The November issue of Lonely Planet Magazine saw my images illustrating the words of Rath Sinlakhun, Editor in Chief of Lonely Planet Magazine Thailand. This issue feature several of the world’s great cities telling readers what makes them so special. I am biased I know but Bangkok has to be in the top three!
As someone who has lived in Bangkok for over six years now you never really think of going to such places as Wat Pho or The Royal Palace. You tend to write them off as tourist sites and reserve them for tours when you have first-time-to-Thailand friends coming. But expat snobbery aside, these places are truly beautiful and deserve to be visited, tourist or not.
Just published in the October 2011 edition of Morning Calm, the magazine of Korean Airways, is the story I shot in Hangzhou, China. This city of 5 million and capital of Zhejiang Province has always been thought of as one of China’s most beautiful metropolis’s. For the last 1000 years it has been renowned as a prosperous city and a favourite destination for traveling Chinese. Even Chairman Mao had a summer vacation mansion built here.
Its popularity in part is mostly due to the vast expanse of water know as the West Lake that dominates the city. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the West Lake covers an area of 33 km2 (3,323 hectares) and includes some of Hangzhou’s most notable historic and scenic places. Dotted around the lake and the mountains behind are ancient temples and a little further a field are the famous Longjing tea plantations.
A young Karen mahout gets sandwiched by a family of elephants.
Elephants are always great to photograph and these images shot on assignment for Die Zeit Magazine in Germany offered a perfect chance to get up, close and personal. This particular elephant camp is run by a German man called Bodo Jens Förster who is a renowned world expert on the creatures, working in Asia and Africa for decades as well as zoo’s in his native Germany.
Unlike most elephant camps in Thailand’s north he doesn’t just offer a quick ride on the back of one. Here you must learn how to work them, to command them to do what ever you want whether its moving logs, having a bath or just moving them left or right. This is done by Bodo’s direct instructions wailed at you from below as you sit the the animals backs.
Using Karen minority mahouts he offers employment for these men and their elephants, something that is getting less and less with the ban on logging in Thailand, but in their own natural environment.
To learn more about Bodo and his training camp visit www.elephant-tours.de.
A tourist learn how to put a saddle on this massive male bull.
The giant feet of an elephants at Bodo's camp.
Karen mahouts feed their elephants.
An elephant takes a drink in a nearby river.
In the Nov/Dec issue of National Geographic Traveller UK my images were used to illustrate a story about Sri Lanka by British writer Jini Reddy (www.jinireddy.co.uk).
To see more images from Sri Lanka visit www.lukeduggleby.com.