Bangkok, the amazing and vibrant capital of Thailand is one of my favorite cities on our little planet. Beyond the amazing culture, food, kindness of the people, and much more, the blend of ancient architecture and traditions with the modern city is a paradise for travel lovers and photographers
I produced already a post a while ago about Bangkok travel photography spots for a weekend but I could not resist completing it with more locations, and more recent images (December 2021) on some of the spots already flagged
With many identities, from a holy city to the city of Sin 😅, it is, of course, difficult to pick the “best” spots but here is my selection (in no specific order) with a photography bias
Marble Temple (Wat Benchama Bophit)
The Wat Benchama Bophit (Wat Benchamabophit Dusitwanaram) was built only at the end of the 18th century and is therefore the most recent of the major temples in Bangkok. While smaller than others it is a must-see place if you like travel photography as it is quite unique with its white marble walls
It is particularly famous for the reflections of the beautiful temple on the marble floor. The ideal is to get there after a rain shower but even with a dry floor, this is pretty cool if you really bend very low in front of Buddha 😂…
You can find here beautiful photography perspectives in the courtyard of the temple with the 52 buddha statues (all different) that surround the marble courtyard
That spot is great at sunrise and sunset. Sunrise is best if you can get it before opening somehow but sunset offers as well nice photo opportunities from outside
A classic must-see of any visit in Bangkok is Wat Arun, the Temple of the Dawn that sits on the western banks of the Chao Phraya River (just opposite to Wat Pho) in the old capital of Thonburi.
That majestic white temple with five towering prangs (towers) is covered with vibrant porcelain and colorful ceramic tiles, many of which look like pieces of foliage. And the Great Pagoda is really an impressive construction
It is beautiful early morning and late evening without the tourist buses and with great light
After being for a long time under scaffolding (I tried 5 times to get a proper sunset shooting there), it is now all finished to unlock again one of the most iconic images of Bangkok, the Wat Arun sunset for the opposite side of the Chao Praya riverbank.
Obviously, wait for the twilight, when the magic happens with the boat and temple lights …
While the victim of its magnificence (crowded with tourists -but unfortunately much fewer during the covid time-), the Grand Palace is absolutely a must-see place in Bangkok
The royal chapel Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha) is probably one of the most iconic monuments in Thailand (out of many) for good reasons.
The Emerald Buddha itself is “just” a tiny buddha (not an impressive shooting spot) but it is known as ‘the palladium of Thai society”. The Emerald Buddha is supposed to watch over the Thai nation as it is believed to bring legitimacy and prosperity to all those who possess it.
If you like travel photography, the Wat Phra Kaew will provide you with endless opportunities …
The Golden Kinnari statues all around are really stunning
And the amazing demon guardians statues everywhere are so beautiful!
Don’t forget to say hello to the beautiful golden Garuda sculptures around the chapel
Keep looking for perspectives on the amazing temples!
If you are a photographer or simply what to avoid the crowds, I strongly advise you to arrive before the opening and start around Wat Phra Kaew before the crowds of tourists arrive.
Take your time to explore all the wonders of the complex (minimum 2 or 3 hours), including some of the beautiful murals of Ramayana paintings around the Palace.
Asiatique riverfront night Market
Need a break from temples? Spend some time for something different at the “Asiatique: The Riverfront”) on the banks of the Chao Phraya River with a mix of stalls, restaurants, and entertainment.
To be honest, I ended there following a communication mistake with a taxi driver (on where I wanted to go for sunset shooting 😢), but this is still a nice spot for night photography
With more than a thousand stalls and around 50 food and drink bars and restaurants (including all the boring global chains), Asiatique is still a very popular and nice place for an evening, but not the most authentic of Bangkok obviously.
This is another must-see temple complex of eight hectares on the bank of the Chao Phraya River just south of the Grand Palace.
The Wat Phra Chetuphon temple (or Wat Pho) is surrounding an amazing 46-meters (151 foot) long gold reclined buddha to whom it owes its official name, Wat Phra Chettuphon Wimon Mangkhalaram Ratchaworamahawihan.
This statue depicts Buddha on his deathbed, about to access parinirvana.
Watch for the small statues at the foot of the reclined Buddha. Those are offering photographers like me that like shooting buddhas covered with gold leaf providing beautiful pictures opportunities …
Wat Pho is also a renowned place to teach traditional Thai massage. Since 1962, it has hosted a renowned school of massage and traditional medicine and it is not rare to see monks at work (if you get out of mass tourist visits times)
That massive complex offers amazing perspectives…
Like for the Grand Palace, take the time to explore the (huge) temple complex. Try to find the stunning lines of gold, seated Buddhas, with beautiful wall and ceiling paintings.
As a photographer, the blend of gold and black Buddha statues with orange and saffron yellow robes are worth the visit on their own.
So, keep exploring the complex for more wonders…
While getting very touristic and honestly less traditional, floating markets remain however great places to visit like the famous Damnoen Saduak floating market below (from the previous post, I did not go back that time as it is one hour away from downtown).
If you’re a photographer, this will offer endless travel photography and portrait opportunities.
Wat Ratchanatdaram Worawihan (Loh Presat)
The Wat Ratchanatdaram is a Royal temple best known for the Loha Prasat (“Metal Castle”), a very unique structure in Bangkok. It has 37 black metal spires symbolizing the 37 virtues that are required to reach enlightenment and is a cool place for photography
Some of the architectural details are really beautiful
A good time to visit is, as always, during golden hours when you might look for reflections of the golden spires on the floor
Wat Saket golden mountain (Phy Khao Thong)
Wat Saket is a Golden Buddhist temple, built on an artificial hill of 75 m (hence his nickname of Golden Mountain Temple). It is a popular place for sunset/overview on the city but I like the view from.the Wat Ratchanatdaram
Explore the river Khlongs
As flagged in a previous post about Bangkok, I advise you to rent a private long-tail boat and get for a few hours in the authentic canals (Khlongs)
You’ll discover people real life and beautiful travel photography opportunities like the many tiny floating boat shops all around
Chinatown lies on the elongated Yaowarat Road in Bangkok and is known for its many shops and Chinese medicine sellers. This is really a cool spot for travel lovers and photographers
Obviously, the covid masks make street shooting a bit less appealing but this is still a great place to explore with its many narrow busy side streets with food stalls, restaurants, and market stalls.
One of the iconic Bangkok landmarks for world travelers is Yaowarat road at twilight with its amazing neon lights
The atmosphere and the “organized chaos” of that wonderful place makes it a great place for photography as well
One of my favorite spots is the China Town Gate that is beautiful from above with the car light trails. As I could not negotiate the access with the car park guard, a big thanks to Camilla from the Over the influence beautiful modern art gallery that allows me to access her rooftop to get that shoot
There are many amazing rooftop views opportunities in Bangkok if you know people that can give you access to some buildings.
The easiest (and safest) are obviously the many bars and restaurants with amazing views like the one below. For photographers, a tripod is not often allowed in most bars, unfortunately, so I advise you to bring a rice bag from the market to stabilize your camera. The hotel you stay in might be an easier one to negotiate with to get access during sunset or sunrise (like the Intercontinental roof below on that trip)
Anyway, the different viewpoints from different rooftops with a drink can provide you with an endless collection of magic panoramas …. see you soon again Bangkok …