BANGKOK (AP) — Sure, the Eiffel Tower, the Taj Mahal and the Grand Canyon have inspired many photographs. But a shopping mall in Bangkok has claimed this year's crown as the world's most photographed location on Instagram.
In its Top 10 year-end list, the photo-sharing app dubbed Siam Paragon as the planet's most "Instagrammed" spot in 2013. It edged out No. 2 Times Square and No. 3 Disneyland in California on the list that also includes New York's Central Park and Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.
Paris' iconic steel tower got bumped off the list. And if Siam Paragon seems like an improbable winner consider this: last year's most "Instagrammed" place was again from Thailand — Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport, which this year was at No. 9.
Instagram spokeswoman Tiffany Testo said in an email response that the California-based company does not release data on how many pictures were taken.
The luxury mall in the heart of Bangkok is not exactly a world-famous landmark. Sightseeing visitors to the city typically head first to the majestic Grand Palace or take in the serenity of Buddhist temples like Wat Pho. The mall is a trendy meeting place in Bangkok that claims to have more than 100,000 visitors a day. But why is it so avidly photographed?
"All the celebrities come here and post photos of themselves," said Sayamon Srichai, a 33-year-old Bangkok office worker walking past Paragon's tropical Christmas garden with an outstretched arm as she smiled for her smartphone. "Regular people like me want to walk in their footsteps."
Thailand has long been called the Land of Smiles, but it could also be called the Land of Selfies. Thais love taking pictures of themselves, documenting their daily activities and uploading the images instantly so friends know what they're up to. The Southeast Asian country is also one world's biggest users of social media, which could explain why a building that may not be the most photographed in the world still ends up as the most visible on Instagram.