Incite a serious case of wanderlust with our guide to some of the best books about Travel, Thailand and Phuket. From light-hearted tales of first travels to deeper looks in the history and culture of the Lands of Smiles, there’s something in here for everyone.
Thailand is a place of wonders and excitement, from the beautiful emerald blue seas of the Thai Islands to the loud sounds and smells of the back streets of exotic and fascinating Bangkok.
Add these books to your reading list for an extra push to visit for the first time, or a reminder to book that weekend getaway that’s been on your mind. It won’t be long till you’re munching down on some Pad Thai, sipping a coconut by the pool and saying “Sawasdee Ka!”
1. The Beach by Alex GarlandOne of the most well-known books for first-time travellers to Thailand is the classic, “The Beach” by Alex Garland. The story follows the tale of a young british backpacker that visits Thailand in search of a secluded idyllic paradise. The book portrays the excitement of visiting the busy city of Bangkok and the beauty of the Thai Islands. As the story continues, the protagonist, Richard meets fellow backpackers along the way and we see his journey get darker as he continues his search for his beach paradise.
Adapted to a film starring Leonardo Dicaprio, The Beach will quickly take you on an exotic ride. The film heavily features the now popular Maya Bay, in Phuket. Rent an apartment or studio in Patong, Phuket and visit the iconic spot.
2. Sightseeing by Rattawut LapcharoensapWritten by Chicago born, Bangkok raised Rattawut Lapcharoensap - Sightseeing is a collection of seven short stories capturing different explorations of Thai life. Written in first person, many of the stories but one are told from the point of view of teenagers. Some are heartwarming, some funny, some sad. These everyday Thai situations are a glimpse into the local world with a deeper perspective behind each.
Set in contemporary Thailand, it’s a fast read that will leave you wanting to learn more.
3. The Bridge Over The River Kwai by Pierre Boulle
For the historic buffs, written in the times (1952), The Bridge Over The River Kwai is a fictional depiction of the true story of the building of the Burma Railway. Many lives were lost to complete the railway, and the site still stands for many to visit in Kanchanaburi. The book takes you into the darker underbelly behind one of Thailand’s more historic sites. Following first person narrative you’ll find yourself getting lost in the analytical detail of his war experience and struggles.
The book was adapted to a film, winning seven Academy Awards and acclaimed as one of the best war films of all time.
4. Chant To Soothe Wild Elephants by Jaed CoffinA story of a Thai-American who leaves the west to come back to his mother hometown of Panomsarakram to become a monk. While Jaed’s memoir on his time is short his insight is deep as he shares his spiritual journey discovering life in the mountains and his cultural belonging.
An insight into the Buddhist culture and the life of monks, both of which are renowned and respected in Thailand.
5. Catching The Sun by Tony ParsonsTony Finn and his family abandon London to live on the tropical paradise that is Phuket, Thailand. Good and bad takeover as the family enjoy the beautiful turquoise waters of the Andaman sea but not without the ups and downs of adjusting to a new country.
Catching the sun will have you following Finn’s family and seeing, will Thailand bring them a new beginning?
6. Unlikely Destinations: The Lonely Planet Story by Tony and Maureen WheelerWhat better way to get you inspired than the founding story of every traveler’s handbook: Lonely Planet. If you’ve wandered into any travel section in a bookstore, you’re bound to see stacks of Lonely Planet guides. With picturesque pages and detailed information, the LP Guides are the number #1 traveler’s inspiration.
Go back to where it all started and read the Wheeler’s anecdotes and what led to the biggest travel guide publishing house. You’ll be adding Lonely Planet: Thailand’s Islands and Beaches to your collection in no time.
7. The Monocle Travel Guide, BangkokIn travel book style, The Monocle series covers popular travel destinations with tips, surprises and packaged with beautiful images. It’s the perfect guide to help you get the most out of exploring the neighborhood, from walking routes to street food locations. Discover Bangkok with this guide tucked in your back pocket.
Book your next adventure and pack one (or more!) of these Thailand and travel inspired books in your bag, as you discover the beauty of The Kingdom of Thailand for yourself.