Reflections: Urban Exploration Thailand

Sunday, October 5, 2014 6:16 PM By Stephen J Christophers

The photograph (above) was taken at a temple under construction in Nong Khai Province, Thailand. Note: The temple complex is situated just shy of the Laos-Thailand border crossing Nong Khai, in close proximity to the friendship bridge that links Laos and Thailand over the Mekong River.

For the large majority of people Thailand is a holiday destination. It has a warm tropical climate and short monsoon season. Tourism is localized in regions that border the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand, with inland mountainous destinations such as Changmai often more appealing to tourism over areas like the central plains and Khorat Plateau. Nevertheless, large areas of Thailand are still worth exploring. With a predominantly Buddhist population, Thailand offers an abundance of temples and religious sites, as well as industrial and agricultural centres with little or no western tourism.

My current project gives me a first-hand look at these areas; A first person account of some of the more interesting places encountered in regional Thailand. By putting aside the glossy travel brochures and venturing into the often lost and forgotten regions, one is able to build a better picture of Thailand and its socio-political and economic landscape.

When I returned to Thailand in 2013, it became apparent that the best way to explore the country was by motorcycle. My objective: to document and photograph the abundance of temples in the region. While also exploring other sites of interest as they arise; a road map to exploring the greater geographical network of cities, towns and villages was born. This has lead to the discovery of some extremely interesting locations. Often abandoned, and in various states of use and decay. Thailand is in a state of perpetual death and rebirth. Communities seem to under go sporadic commercial development. Often leading to half completed projects. These projects can lay dormant for years without further investment. The same is true for all forms of development in regional Thailand, whether commercial, industrial or residential. The inhabitants do their best to live in and among these structure. Nevertheless, it becomes quite clear that the environment plays second fiddle to such ventures. This said, I have photographed and documented some examples of these urban areas and will continue to update this post with images as they come. Read More...

Questions? If you have any further questions about this article or would like more information on urban tours of Thailand by motorcycle, please feel free to contact me using the details provided.

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