Four Great Places to Take Photos in Seoul

HanGang, Seoul, Korea

Photo by Hyeong Seok Kim / CC-BY

Seoul offers many photo opportunities. Visitors who don’t have a lot of time will find the following locations close-by, and interesting.

Gyeongbokgung

Photo by Richard Moross / CC-BY

Situated in the heart of Seoul, Gyeongbokgung is the largest palace in Korea. Frequently rebuilt, the palace is kept in pristine shape, and its courtyards, pagodas, bridges, walls, gates, and statues will keep any photographer busy. The royal guards at the gate are a particular favorite for photographers.

Gwangjang Market

Photo by Kars Alfrink / CC-BY

Gwangjang Market is one of the oldest and largest traditional street markets in Korea, boasting about 65,000 visitors per day. Today, the market’s vendors sell everything from vegetables, fruits, meat and fish to clothing, textiles, kitchen utensils and more. There’s also many food stalls and restaurants. For photos of crowds shopping, bartering, and eating, this is the place to go.

Bukcheon Hanok Village

Photo by whyyan / CC-BY

If you’re interested in taking photos of what Seoul must have looked like in the past, head for Bukcheon Hanok Village. This charming neighborhood is a labyrinth of streets lined with traditional Korean ‘Hanok’ houses that are still being lived in.

Cheonggyecheon is a 10km long public recreational space in Seoul. This serene urban renewal site is built on stream that cuts through downtown Seoul. Visit at night and stroll along the stream to get fantastic photos of its bridges, waterfalls and seasonal displays.

Many first-time travellers to Asia, particularly those on business, have asked about easily accessible photo opportunities in the cities they visit. This post is part of an ongoing series, each on a different Asian city, introducing a few photo locations for visitors with limited time.

Travel Photography Spots in Shanghai

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Similar to other major Asian cities, Shanghai has some great locations for visitors to photograph. Whether you’re looking for modernity, or tradition, Shanghai has something for you.

Lujiazui Skyline

The Bund (along the waterfront of Huangpu River) is a great spot to take photos of Shanghai’s iconic skyline. The skyline is at its best at night with dazzling neon lights and lit cruise ships reflected in the river.

Around Old Town Shanghai

A fun place to visit is Shanghai Old Town. Very touristy, but the traditional buildings and markets combine to make a fun photo walk. (Just to the northeast of the old town is the splendid Yu Garden, whose landscaping and traditional structures offer some more subjects to photograph).

Shanghai Film Park

A unique photo opportunity is a visit to Shanghai Film Park. This is one of China’s largest active outdoor movie studios, with impressively open access. — you can walk around (and shoot) sets of old Shanghai, and if you’re lucky you’ll also see some actual actors scurrying about.

Qibao Ancient Town / Shanghai

If you have time, eighteen kilometers from Shanghai city center you’ll find Qibao, a typical China water town. Qibao is a wonderful place to take photos of ‘old China’. The old town is composed of two canals crossed by three stone bridges. These are surrounded by old stone-paved streets connected with many side lanes.

Many first-time travellers to Asia, particularly those on business, have asked about easily accessible photo opportunities in the cities they visit. This post is part of an ongoing series, each on a different Asian city, introducing a few photo locations for visitors with limited time.

Where to shoot in Kuala Lumpur

KL Night scene

Visitors to KL (Kuala Lumpur) will find that the city has several places that are of interest to photographers – ranging from towering skyscrapers and colonial architecture, to lush greenery and stunning religious structures.

Petronas Towers at Night 2

Arguably the most photographed locale in Kuala Lumpur, shots of the iconic 88-story Petronas Twin Towers are a must. In particular, photos of the towers at night are guaranteed to be worth the effort. And, if you want to take breath-taking photos of the city, take the elevator up to the double-decked Skybridge, situated on the 41st and 42nd floors.

Flower stall in "little India" or Brickfields of Kuala Lumpur

If you’re in the mood for color, Little India in Brickfields is an ideal location to shoot. This bustling street is lined with pastel-hued buildings, filled with stalls and shops selling traditional Indian goods such as saris, flower garlands, spices, and more.

Busy food street = happy

For photos of KL’s local’s, a visit to Jalan Alor in Bukit Bintang in the evening is worth considering. Packed with hawker stalls and seafood restaurants, you’ll find throngs of locals sitting outside enjoying local foods under bright fluorescent restaurant signs and red Chinese lanterns.

