Smile Please

We guide you to the city's best backdrops for your posing pleasure

Like dodging soi dogs on the streets, taking photos has become an integral part of daily life for many Bangkokians. However, when you realise that you and 25 of your Facebook friends have taken a picture with the exact same sculpture at the same mall, it's time to consider exploring other destinations for photo ops that lie across the city. For the love of photography, we present 10 photo-taking destinations - both well and lesser known - that aspiring photographers (as well as shameless self-promoters) should check in at and check out.

GOLDEN LINING

Saphan Phra Ram VIII is a bridge crossing over the Chao Phraya River, opened for use in 2002. What make this 475-metre stretch of concrete a destination for lensmen are its yellow cable lines and single tower. With lighting during night time, the cable-stayed bridge glows with golden majesty. Try taking a photo of yourself with the background of the pylon, cables and moving cars to give it a fast-paced city feel (and you may even look thinner in comparison to the great pylon). The bridge is also known as a place where couples go to take pictures before their wedding. Lovebirds who want to go the distance with each other, like those long cable lines, can capture their sweet moments here with the added bonus of cool symbolism. On the Phra Nakhon side of Bangkok, it connects to Visut Kasat Road near the Bank of Thailand. On the Thon Buri side, the bridge connects to an elevated road near the Office of the Royal Development Projects Board in Bang Phlat district.

INTERSECTION OF POSING

BRT-BTS link on Sathon Road raises your ordinary photo-taking standards with its modern and urban setting. The elevated walkway links BTS Chong Nonsi station and a BRT bus stop. Get a snap against the background of its two great white arches and cables as well as skyscrapers that surround the intersection for some pictures with a futuristic feel. The roofed passages on both sides of the skywalk are also potential spots for photo taking especially when lit in the evening. Get on the BTS to Chong Nonsi station and walk to the skywalk, or take the BRT to the Sathon stop.

SAY PEACE

Santi Chai Prakan Park (5am-9pm. Phra Arthit Road or Phra Arthit pier by Chao Phraya Express Boat), or "Suan Santi" for short, offers photo-taking as well as history-learning ops. Strike a pose with Santi Chai Prakan Pavilion behind you for a shot with a Thai feel. This riverside park is built around the Phra Sumen fort that looks sacred when lit with golden lights at night. Or take a picture of yourself with a background of the Chao Phraya River, sunset sky, passing boats, and Rama VIII Bridge that can be seen in the distance. You can also walk to Khao San Road from the park to snap some pictures of nightlife later.

PRETTY IN PARK

Vachirabenjatas Park or Suan Rot Fai (4:30am-9pm. Kamphaeng Phet 3 Road, BTS Mo Chit or MRT Chatuchak and a motorcycle taxi) has become a popular photo-taking destination for soon-to-be-wedded couples, new grads as well as girls who want to practice their ab baew skills. You can always go with the obvious theme of pretty-girl-in-nature. Bring a pink bike that has a basket filled with muti-coloured flowers if you want to create a picture that is overloaded with sweetness. Use a stationary train there as your prop. Get a snap of a boy riding a bike while his girl sits behind for some sweet (and staged) moments. The park itself is worth checking out especially if you're outdoorsy since it offers a variety of activities from a butterfly garden, to kayaks and bicycles for rent, a tennis court and more.

GRAB PHOTOS AT GREEN BRIDGE

Phra Phuttha Yodfa Bridge, colloquially known as Saphan Phut, comes alive after sunset. The big green bridge draws people to chill in the evening breeze and shutterbugs to snap a lot of pictures. Couples can sit on the giant iron beam that separates the walkways and the road lanes (forget about safety and the speeding cars behind you for a moment) and lean their heads against each other for a sweet shot. Women can stand and lean against the iron beam and let their hair down while making love to the camera for some sexy snaps. Don't overdo it, though, or else you'll look hoochie. The bridge links Tri Phet Road on Phra Nakhon side of Bangkok and Prajadhipok Road on the Thon Buri side. Don't forget to hit Saphan Phut Night Market that opens every day except Mon for some cheap and second-hand items.

PHOTO STATION

Couples and photogs head to the waterfront Bang Rak Fire Station (Charoen Krung Soi 36, 02-234-8847-8) to spark their flames for photography. Built in 1890, the old building has become popular for lovers who want something unconventional in their pre-wedding album (and perhaps want to say their love is timeless).

PHOTO VILLE

Photo freaks and foodies go to Chocolate Ville (4pm-midnight. Kaset-Nawamin Road Km 11, 083-077-3738, facebook.com/chocolateville) for opportunities to feast and flash their cameras. Once you're there, you may forget that you're still in a suburban area of Bangkok and suddenly find yourself in a small western village of sort. The choices of photo ops are as plenty as the fusion fare on the menu. You can capture a fire station, windmill, brick house and more with your camera. Get on the top of the lighthouse and take a picture of yourself against the backdrop of the entire ville lit up at night. Those who want to take their pre-wedding photos there need to contact them and you will be allowed to use the place from 8am-2pm. The cost is B,7000 (price subject to tax) for a weekday shoot and B10,000 for a weekend or holiday.

SNAPPING SENSEI

You can go otaku over Japanese food and culture at Hako Town (Mon-Fri 4pm-midnight, Sat-Sun 11am-midnight. Pradit Manutham Road, 086-881-8785, facebook.com/hakotown). Boys can role play as samurai while girls can go kawaii in yukata. It features eight Japanese eateries in one place as well as many spots to pose. Pay B250 to rent a yukata. You can pose with a well (that looks like the one Sadako from The Ring fell into) or relax in a garden.

TIME MACHINE

Asiatique The Riverfront (4pm-midnight. 2194, Charoen Krung Road, 02-108-4488, facebook.com/Asiatique.Thailand) offers loads of outdoor photo ops given it riverside location and many sculptures and structures built in the precincts as homage to Bangkok's bygone eras. Sit on a sculpture of a Chinese man pulling a rickshaw. Get on a tram. Pretend to lift a rice bag at the sculptures of Chinese labourers. Pose with an anchor to appear small in comparison with the background of the Chao Phraya River in the evening. Other retro props include a clock tower, a water tower and more.

PHOTO-SNAPPING TERMINAL

Take your photographing journey to an international level with the many props on offer at Terminal 21 (10am-10pm. Sukhumvit Soi 19, BTS Asoke or MRT Sukhumvit, 02-108- 0888, facebook.com/terminal21) where each floor is themed after major cities of the world. Go Japanese with the winking lucky cat sculpture, two sumo wrestlers and torii gate on the first floor. Go Londoner with the red phone booth and double-decker bus on the second floor. Wear a beret and scarf and pretend to be a sailor when you take a photo with the lighthouse on the lower ground floor.G

About the author

columnist
Writer: Pornchai Sereemongkonpol
Position: Guru Reporter