Hop, Skip and a Jump to Cambodia

Posted in Landscape, People, Travel at 6:00 pm by Warren Williams

After an already hectic first 3 days of travelling, I thought it would be great to keep up the momentum and head straight to Siem Reap, Cambodia. The cheaper flights arrive in the capital, Phnom Penh, but then there’s a 5-6 hour bus ride (314km), to Siem Reap. Transportation is very cheap, with buses costing between US$4-10. I had a bit of a run in with a taxi, who took me straight to a hotel on a back street. I didn’t ask to go there, but he took me there, unloaded my bags, before I reminded him I’m not staying the night, and will be travelling by bus to Siem Reap. The driver swore at me, then said “don’t you speak to me again!” and drove eratically to a nearby bus station. Unfortunately I just missed the 10am bus, and had to wait for the 11:30am bus. First impressions of Phnom Penh were obviously not good, and I was very glad to get out of there.

Flying in from BKK to Phnom Penh, can see the wet landscape of rice fields

At the half way point of the bus trip, we stopped for some lunch… Just at this moment a heavy rain storm passed, which over the next couple of days proved to be a regular occurence.

Once arrived in Siem Reap, there were 50 odd tuk tuk drivers, who charged up to the few Westerners travelling by bus, offering cheap rides of $1. Surprise, surprise there was a young man there with my name. He showed a place of recommendation on the back of the tuk tuk, a simple advertisement. I decided to trust him, and also made mention that the place is only a year or so old. We arrived at “Siem Reap Riverside“, which was actually quite nice to what I had seen driving through the town! Finally something was going well.

The ride can be bone-jarring

Tonight’s dinner

Siem Reap Riverside guest house was 100metres past here on the right. 300metres out of town

My first early night, as I have a 5am get up for Angkor Wat.

NASA image of Angkor Wat


Damnoen Saduak Wood Carving

Posted in People, Travel at 6:30 pm by Warren Williams

Soon after the Cobra show, we were whistled by the Wood Carving Shop. Another way for them to make some money. Some of the displays are highly impressive, however at several thousand US$ a piece, I really wonder where this money is going.

The greatest relief came from the air conditioned luxury van ride, back to Bangkok. I was the last to be dropped off, and was still a further 30min away in traffic, so was dropped off at MBK shopping centre. NZ$100 spent on loads of T shirts, and a DVD, and sent most of it back home to NZ… The parcel cost… Another $100

Cobra Show, Thailand

Posted in Animals, People, Travel at 6:00 pm by Warren Williams

A small van ride around the corner from Damnoen Saduak, and we were at the famed Cobra Show.
The van load of tourists, including myself were all a tad sceptical before going in, and the price was more than other small attractions. I decided to break the ice first, and pay up, and head through the gates. The arena was filled with a few rows, around 3 sides, but I decided to sit down on the front corner, to get the best angles, but also TRY to be safe – Safety… Yeah right. The crowd sits a mere couple of metres from the live shows, with some shallow water, and a 2-3 foot wall providing psychological protection 😉

The show started with an amazing Cobra handler, and came within millimetres of being jabbed with venom. The next couple of acts, included a Python, jumping snakes and some more poisonous water snakes. There was also a Mongoose Vs. Cobra fight, which looked rather nasty – Thailand seems to allow some forms of animal cruelty for pleasure viewing to demonstrate what does happen in the wild. The poor snake did have numerous wounds/scars down it’s scales.

Nerves of Steel

Enough venom to kill several villagers

Mongoose Vs Cobra (2 – 0)

Anaconda 4 anyone?

My, my, what sharp teeth you have

Close shave

Another close one

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

Posted in General, Travel at 11:00 am by Warren Williams

Located in the Ratchaburi province, Damnoen Saduak is one of the largest and most popular floating markets in Thailand. The heat was out in typical fashion, 36°C. We took a James Bond boat zipping around the canals (the name, from the obvious, Roger Moore in an earlier film which brought the province into full glory)

James Bond boat, zooming down a river towards the market

Another James Bond boat, slicing through the market

Thailand flag, down another market river

The centre of Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

Fresh pineapple on offer


Ayutthaya – Thailand’s old Capital

Posted in Animals, Landscape, Travel at 6:00 pm by Warren Williams

The 90min train journey from Hualamphong train station went without a hitch. Arrived mid afternoon ready for a couple hours via Tuk Tuk around a few of the larger temples.

