at the time, I can’t stand to spend more than a day there.  There just isn’t enough to keep me interested.  I’ve tried on several occasions, but by day 2 I’m climbing the walls.  Hua Hin is Thailand, but it’s far too westernized for my tastes.

Canon 1ds Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS USM  @F8  1/125th  70mm  ISO 100

In contrast I love exploring the Thai countryside.  If Bangkok is like a shot of high energy right in the arm, the Thai countryside is like a controlled pain pump.  You can relax, see the sights, eat good food, see new people/places/things, but if you get bored you can press that button and get a rush of energy only Thailand can provide whether it be investigating a strange towns nightlife or their local attractions.  Once while traveling with Stick up near Korat we went out on the town at night and while we were relatively unimpressed, it was a fun experience.  In Phrae with another friend we discovered a type of nightlife thought extinct for a million years.. so you never know.

 

In contrast I love exploring the Thai countryside.  If Bangkok is like a shot of high energy right in the arm, the Thai countryside is like a controlled pain pump.  You can relax, see the sights, eat good food, see new people/places/things, but if you get bored you can press that button and get a rush of energy only Thailand can provide whether it be investigating a strange towns nightlife or their local attractions.  Once while traveling with Stick up near Korat we went out on the town at night and while we were relatively unimpressed, it was a fun experience.  In Phrae with another friend we discovered a type of nightlife thought extinct for a million years.. so you never know

Canon 1ds Mark II, Sigma 12-24mm F4  @F11  1/30th  13mm  ISO 100

 

There’s little to rival a week in the southern three provinces, except maybe a tour of duty in Iraq of Afghanistan.  What an exciting time I had there!  Thai culture, but with an Islamic twist, a warzone flavor, and so many new stories to uncover.  I’ve never been treated so well, but in so much danger at the same time.  And you only need to drive 1200 kilometers to get there.

 

There’s little to rival a week in the southern three provinces, except maybe a tour of duty in Iraq of Afghanistan.  What an exciting time I had there!  Thai culture, but with an Islamic twist, a warzone flavor, and so many new stories to uncover.  I’ve never been treated so well, but in so much danger at the same time.  And you only need to drive 1200 kilometers to get there.

Canon 1ds Mark II, 70-200mm F2.8L IS USM  @F2.8  1/2500th   195mm  ISO 200

Sometimes I miss the great northwest of Oregon, Washington State, and Canada.  (those Canadians are so damn polite!) When I do, I head north to Mae Sot or even further north to Mae Hong Son and enjoy breathtaking mountain vistas, great international food of all types, and a cool temperature you can only dream about while in Bangkok.

 

Sometimes I miss the great northwest of Oregon, Washington State, and Canada.  (those Canadians are so damn polite!)  When I do, I head north to Mae Sot or even further north to Mae Hong Son and enjoy breathtaking mountain vistas, great international food of all types, and a cool temperature you can only dream about while in Bangkok.

Canon 5d Mark II, 24-70mm F2.8L USM  @F8  1/500th  24mm  ISO 100

Other times I miss the gulf coast with the shrimp boats, clear blue waters, and white sand beaches.  It’s a working man’s coast from crab and shrimp fishermen to oil workers.  On these occasions I head down to Samut Songkran or in the other direction towards Ban Chang.  Have you ever been to Ban Chang?  A well kept secret for sure.

 

Other times I miss the gulf coast with the shrimp boats, clear blue waters, and white sand beaches.  It’s a working man’s coast from crab and shrimp fishermen to oil workers.  On these occasions I head down to Samut Songkran or in the other direction towards Ban Chang.  Have you ever been to Ban Chang?  A well kept secret for sure.

Canon 1ds Mark II, Sigma 12-24mm F4  @F5.6  1/125th  24mm  ISO 100

The Midwest in the USA has an totally uninspiring landscape, yet the thousands of square miles of farmland and the people who work the land have a distinct “down-home” feel you can’t find anywhere else.  Well, unless you head into the Isaan countryside which is the Thai version of the Midwest.  Friendly Thai farmers, rolling fields of rice vs. rolling fields of wheat, tall rows of cane vs. tall rows of corn, and a lifestyle you must experience to understand.

 

The Midwest in the USA has an totally uninspiring landscape, yet the thousands of square miles of farmland and the people who work the land have a distinct “down-home” feel you can’t find anywhere else.  Well, unless you head into the Isaan countryside which is the Thai version of the Midwest.  Friendly Thai farmers, rolling fields of rice vs. rolling fields of wheat, tall rows of cane vs. tall rows of corn, and a lifestyle you must experience to understand.

Canon 5d Mark II, 300mm F2.8L IS USM  @F4  1/8000th   ISO 200

I grew up on the beaches of Southern California, so imagine my delight when discovering Ko Chang, Ko Samet, the off-side of Phuket, Krabi, and the other relatively unspoiled Thai beaches.  I was a NAUI dive master by 18 and dove everything along the west coast from Baja to Catalina to the Channel Islands more times than I can count.  When I get the urge there’s an Aussie dive master who takes me out for a similar experience and an entirely different ecosystem to explore.

 

I grew up on the beaches of Southern California, so imagine my delight when discovering Ko Chang, Ko Samet, the off-side of Phuket, Krabi, and the other relatively unspoiled Thai beaches.  I was a NAUI dive master by 18 and dove everything along the west coast from Baja to Catalina to the Channel Islands more times than I can count.  When I get the urge there’s an Aussie dive master who takes me out for a similar experience and an entirely different ecosystem to explore.

Canon G9  F3.2  1/200th  ISO 200

Most of all though it’s the people who keep me here.  The friends I’ve made both local and expatriate, the clients I’ve served, and even those in need who appreciate the little I can do for them.  Sure, Bangkok and other such populated places are full of the corrupt and annoying, but most Thai people are warm hearted and generous.  It’s too easy to lose sight of this when the bad apples keep trying to get their hands in your pockets.

 

Most of all though it’s the people who keep me here.  The friends I’ve made both local and expatriate, the clients I’ve served, and even those in need who appreciate the little I can do for them.  Sure, Bangkok and other such populated places are full of the corrupt and annoying, but most Thai people are warm hearted and generous.  It’s too easy to lose sight of this when the bad apples keep trying to get their hands in your pockets.

Canon 1ds Mark II, 24-70mm  F2.8L USM  @F8  1/200th  45mm  ISO 200

As much as we complain, and I’m as guilty of it as the next guy, ultimately we’re all here because the good (as we individually rate it) outweighs the bad.  We’re here because we want to be despite all the negatives you could fit in a shoebox.  We’re here, because THIS Is Thailand.

Until Next time..