Coke & Som Smith Photography & Travelogue


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Asia Travelogue

There are few places on earth that I have traveled more extensively than Asia.  Having visited practically every country on the continent and having "lived" (ie, seen the changes of at least two seasons!) in four countries in Asia, I have always felt at home there.  Som, being a native of Thailand, is of course very much at home!  We plan to ultimately make our permanent homes in Southeast Asia.  The below trips represent over 25 years of travel experiences to this amazing continent.


Be sure to visit our other Photo Galleries for more spectacular images of our travels! (Pbase Galleries)




Wildlife of the Tibetan Plateau!


For years I wanted to visit the Tibetan Plateau and follow the footsteps of George Schaller.  Year after year, plans were deflected for various reasons.  But finally in the fall of 2012, I was able to visit Qinghai Province and spend time with such amazing species as Tibetan Antelopes, Gazelles, Wolves and Kiang!  With at least 18 mammals credited to the expedition, it was a smashing success!

Fall in Nakhon!


We had nine days off during the Golden Week Holiday in China and Som and Cokie decided they wanted to head back to Thailand with Tina Bui for a quick visit to Som's family.  They had a great time, great food and some quality family get-togethers.  Here are the pics of their adventure!





Wildlife Expedition to Viet Nam!

Who would have believed that seven field days in Viet Nam could net 27-28 species of mammals!?  Spring Break 2012 was the Smith family's adventure to Viet Nam.  We had great wildlife experiences and also shared the wonderful cuisine and culture of Viet Nam visiting Saigon, Hue, Hoi An, Danang, as well as Cat Tien, Bach Ma and Phong Nha National Parks searching for some of the rarest primates on earth!


Wildlife Expedition to Japan's Chubu!


Our first serious roadtrip in Japan!  Finally we've shed the shackles of the Japan-rail Pass and rented our first car!  This classic roadtrip allowed us to visit some of Honshu's most remote and difficult to reach areas and experience much of the region's rich nature and wildlife.  From Japanese Macaques to Japanese Grosbeaks, we had a spectacular 9-day expedition to the great Chubu!



Thailand's Tenasserim Bio Region!


After going on three decades of exploring Thailand,we've reached the point of in-depth exploration.  On this trip, we spent two weeks venture deep in to Thailand's Tenasserim region searching for and finding dozens of species and having some phenomenal wilderness experiences! We came across a very rare population of Langurs as well as spotting at least five of the six-report Spoon-bill Sandpipers seen in Thailand this year!  What a great trip!




Expedition to India!


During our winter break, we spent 24 intense days seeing some of the most spectacular wildlife possible on the Indian Subcontinent.  Our trip encompassed indepth exposures to several national parks and reserves in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Assam.  With ten wild tigers and 51 other species of mammals, the trip was a great success! 





 Our New Lives in China!

In August of 2010, the Smith family made a significant change in life.  We sold our home on the Olympic Peninsula and moved everything to Thailand and then we went onward to start our new lives in Shanghai, China.  Log on to this webpage to see our amazing adventures in our new home.




Expedition to Borneo

Borneo is simply one of the most amazing wildlife destinations on the planet.  This trip report will show you how we found over 40 species of mammals in some of the most spectacular regions remaining on this ecologically distressed island. 




Expedition to Wild Thailand

Thailand is famous for wonderful white sand beaches, incredible food an ancient culture, yet very few spend time searching for Thailand's amazing wildlife.  The last stand for much of the last remaining stretches of Southeast Asian wilderness, Thailand is home to hundreds of species of mammals, birds and herps!  This trip report summarizes the countless trips our family has taken to Thailand's numerous wild areas.  We have become quite skilled at finding rare and difficult to see species.  Enjoy our tales!




Christmas in Thailand

This was a special tour we designed for some friends from Port Angeles.  We had a great two week trip to Thailand which allowed us to see the sites and wildlife of Thailand in cooler conditions.  Although the trip was a mix of activities, ranging from cultural sites and to cooking school, we were able to nail down a couple dozen mammals and over 100 birds! 



Taste of Thailand

As a result of many years of teaching Thai Cooking classes at Peninsula College, Som developed a large list of students who wanted to travel to Thailand to see the country for themselves!  This trip report details the daily program for this very successful and popular trip. 



Temples and Buddha: The Great Buddhist Heritage of Thailand

During the summers of 2003 and 2004, Som, Cokie and I spent many weeks on the roads of Thailand venturing in to some of the most remote temples on one of our classic "theme" expeditions.  We spent time exploring dozens of Thailand's most spectacular and ancient cultural sites and temples.  From Ayudthaya to Chiang Mai, we had a rare opportunity to see the transitions in art, architecture and culture over the centuries.




The Great Angkor Wat of Cambodia

Without a doubt one of the most spectacular ancient sites anywhere on the planet, the great Angkor is a must see for any travel enthusiast.  I have been fortunate to have been to the temple complex three times, but sharing the Wats of the ancient city with Som and Cokie in 2004 was a high point in my travel career.



