Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Traffic spotting in Bangkok

Maybe I’m a bit sad, but I love taking photos of traffic, and Bangkok is certainly a great city for doing that! During my many visits I’ve tried to find new and interesting vantage points to get great traffic shots.

There are some photos in my website http://www.matthewt.co.uk. Navigate to Thailand>Bangkok>River and Street views.

My favourite for day time shots, and probably one of the more famous spots is from the pedestrian bridge that leads out of Gaysorn Plaza across Ratchadamri Road at the crossroads with Rama I. The bridge deposits you just outside Central World Plaza. This road (on my last visit anyway) operates a contra flow system with 6 lanes in one direction and one extra lane available to go in the other direction. Standing on this bridge at peak time gives you some impression of the congestion suffered daily around Bangkok. Facing back the other way you can try and work the skytrain lines into your shot, as it’s at this point where the 2 lines meet at Siam station.

A great location for night time traffic shots I have found is the square shaped pedestrian bridge across Sathorn and Naradhiwas (close to Chong Nonsi skytrain station). This area is commonly referred to as the business district and as such has some well lit skyscrapers and tall office blocks. Mixed in with the red and white blurred lights on the cars gives you some great photo opportunities.

Skytrain stations of course give you a natural vantage point, but it can sometimes be a bit tricky trying to get a clear shot. I once stayed at the Asia Hotel and it has a connection directly into Ratchadamri station, the walkway there gives you a good view back towards Siam Square and the huge crossroads of Rama I and Phaya Thai.

If you are going to visit Chatuchak Market during your stay, there are plenty of busy roads in the vicinity. Phahon Yothin runs directly alongside the market’s eastern edge, this is a main thoroughfare for traffic to north of the city and upcountry. This road receives a massive amount of bus traffic and the northern terminus of the Skytrain’s Sukhumwit line is here, at Mo Chit Station. A bit further up from here you run into the Lat Phrao junction, truly horrific if you’re not a fan, but a traffic photo lover’s dream! It is where Phahon Yothin meets the equally huge Wiphawadi Rangsit Road (which also has an elevated fly over to bypass the junction). Above the flyover is an expressway, a true concrete jungle!

Of course no such list would be complete without mentioning the Baiyoke Tower, Thailand’s tallest building. For some people this may take you a bit too far away from the action but it does give you a sense of the scale of the city and its roads. The viewing deck rotates, once you are pointing in a vaguely north-easterly direction you get a great view down to a tangle of expressways as they meet near to Makkasan train station, keep an eye out for the train lines.

One final entry on this list is a bridge, that is maybe a bit far out of the way for many travellers, but is my favourite in terms of its sheer size and traffic capacity. It is the Rama IX bridge which is part of the Chalerm Maha Nakorn expressway out of Bangkok to the south of the country. On the other side of the river you can see the tall Thai Farmers Bank building. If this is too far to travel, there are many bridges along the Chao Phraya that are within reach of the river express boats.

If you would like any more tips on good photo spots leave a comment on my blog.

South East Asia photos on my website, www.matthewt.co.uk

My blog - http://matthewted.blogspot.com

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