Southeast Asia forum

Photography trip through SE ASIA

  • chocmint

    Joined Travelfish
    28th December, 2010
    Posts: 2

    Hi all,

    I have just come accross this website and it is Amazing! Great job, very informative and so helpful.

    I have just started to do a bit of research on traveling in South East Asia. I am from Adelaide am planning to go there for the first time in October 2011 for 4-5 weeks. I was thinking of starting at Singapore and heading up the peninsula through Malaysia, then Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and possibly Hong Kong. I know this is alot for just a 4 or 5 weeks, I realise that you could spend that amount alone in any one of these places, but I just would like to get a feel for everything then decide which countries to go back to for a possible second trip.

    Does anyone think that this is too much considering I want to experience as much as possible. I am thinking of maybe dropping one or two destinations for another time.

    Can anyone make any recomendations? ie must see places to go, places to leave out for next time, amount of time to spend at certain locations etc. I am a photographer so i will spend alot of time taking photos.

    I want to take a rather large and expensive camera with a couple of lenses, while attempting to be descreet.

    Is this appropriate or are there any places you would recommend I don't take my camera?
    I am just thinking there may be no place for me to leave my camera should I not want to take it with me on certain occasions. Also I am not sure of any legal issues which would require me to leave my camera at home (eg local laws).

    If there are any others photographers on this forum, it would be great to here of the places you have been that make great images.

    #1 Posted: 28/12/2010 - 15:27

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  • busylizzy

    Joined Travelfish
    31st December, 2007
    Location New Zealand
    Posts: 2084
    Total reviews: 20
    Places visited:
    At least 107

    Hi - for starters, I would say that yes, you are trying to do way too much for 4-5 weeks. You need to cut back to 2 countries max, in my opinion.

    What sort of things do you like to photograph? People? Scenery? Temples? (Mostly likely all of the above!) I am assuming that this is a big focus for your trip rather than lying on the beaches.....

    Photography was important to my on my recent travels, although I am strictly amateur. The highlights for me (from a photography perspective) were in Cambodia ( Angkor Wat, in particular), Indonesia and Vietnam.

    Personally, I would suggest that you consider limiting yourself to Thailand, Cambodia and maybe the Mekong Delta/HCMC area of Vietnam at the most.

    Consider:
    - Flying into Bangkok
    - Spend some time in and around Bkk: (eg streets of Bkk for people, klong and streetlife shots; Amphawa for an awesome floating market experience, Kachanburi for river and war history,
    - Head east towards Trat for a local Thai town experience, then maybe out to islands (Koh Chang, Koh Mak, etc) for some island experience).
    - Head overland into Cambodia to Siem Reap and spend days photographing the temples of Angkor Wat. Do day trips to the temples north of Siem Reap to see some of the smaller villages and maybe one of the floating village trips (pick carefully!)
    - Continue west to Phnom Penh for S21 and the Killing Fields, markets, etc.
    - Take the boat from Phnom Penh along the Mekong into Vietnam. Spend some time in Chau Doc, Ben Tre, Can Tho and Ho Chi Minh City.
    - In HCMC, visit the tunnels, markets, etc
    - Fly from HCMC home again.... (or if time permits, carry on into Dalat in the highlands)

    Alternatively, cut out Vietnam, and spend more time in Thailand (Chiang Mai, or in the southern islands). This is just one idea to consider; you're going to get more from others, I'm sure!

    Be aware that some places may charge a small fee to use your camera (museums, etc). There aren't any laws with regards to using your camera, but it is important to respect the people that you are photographing. Shoving your camera in their face without permission is not acceptable anywhere in the world. I always ask first, and people almost always say yes. (Some refused in Flores). Kids love having their photograph taken, especially when you can show them the results on the camera after.

    In some cases, people will ask for money for taking their photo - don't! (Better to walk away from the photo opp than to foster the concept that you should pay to take a photo..IMHO. I only experienced this in Vietnam.

    I also took a small point and shoot. There are occasions where I just didn't feel comfortable with my SLR. The point and shoot is more discrete, can be used for underwater photos in a waterproof bag, and it good on boat trips, etc.

    Think twice about bringing multiple lenses. I did this on my first trip away - and whilst I appreciated being able to switch, it was also a bit of a pain. I did most of my lens changing in Cambodia - which was a bad move because of the incredibly dusty roads. I compromised on my longer, second trip and only took my 18-55 lens. I really missed my 55-250 zoom lens and had some regrets. But given I was also carrying a netbook, I needed to cut down on the electronics! Next time, I would get a more universal lens with a really good zoom.

    You could consider taking a small dry bag for the camera when travelling on boats, when it's raining, etc. I took one but never really used it for that purpose in the end. But I managed to avoid the wet season everywhere.

    Also - do your research on this site for visa requirements when travelling overland. You'll need to sort some out ahead of time rather than rely on Visa on Arrival).

    OK - that's way too much rambling! But hope it helps...

    #2 Posted: 28/12/2010 - 16:41

  • chocmint

    Joined Travelfish
    28th December, 2010
    Posts: 2

    Wow thanks lizzy. This is a great help.

    I photograph people, architecture and landscape and this will be a big focus of my trip rather than the beaches as you mentioned. i still want to take time out and do the touristy things though.

    Thanks for your input, you have given me so much to think about

    #3 Posted: 28/12/2010 - 18:21

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