Bird Park KL

A visit to Kuala Lumpur’s Bird Park gives you a chance to get some great shots of tropical birds. The 21-acre aviary contains over 200 different species, giving you a wide variety to photograph.

Mosque - Kuala Lumpur "Masjid Jamek"

No visit to KL would be complete without shots of Masjid Jamek, the city’s oldest mosque. While the red and white mosque is picturesque on it’s own during the day, silhouettes of the minarets and domes against the dawn sky can result in some dramatic photos.

Many first-time travellers to Asia, particularly those on business, have asked about easily accessible photo opportunities in the cities they visit. This post is part of an ongoing series, each on a different Asian city, introducing a few photo locations for visitors with limited time.

September Photo Opportunity: The Masked Dancers of Korea

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Korea’s annual Andong Mask Dance Festival is an series of events celebrating the traditions of Korean mask dancing. If you’re lucky enough to attend, bring your camera, and get ready to get some really fun photos.

Yecheon Cheongdan-noreum, Andong Mask Festival
Yecheon Cheongdan-noreum, at the Andong Mask Festival in Korea

Originally a two-day event, the festival has expanded into a 10-day festival starting at end of September and continuing into the beginning of October.

Sandae-nori at Songpa, Andong Mask Festival, Korea
Sandae-nori at Songpa, Andong Mask Festival, Korea

The history of Korea’s Mask Dances reach back centuries. They were once used in shamanistic rituals, as local custom believed that wearing a mask warded off evil spirits. The performances of the masked dancers during the festival allow for some really interesting photos.

Byeolsandae-nori at Yangju, Andong Msk Festival, Korea
Byeolsandae-nori at Yangju, Andong Msk Festival, Korea

Each mask dance has it’s own significance, from making an offering to a goddess for health and wealth, to dancing for an abundant harvest, and finally a dance to chase away demons.

Goseong Ogwangdae at Andong Mask Festival, Korea
Goseong Ogwangdae at Andong Mask Festival, Korea

Andong, and its surrounding area, are famous as a center of Korean culture and folk traditions. If you visit during the festival, make sure to take the time to make some side trips with your camera. (Don’t miss the nearby folk village of Hahoe).

Masked dancers at the Andong Mask Festival, Korea
Masked dancers at the Andong Mask Festival, Korea

Mumbai Offers Several Unique Photo Opportunities

Mumbai commuters
Black & white photo of Mumbai commuters (Photo by Rajarshi MITRA / CC-BY)

There’s a wealth of places you’ll want to take photos in Mumbai. Selecting which to visit can be a challenge for the traveler with only a little bit of free time. Here’s a couple of the most popular.

Gateway of India
Gateway of India, Mumbai (Photo by Jorge Láscar / CC-BY)

Although considered cliché by frequent visitors, the Gateway of India shouldn’t be missed by anyone new to the city. Visit early in the morning to get a shot of the monument without hoards of tourists around it.

Marine Drive, Mumbai
Marine Drive, Mumbai, at night (Photo by Madhav Pai / CC-BY)

Marine Drive, is best place to get a photo of the Mumbai skyline across a stretch of sea. Visit in the evening, and you’ll immediately understand why this area is also referred to as the Queen’s Necklace. Perhaps the most popular hangout in Mumbai, you’ll also find lots of couple and families hanging out here.

Dhobi Ghat, Mumbai
Laundry hung out in Mumbai’s Dhobi Ghat (Photo by Jon Connell / CC-BY)

The Dhobi Ghat is Mumbai’s infamous and huge outdoor laundry. Everyday, around 200 dhobis (washermen) wash thousands of garments that are then hung for drying on long lines throughout the area. This is a great place to get some memorable photos.

Plucked Duo
Flowers for sale at Dadar Phool Market, Mumbai (Photo by Meena Kadri / CC-BY)

If color and flowers attract you, Dadar Phool Market is the place to go. This flower market is located in a small gully lined with flower stalls. The shop owners are used to photographers, but arrive early in the morning for the best shots of this bustling market.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Mumbai
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Mumbai, at night (Photo by bWlrZQ== / CC-BY)

CST (Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus) station, is one of Mumbai’s iconic landmarks. Opened in 1887 to commemorate the Queen Victoria’s 50th birthday, the CST was originally named ‘Victoria Terminus’. If you’re looking to shoot chaos, bustling crowds, and lots of stalls, all against the background of incredible colonial architecture, a visit to CST is a must.