Viet Nam: Twenty Years After

When Viet Nam opened up to the West in 1994, my late wife, Lien Dinh, and I wasted no time at all to get right over there and spend many months in the country experiencing first hand what had changed during the previous 20 years of communist rule.  An amazing life-changing homecoming for Lien, and an in-my-face history lesson for myself, Viet Nam was one of the most important travels I have ever participated in.


China: From Guilin to Chengdu

Not sure how we did it, but somehow in 1994, we were able to squeeze in a month in China and were able to see some of the most specacular sites in this amazing nation.  From pandas to Guilin to the Stone Forest of Kunming, we were extremely impressed with the natural beauty of China.  Now that I have been there three more times, I know I am a long way from seeing this country thoroughly!


 Spectacular Northern Japan

Who thinks of wildlife and nature when they are thinking about Japan?  I do!  Japan is still home to a wonderful assemblage of wild animals and natural ecosystems - especially in the far north.  This trip report centers on several trips taken to the north of Japan and highlights the wildlife and natural sites seen in the this region.


Historical Japan

During the past 25 years I have had the priviledge of visiting the "land of the rising sun" many times.  Japan's cultural and historical heritage has always been a fascinating study for me.  This trip report is a summary of many of the culturally and historically-oriented trips I and my family have taken to Japan.




Korea for the Day

Who woulda' thunk that spending a simple ten hours in Korea during a cold January day in 2009, we would have been able to see more than 25 species of Asian birds and tons of cultural sites in and around Seoul.  This is the brief report of the Smith family doing exactly that!


 Wildlife Safari in India

There is nothing quite like seeing a tiger in the wild.  Nepal and India are two of the few places remaining on earth where this is still possible.  This trip report will summarize a trip taken to the subcontinent in 1996 during the founding expedition for La Selva Expeditions.  Although this trip was just a hint of what the region has to offer, India is still high on my list of places to visit again and again!



Searching for Komodo Dragons, Orang-utans & Javan Rhinos

With 17,000 islands, there is no wonder that Indonesia is still home to these amazing living fossils!  My 1996 expedition to the islands of Flores, Rinja and Komodo will be discussed in this trip report.  And there is more than just dragons on those islands!  I will also highlight my visits to Java, Sulawesi and Sumatra!


Primorye: In Search of the Siberian Tiger & the Amur Leopard & Derzu Usala

Initially a two week expedition that was designed to fill time between trips, Primorye ended up being one of the most impressives places we've ever visited.  Filled with great wilderness and wildlife, this region of Russian Asia is an amazing wildlife destination.



Kamchatka: Land of Fire

Being very high on my list, we finally made it to Kamchatka, Russia in July of 2007.  Two weeks spent exploring the mainland of the peninsula and cruising the vast wild coast of Kamchatka allowed quality wildlife sightings of many species of marine and terrestrial animals.  The floral spectacle witnessed this time of year is phenomenal as well.  What an amazing trip!

 Russia's Commander Islands 

Defininitely someplace I never dreamed I would see first hand, the Commander Islands were a mystery to me.  After spending the more than a week there in 2007, I was floored by the vast assemblage of animal species on the islands that comprise the Commanders.  Perhaps some of the most impressive sights on the Commanders were the massive "bird bazaars" that were found literally everywhere!



The Wilderness of Lake Baikal & Buryatia Russia

 A more impressive wilderness would be difficult to find anywhere on the planet.  Lake Baikal is massive and spectacular.  In this trip report, you will learn how we spent two weeks traveling by fishing trauler up and down the length of this massive fresh water body insearch of nerpa, brown bears, souslix and many more species of Russian animals.  The flora was phenomenal as well!





The Transiberian Express: From Moscow to Irkutsk

 No travel career is complete without some days spent aboard the Transsiberian Express.  What was initially designed as a cheap mode of transportation across Russia ended up being a fantastic adventure with local Russian folks and their families crossing one the greatest wildernesses on the planet!




The Kuril Islands: It Just Don't Get More Remote Than This!

 The Kurils are about as far out there as one can get!  Filled with marine wildlife, the islands are volcanic wonders stretching from Russia to Japan.  We spent two weeks in 2007 cruising and experiencing the island wilderness areas of the Kurils.  Truly amazing places!





Expdedition to Nepal

Nepal is an amazing wildlife and nature destination. Situated in a transition zone between the Terai lowlands and the Himalaya, Nepal is home to a mosaic of ecosystems and a wealth of species.  My two trips to the region rank up there as some the best mammaling and birding I have ever done!




Our Hill Tribe Journey Through Thailand!

In 2003 and 2004, Som and I traveled the hinterlands of northwestern Thailand in search of the Hill Tribe cultures found there.  We had many weeks of experiences with these fascinating people.  We visited their villages and homes and even participated in their traditions.  We have since become close friends with many and continue to visit them. This webpage highlights some of our many experiences.













Be sure to visit our other Photo Galleries for more spectacular images of our travels! (Pbase Galleries)