Bangkok with its eight million inhabitants is the sprawling capital of Thailand. A multifaceted metropole with modern districts and high rise buildings, but also traditional Asian houses with twisted streets and channels. There are many Buddhist temples to discover and amazing street food around every second corner. Bangkok is a loud and noisy city for sure, but inhabitants and visitors alike can rest in the city parks and enjoy large lizards casually crossing the walkways. A city of many wonders for sure.
The Buddhist Temples in Thailand are actually called “Wat” stemming from a Hindu word for enclosure. They are like sacral fortifications with monks living and praying in it. Many of them can be visited when showing respect and covering shoulders and legs. Sometimes you even get to know some monks and can have a talk with them, they are friendly and actually have a good sense of humour.
Thailand for sure is the most accessible country to travel to in South East Asia. It is very safe, has a pretty good infrastructure with many low cost airlines and you can discover it on a budget easily, without sharing your bed with cockroaches. Also it can be visited best during the winter time on the Northern hemisphere when generally there is a dry season in most of Thailand and the conditions for travelling and enjoying the beaches are very favourable.
At the same time Thailand is also a country with a long history and a lot of culture, being an independent Buddhist kingdom which has never been colonised by the Europeans (sharing this honour with Japan by the way, not the only similarity between these countries). When obeying some strict rules like respecting the king, who can be seen everywhere on pictures, you can pretty much roam freely in Thailand and the people are pretty open minded. Being transgender for example is not a big issue over here, the sight of so called ladyboys is pretty common. Thais are very friendly to tourists and of course some will see an opportunity to sell you something, but you are not a walking dollar bill like in other parts of Asia and Africa. Unfortunately still the level of fluency in English is not very high among Thais, especially the older ones, but it changes and some kind of communication is always in reach, may it be with a little bit of imagination or the help of google translate .
Winter in Norway can be bitter and harsh. Though it is not as cold as you might think. Thanks to the gulf stream which brings relatively warm water and wind from the Americas to Europe even the fjords at the polar circle do not freeze up. Although especially in this year 2020 there is a lot of snow, more than usual for this period of the year making travelling tough because of frequent road closures. On the other hand the snow provides for beautiful impressions fitting the imagination of the far north. In case you miss the light on the pictures; the reason being there is not much of it there in winter making also photography though – but rewarding.
The sun is special during the winter time at the polar circle. First and foremost because it is scarce. Depending on the latitude our home star even disappears for a couple of months and the world remains dark. Slowly the sun raises again every day a little bit more, shy in the beginning it dares going higher with the weeks passing by. In this time of the year the few hours of daylight are encompassed with a very particular light and it provides little warmth in a bitterly cold and hostile (though beautiful) environment.
When flying from Bangkok to Southern Thailand you notice some changes immediately after leaving the airplane. The Thai capital is not exactly known for cool temperatures, but soon you learn the difference between hot and tropical hot. It is not the temperature itself though but the high humidity that makes the largest difference. Some of our electrical equipment actually could not cope with these conditions and I got some droplets of water in the back camera of my iPhone. Not because I went swimming with the device but solely coming from the extreme humidity.
Also there are tropical rain showers awaiting you, these are definitely different than rain in Europe. Of course it depends on the season; there are two basically, the raining season and the dry season. Although coming into the dry season it can occasionally rain as well. Mostly it happens in the evening when the high humidity rises up and discharges in the atmosphere, thus creating heavy (but fairly quick) rain showers and thunderstorms. Under these conditions the nature is very different then in tempered climate zones, but more diverse then you would think. Of course there is the jungle and exotic animals (picture 6), but also beautiful lagoons and even pine trees. Of course the endless blue sea dominates everything in Southern Thailand and the coast is fascinating itself with rough rock formations and bizarre little islands (pictures 1, 2, 5, 7). Also the tide is surprisingly strong, at some places uncovering the sea floor for many hours during the day (picture 3) and showingcasing a rich biotope of many different kinds of crabs and crustacean.