The Photographer’s Hot Spots
Maramures Region, Romania. I got the first glimpse of the wonderful rural Romania in this northern region that boasts some great villages with lots of old faces full of stories of a time long gone…My favourite region in Eastern Europe.
Sighisoara, Romania. This delightful town was really hard on my Canon EOS. I loved just walking around the old Citadel looking for Romanian portraits. It’s got a great market as well with lots of interesting people of all ages.
Istanbul, Turkey. It would take a life time to really get to know this fantastic city of some 10 mio. people. It’s position on the Bosphorus Strait is unbeatable. Istanbul has so much culture and history to be proud of. I really liked the little “herbs and medicine market” next to the harbour front in down town Istanbul.
Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. The capital of Turkmenistan is a funny mix of monumental extravaganza (thanks to the former President Saparmurat Niyazov’s megalomanic tendencies) and human diversities. As usual, go for the local markets to get a feel of the people…
Samarkand, Uzbekistan. Along with Bukhara, this fabulous Silk Route Town was really one of the highlights of travelling through Central Asia’s “Stan Territory”. Superb mosques, photogenic markets with people from all sorts of places (some Caucasian, some Mongolian, some Russian, some Middle East, some Arabian…You name it, Samarkand’s got it!)
Bukhara, Uzbekistan. (See above – though the cities are both unique in its own right)
Fergana Valley, Uzbekistan. Margilan and neighbouring bigbrother Fergana are both relaxed, and socially + culturally interesting town in the hot and fertile Fergana Valley in Eastern Uzbekistan. A visit to the silk factory in Margilan is a great experience…
Osh, Kyrgyzstan. It’s the people of Osh in the Kyrgyz south western lowlands that make this pleasant city unforgetable. I just couldn’t stop taking shots of the “hat men” at the market which is the largest and most crowded outdoor market in all of Central Asia.
Kochkor, Kyrgyzstan. To me all of Kyrgyzstan was extremely alluring and interesting, photographically and personally. In this Kyrgyz League of Kings, Kochkor hits the top when it comes to village life, quant Russian cars, “hat men” and other kinds of Canon-goodies. I loved it here.
Karakol, Kyrgyzstan. Karakol is bigger and hasn’t quite got the village feeling that Kochkor boasts. But it’s weekly animal market is a fantastic event and definitely worth seeing. Lake Issyk-Kul is nearby as is great trekking opportunities in the Tian Shan mountains…
Kashgar, Western China. I might run out of “this is my famourite city-statements” but Kashgar truly is one of the greatest, most interesting and colourful (demographically) cities, I’ve ever been to. The different faces of the city today easily reflects the turbulent, multicultural history of Kashgar. The Sunday market and – in particular – the livestock market (with the odd camel for sale) is lively and extremely EOS battery consuming. Trigger happy is my name!
Kathmandu, Nepal. Presentation not needed here. Kathmandu is, always was, and hopefully always will be, the photographer’s Top of the Pops playground. The colours, the scents & smells (not always rose-like), the hustle & bustle, the genuinity of the capital, the food (don’t be too adventurous here, though), the mix of local and foreign traveller faces – Kathmandu is something special to me.
Battambang, Cambodia. This bigger, yet pretty sleepy town in Western Cambodia was a real surprise to me. Just wandering around the city centre, easily managable on foot, was a big pastime for me while I was there. Heaps of temples and monasteries with novice monks in their orange robes spice up this town that has a very bloody, recent history.
Dien Bien Phu, NW Vietnam. The North Western corner of Vietnam was by far my favourite part of Vietnam. The scenery, the colourful minority people, the markets (again), the relative isolation really make it worthwhile to venture here. Dien Bien Phu has a fairly big minority population – and most people don’t really mind having their photo taken…That, I like!
Sa Pa, NW Vietnam. The same thing goes for Sa Pa in the most northern part of Vietnam, right on the Chinese border. Though heavily visited, Sa Pa and the surrounding hill tribe villages among evergreen rice terraces are amazing. Don’t just stick to the beaten path around here.
Louang Prabang, Laos. There’s a certain feel good-atmosphere in LP that I really like. It’s situated right on the mighty Mekong River and is – compared to it’s popularity with travellers – a very relaxed and chilled place. Photo options galore in the tiny streets and alleys that radiate from the main street in the town centre. A trip to the other side of Mekong is a joyful day trip.
Xam Nua, NE Laos. I found most of rural Laos a real gem photographically. Xam Nua is situated in the rolling (killer!) hills in the NE corner, close to the Vietnamese border, and has a great mix of hill tribe people scattered around town. The (very) early morning market is a feast, for the eye as well as the stomac (if you fancy a bit of exotic cuisine).
Northern Thailand. I spent around 6 weeks in this region and I totally fell in love with it. The people are wonderful, the history of the area is interesting, the food super delicious and rediculously cheap, the surrounding mountain areas with waterfalls, minority hill tribes, elephants etc. make an ideal day out on a hired scooter. Chiang Mai is for me one of the greatest cities on earth.
Georgetown, Malaysia. Asian food markets make a big chapter in my book, and Georgetown (or Penang) in NW Malaysia has its fair share. The food is just as varied as the people’s faces.
Java, Indonesia . Totally underrated, my month cycling across Java was the South East Asian highlights for me. Outside of the few tourist areas (Mt. Bromo, Yogyakarta, Solo, Bogor, and – to a certain degree – Bandung) it’s virtually just you and 130+ mio Javanese and some of the most fascinating islands I’ve seen. Volcanoes, surreal crater lakes, mud pools, rice terraces, thousands of “Hello, Mr.” (could do without’em) from an always interested and in-your-face-attitude from the locals – Java’s got it all.
West Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia. The Islands of Lombok, Sumbawa, Sumba, and Timor have their own flavour and ambience. Though travelling in this region is slightly rough and not for everyone, I really enjoyed the “Indonesian Wild West” feeling attached to most of these islands. The people are incredibly friendly and welcoming, and you actually don’t need any zoom lens for your camera, ‘cos people love to have their photos taken.