Thailand: Bangkok Sukhumvit Road

My first day in Bangkok had been filled with a few chores – visiting the Myanmar embassy (see previous post), and buying a few things for my travels. MBK Plaza is always my first stop for shopping in Bangkok, as it provides plenty of cheap clothes and electronics, and great food. I also bought a local sim card and a power bank for my smartphone, and had the cracked screen replaced. Haggling hard for the phone screen made a really good price.

I decided to explore Sukumvit, an area of Bangkok I haven’t spent much time in on previous visits. The Skytrain (BTS) follows Sukhumvit Road which provides easy access and high vantage points to take photos. Sukhumvit Road and its various sois are lively with traffic, food stalls, and a mixture of tourists and locals. I stopped at one street corner where a Buddha effigy was attracting a lot of attention. Many people were giving offerings, praying, or taking photos. As I walked Sukhumvit looking for more photo opportunities, I noticed how many people give a small prayer or ‘wei’ to the shrines scattered throughout Bangkok.

Nana Plaza, one of Bangkok’s famous “entertainment areas” is also situated in Sukhumvit and I walked Soi 4 to have look around. Even though it was daytime, the pubs were packed. With the exception of a rather cool Volkswagen Combi-van bar, I didn’t take any photos for fear of being challenged by one (or more) of the many people who surely would prefer not to be recorded on camera. A couple of discarded whisky boxes nearby hinted at the level of partying that occurs around Nana.

As with many major cities, a certain amount of poverty exists in Bangkok, and beggars and homeless people survive among the hustle and bustle. I tend not to agree with taking photographs of people who are interesting only because of their disadvantaged situation. However, as has happened on previous occasions, I took the shot. I don’t think I’m even going to try to explain why.

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As with my visit to Jakarta a couple of years back, I decided I would process all photos into black and white with blue filter in Adobe Lightroom, and make no other adjustments other than a crop if required. The main reason for this is to get photographs that work well together, and also to spend less time on the computer. It’s a bit tough when you take a photo that really lends itself well to colour, but that was the way I decided to work. I used my 24 – 70 mm zoom as it offered wider angles than my 50 mm and 85 mm primes, which I thought may work better with the street scenes I’d be capturing.


  1. Garruf

    What a great set of pics. I noted the credit card ads on a wall adjacent to the man sleeping rough. It reminded me of a line quoted in Jeff Halper’s latest book “planet of slums” where the huge disparity between the Global North and the rest of the world is accepted as simply the result of capitalism not being fully implemented I.e. all will be well when the Market is unshackled. We are off to Sydney tomorrow to front court as we pursue a better accident compensation from NRMA. Cheers, Garruf

  2. Maxine Caron

    Hi Pete, Loved the pickies! You’ve got a real eye for the unusual in the usual. My favorites were: the man with his hands in prayer position over his head ; the sleeping man with flip flops; the street scene of scooter riders (with a space of a covered- up manhole – that surely can’t be the right word?); the whiskey bottle/box on the floor.
    Looking forward to the next lot of photos. Hope you manage to keep the bugs at bay and stay in good health!
    Lots of love. Safe journey.

  3. Paul Taylor

    I am with Maxine. Liked them all but favoured the back of the praying man’s head. From the rear again, Peter. It works.

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