Wat Phra Chao Phya-Thai

Wat Chaiwatthanaram

Wat Phra Si Sanphet

Wat Phra Ram, from the moving Tuk Tuk

The train journey back again was smooth, with fresh wind blowing through the open carriages. Off to the floating market tomorrow for another perspective on life in Thailand.

Bangkok, Thailand

Posted in General, People, Travel at 2:00 pm by Warren Williams

The British Airways flight leaving Sydney to Bangkok was delayed by two hours due to a blocked oil filter on one of the engines. We ended up arriving in Bangkok after midnight, where the local temperature was a very sticky 27°C. I found a cheap hotel to stay, just off from Sukhumvit Road, near the centre of some large shopping centres, such as Siam Paragon and MBK.

The heat and smell was as I remembered back in my first trip of 1989. Unbearably hot, street stalls everywhere selling mostly food, and traffic in every direction. As darkness falls, the heat remains, and the nightlife comes out.

The only way to deal with congestion, police traffic wardens at every intersection.

Traffic under the Sky Train network

People walk the narrow railway corrider

The sky train, which provides fast connections between each suburb and shopping centres.

Tuk-tuk’s are everywhere

Hualomphong station, where I walked to from Sukhumvit Road.

My next destination was Ayutthaya, travelling 3rd class with the locals. The fare cost 15 Bhat (US 50 cents) for the near 100km journey North. I think Western worlds need to follow suit 😉


Auckland to Sydney

Posted in Aviation, General, Landscape, Travel at 6:00 pm by Warren Williams

QF190 from NZAA to YSSY departed on surprisingly clear crisp skies. I took the window seat requested (43A), to keep out of the direct sun and a clear view over the wing.

Overlooking Waiuku and Port Waikato

I think the wing needs a clean 😉

Arriving into Sydney, with interesting water patterns.

Despite being in transit to Bangkok, Sydney airport security were even kind enough to believe I’m the suspicious type, deciding to do a full search of my bags, containing camera gear, taking smears for explosive resins and drugs. I wasn’t pleased.


iKirst, 1D III, Farewell NZ

Posted in General, People, Travel at 11:00 pm by Warren Williams

Been an extremely busy couple of weeks, bought a new 5D camera, but looks like it won’t arrive in time, so today went out and purchased a new Canon 1D Mk III from Auckland Camera.

Kirst was the perfect photo subject to test out the new camera, with my 50/85mm prime lens.

I leave New Zealand tomorrow, heading to Thailand and Cambodia for 12 days, before living in South East London/Kent, UK. Will also spend some weekends away at Hastings beach with family during summer. Farewell.


Sk8R Boi

Posted in General, People, Sport at 6:00 pm by Warren Williams

My sisters boyfriend, Josh, shows how it’s done. Skateboarding at Te Pai Park, Henderson, Auckland


Stil Vodka NZ Drift Series – Round 1 – Manfeild

Posted in General, Motorsport, People at 6:00 pm by Warren Williams

Manfeild race track, held host to the inaugural DFactor drift series. The weather was on edge, for wreaking havoc, however came under control, and the threatening skies never rained for more than a couple of minutes.

24 cars battled for the Top 16, which saw some of NZ’s top drift competitors battling it out for good prize money.

The final came down to Mr Consistent, Carl Ruiterman, and Curt Whittaker. Curt lead with lots of smoke, and was also very close in the chase, which rewarded him with the Round 1 honours. Adam Richards and Mad Mike rounded out the Top 4.

This is my last drift event in NZ, before travelling through Thailand & Cambodia, before settling in England.

Full gallery can be viewed here


Moonlit Volcano – Mt Ruapehu

Posted in General at 6:00 pm by Warren Williams

Travelling along Desert Road, (SH1) decided to stop in freezing conditions to take a few long exposures under the full moon sky. Also grabbed this shot below from opposite Huntly Power station, looking upstream on the Waikato river.