Ultimate places for landscape photographers in Asia
"We have a saying, we say this is our own country." Travel around the world and you hear that sentence everywhere - you are no more than this in Asia - and yet there are some regions of Asia that go beyond the cliché.
Powerful mountains, wet forests, and temples are abundant in Asia - both ancient and collapsing. It has got colorful culture, incredible wildlife and ancient traditions. Here are the best locations for photography on any landscape trip in Asia.
1. Zhangjiajie, China
Remember the peak of the planet Pandora in the movie Avatar? They were inspired by the sandstone pinnacles of Zhangjiajie National Forest Park in the northwest of Huan Province. A land of mountains, forests, caves, lakes and springs, it is home to macaques, Chinese giant salamander, Chinese water deer and almost mysterious clouded leopard. The area (whose main area is actually called the Vellingyuan Scenic Area) receives 20 million visitors each year, but its 'Avatar Halelujah Mountains' are quiet places away from the observation deck.
2. Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
An actual scene near the Chinese border, seen from a Vietnamese junk boat, Ha Long Bay has over 1,600 islands. About 170 km from Hanoi, it is a magnificent UNESCO World Heritage Site, topped by forests and erosion of limestone due to tropical rain for thousands of years and its effects are incredibly photogenic. Cruising, kayaking and rock-climbing are common activities here, so bring a good camera backpack, and waterproof stuff-sax.
3. Charyn Canyon & Tian Shan, Kazakhstan
'The Stance' is making a name for itself with landscape photographers. One reason is the beautiful Alps-like Tian Shan mountain range that separates Kyrgyzstan from Kyrgyzstan; The latter city of Almaty has snow-clad lakes, zigzag peaks, hidden Soviet-era observatories and even a large population of snow leopards. Hours before Almaty, however, lies the dramatic Cherry Canyon National Park on the plains towards western China. Most tourists come on a day trip and only in the form of the Valley of Castles. If you want to explore its slightly more remote and less photographed Temirlik, Yellow, Red and Bestamak Canyon, stay in a yacht or bungalow nearby.
4. Darvaza Gas Crater, Turkmenistan
If you are tired of traveling through heavenly places, how about an adventure to see the so-called Door to Hell? It's a one-sided surprise trip in terms of photography, but how about something unusual for it: a natural gas field in the Karakum Desert that fell into an underground cave, and is now permanently engulfed in flames. Ashgabat, a three-hour drive from the capital, this mysterious scene is the result of Soviet geologists in what they thought was a small pocket of gas. It was in 1971, and it is still burning.
5. Bagan, Myanmar
The ancient city of Bagan, southwest of Mandalay, has more than 2,000 Buddhist monuments in the countryside. The classic shot is the topmost sunrise vista of a temple dotted with hot-air balloons, but it's often very windy, so if you're set on that shot - or want to get yourself into a balloon - yourself Give at least three attempts. The Shwesandwa Pagoda is popular at sunrise, and you can visit one of its top decks and point your camera towards the powerful Sulaimani and Dhammayan temples. Although it is a naff place in itself, the modern Nain Myint observation tower is a great place for observation shots, and is surrounded by small, secluded and incredibly picturesque temples. Here e-bikes are transported along dusty tracks, and exploring the plantation on its own is highly addictive. Some of the recent earthquake damage makes it more photogenic.
6. Krabi Province, Thailand
Another area that has hundreds of crustiest limestone formations is Krabi cliffs, hot springs, sea caves, mangroves, springs, boulders and more than 150 islands in southern Thailand. From (the world's best) rock climbing and climbing to coral beaches and to the Castaway Islands, its 120 km beach is also a surprise for divers. Some of the best places to be photographed during a trip to Krabi include Nong Thale Lake, Phra Nang Beach (Railway Bay), West Railway Beach, Blue Pool, Emerald Pool and Fei-Fei Viewpoint. There are only three places in the world where the structure of karate is offshore; Krabi, Ha Long Bay and the Dalmatian coast of Croatia.
For many landscape photographers, Asia is about the Himalayas. You can of course sample them in Nepal, Tibet and India, but there are few better places for photographers than in this small remote country. Open to visitors only since 1974, the Kingdom of Bhutan's most famous pilgrimage site is Takatsang Lakhang, also known as Tiger's Nest. Expect snow-capped mountain beds, prayer flags and maroon-wandering monks. For now, it's still off the beaten track, but for how long?
8. Yakushima, Japan
Crowds and postcards can be found at Mount Fuji, south of Tokyo, but a little away from the tip of Japan's southern province of Kyushu is the famous island that landscape photographers should visit. An hour by ferry from Kagoshima, Yakushima is covered with incredible cedar forests and is the inspiration for Studio Ghibli's film Princess Mononoke. For a Arkak to its Arkawa trailhead that takes you to another jungle; Think of moss-covered rocks, streams and huge cedar trees with the presence of reindeer and monkeys. As a bonus, to the northwest of this UNESCO World Heritage Island is Nagata Inca-Hama, a beach with seasonal loggerhead turtle nesting grounds. However, be careful; Yakushima is one of the most spectacular places on the planet, so be prepared.
9. Kerala, India
Is it the most picturesque state in India? From quaint canals on its gentle backwaters to tea gardens and spice farms in its rolling Cardamon Hills, there are few more colorful locations on the planet. A good place to start is Fort Kochi, a small town with a fading colonial feel. Nearby is Alleppey / Alappuzha, where the backwaters begin; This water world is one of the canals, houseboats, and pure Chinese fishing on the banks are pure contraceptives, and the sunsets are spectacular. Inland is Munnar and its many beautiful tea estates, and the Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary at Thekkady, which protects forests, lakes, elephants and (rather elusive) tigers.
10. Siem Reap, Cambodia
There is only one reason photographers come to Siem Reap: the huge temple complex of Angkor Wat spread over 400 square kilometers. The main temple is very crowded at dawn, but with an early start you can find yourself a place for sunrise to occupy its five towers reflected in the ponds in front. If that is too busy - or too much of a cliché - for you, nearby Phnom Bekheng on Angkor Hill is also a great (and very quiet) place for sunrise and sunset. For the jungle shots, a temple is again known as Pro - Ta Prom - 'Tomb Raider Temple', and again to the mighty crowd (before 07:30 am of course) Cut it out. However, do not neglect the dozens of other temples in the extensive Angkor Wat Archaeological Park; Most are ignored, and it's not hard to find one all by yourself. There are floating villages in the nearby Great Tonle Sap Lake, even for photographs.