Many first-time travellers to Asia, particularly those on business, have asked about easily accessible photo opportunities in the cities they visit. This post is part of an ongoing series, each on a different Asian city, introducing a few photo locations for visitors with limited time.

Suggested Photo Locations in Bangkok

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Due to Bangkok’s horrendous traffic congestion, visitors with just a bit of time on their hands are not going to be able to see many of the sites. Depending on how much time you have, the following are a few suggestions for photography.

 

Wat Pho
Reclining gold buddha statue at Wat Pho, Thailand

Wat Pho is where you’ll find the famous Reclining Buddha. This 15-meter high, 46-meter long, gilded statue is probably the most photographed Buddha in Thailand. But, it would be a tremendous mistake not to also explore the huge temple complex with its many elegant buildings, monks going about their lives, and even birds perched on the temple roof.

Grand Palace - Bangkok
The Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand

Located in central Bangkok, the Grand Palace is a complex of buildings that was the former seat of the king. There are many truly stunning buildings to photograph, but pay attention to the signs as there are strict rules governing what is allowed to be photographed (particularly inside).

Soi Cowboy, Bangkok
Soi Cowboy nightlife district at night, Bangkok

If you’re feeling adventurous one evening, visit Soi Cowboy to get photos of Bangkok’s notorious nightlife. This street is ablaze with garish neon lights, and its denizens are used to photographers. Still, you should avoid snapping away at the working girls on the street as they usually don’t want their faces photographed.

Bangkok with a Bang
Boat traffic on the Chao Praya River in Bangkok

An easy way to get a lot of great photos of Bangkok is to take a boat up the Chao Praya River. For a nominal fee, the boat takes you by stilt houses, kids playing in the river, cargo barges carrying all sorts of goods downriver, and ferries carrying passengers from one side of the river to the other.

Wat Arun
Wat Arun temple at night, Bangkok

Finally, one of the most alluring images you can take of ancient Bangkok would be a photo of Wat Arun, known as the ‘Temple of Dawn’. Although the temple is located on the Thonburi side of the Chao Praya River, the best photos of it are taken from the opposite side of the river.

Many first-time travellers to Asia, particularly those on business, have asked about easily accessible photo opportunities in the cities they visit. This post is part of an ongoing series, each on a different Asian city, introducing a few photo locations for visitors with limited time.

Some of The Best Places to Photograph Tokyo

Tokyo Night Skyline
Skyline of Tokyo by night

Tokyo offers a mix of traditional and ultra-modern. This gives the visiting photographer some great choices. Even visitors with time constraints have a variety of locations to choose from.

Shibuya Scramble Crossing
Crowds at Shibuya Scramble Crossing

Shibuya Crossing is not to be missed. The world’s busiest pedestrian crossing (with an estimated one million people crossing the street here everyday), this ‘scramble’ crosswalk offers a unique photographic experience. Trying to figure out how to best capture the waves of humanity going through the crosswalks is every photographer’s challenge.

The Meiji Shrine
Meiji Shrine in Tokyo

Meiji Shrine is a Shinto shrine dedicated to Japan’s Emperor Meiji. The shrine complex is located with 170 acres of forested land in downtown Shibuya. This is a spectacular setting to capture some photos depicting traditional Japan.

 

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As a hub for entertainment, business, and shopping, Shinjuku ward in the evening is the perfect location to capture great photos of modern Tokyo with its multitude of neon lights.

Asakusa, Sensoø-ji in the rain
Sensoø-ji temple in the rain at night, Asakusa, Tokyo

Sensō-ji Temple, Tokyo’s most popular Buddhist temple, is a wonderful place for photographing traditional Japanese architecture. The famous temple gates, Kaminarimon and Hozomon, the five-storey pagoda, and the temple itself will make it easy to fill your camera’s memory card.

Gundam in Odaiba
Massive statue of Gundam in the evening at Odaiba, Tokyo

Odaiba is an entertainment and shopping mecca located on a man-made island. There are wonderful views of Tokyo Bay and Rainbow Bridge, making the area particularly ideal for taking pictures of the night skyline of Tokyo. The area is also famous for it’s massive Gundam statue.

Many first-time travellers to Asia, particularly those on business, have asked about easily accessible photo opportunities in the cities they visit. This post is part of an ongoing series, each on a different Asian city, introducing a few photo locations for visitors with limited time.