8 Best Books to read before your trip to Thailand
Sightseeing by Rattawut Lapcharoensap
A collection of stories by a young Thai-American author. Set in contemporary Thailand, the stories present an honest picture of a variety of life situations, family bonds and cultural differences.
Last Man Out: Surviving the Burma-Thailand Death Railway: A Memoir by H. Robert Charles
After invading Burma and seizing control of the colony from the United Kingdom, Japan began works on the railway route between Thailand and Burma. Alongside Southeast Asian civilian labors, more than 60 thousand Allied prisoners of war were forced into slave labor building the infamous ’Death Railway’. Written by a survivor, the book describes the horrifying conditions and brutalisation of POWs, during the construction of the railway.
Four Reigns by Kukrit Pramoj
A historical novel set in Thailand (Siam). The book covers the reigns of four consecutive Thai kings; Kings Rama V through VIII. It tells a story of Moe Phloi, who as a daughter of a Minor wife grew up in the inner court of Grand Palace. A recommended read for anyone interested in Thai history and culture.
Private Dancer by Stephen Leather
Private Dancer tells a story of Pete, a travel writer who moves to Bangkok and falls in love with the beautiful pole dancer Joy from the notorious Nana Plaza. After a while Pete realises that Joy is not who she claims to be. Written as a cautionary tale, the book shows the darker site of Bangkok.
The Beach by Alex Garland
An adventure novel set in Thailand. A young English backpacker Richard, joined by a French couple set on a journey to find an isolated and untouched by tourism beach paradise.
The River’s Tale: A Year on the Mekong by Edward Gargan
A 2003 memoir from a 300 mile journey down the Mekong River, from it’s source in Himalayas to mouth in the Mekong Delta through Tibet, China, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Blending history and personal experiences Edward Gargan offers a very insightful view into the culture, politics and geography of the region.
Jim Thompson: The Unsolved Mystery by William Warren
A book about life and mysterious disappearance of a famous American businessman and expatriate in Thailand Jim Thompson. In the 1950s and 1960s Thompson became famous for changing the future of Thai silk industry. He disappeared in 1967 while on holidays in the Cameron Highlands retreat in Malaysia. His house in Bangkok is listed as one of tourist main attraction.
The Damage Done by Warren Fellows
A prison memoir by an Australian, Warren Fellow. In 1978 Warren was caught trying to smuggle heroin out of Thailand and sentenced to life imprisonment in the notorious Bang Kwang prison.