Top Ten Books to Read Before Your Holiday in Thailand

May 2024
Top ten books to read in Thailand before you travel

1. "Thailand: A Short History" by David K. Wyatt

Why Read It: This comprehensive yet accessible history book offers an in-depth look into Thailand’s past, from ancient times to the modern era. Understanding the country’s rich history will deepen your appreciation for its culture and traditions.

Ideal For: History enthusiasts and those who want a foundational understanding of Thailand.

You can find the book here...

2. "Bangkok Wakes to Rain" by Pitchaya Sudbanthad

Why Read It: This contemporary novel beautifully interweaves multiple narratives spanning different eras in Bangkok. It captures the city's essence, blending past, present, and future in a poetic manner.

Ideal For: Fiction lovers and those intrigued by the complexity of urban life.

You can find out more in this review in the Guardian...

3. "The Beach" by Alex Garland

Why Read It: Although a work of fiction, this novel is set in Thailand and explores themes of paradise, utopia, and the sometimes dark side of backpacker culture. It’s a gripping read that will make you think about the ethical aspects of tourism.

Ideal For: Thriller enthusiasts and those curious about the backpacking scene.

You can buy the book or better yet watch the film before you leave home. It is a fantastic experience featuring Leonardo De Caprio and captures the idea of backpacking through Thailand perfectly. 


4. "Anna and the King of Siam" by Margaret Landon

Why Read It: This classic novel is based on the true story of Anna Leonowens, an Englishwoman who became a tutor to the children of King Mongkut of Siam. It provides a fascinating glimpse into 19th-century Thai court life.

Ideal For: Fans of historical fiction and those interested in royal history.

Another ideal bit of entertaining research before you go that can be read or watched or even enjoyed at the Theatre. 


5. "Sightseeing" by Rattawut Lapcharoensap

Why Read It: This collection of short stories offers poignant insights into Thai society and culture, from the perspective of both locals and expatriates. Each story is a gem, reflecting the complexities of life in Thailand.

Ideal For: Short story aficionados and those seeking a diverse literary experience.

Top Five Books to Read While Relaxing on the Beach in Thailand

1. "The Windup Girl" by Paolo Bacigalupi

Why Read It: Set in a future Thailand where biotechnology and energy scarcity shape society, this sci-fi novel is a thrilling and imaginative escape. It’s perfect for beach reading, combining action with thought-provoking themes.

Ideal For: Science fiction fans and those looking for a captivating read.

2. "Letters from Thailand" by Botan

Why Read It: This novel, written in the form of letters from a Chinese immigrant in Thailand to his mother back home, provides a moving narrative about identity, culture clash, and the immigrant experience in Thailand.

Ideal For: Those interested in diaspora stories and cultural exploration.

3. "Fieldwork" by Mischa Berlinski

Why Read It: This mystery novel follows an American anthropologist investigating the death of a missionary in Northern Thailand. It’s an engaging read with rich descriptions of rural Thai life and culture.

Ideal For: Mystery lovers and those fascinated by anthropology.

4. "The Last Executioner" by Chavoret Jaruboon

Why Read It: This memoir of Thailand’s last executioner provides a unique perspective on the country’s criminal justice system and the moral complexities faced by someone in his position. It’s a compelling and eye-opening read.

Ideal For: Memoir enthusiasts and those interested in true crime.

5. "Four Reigns" by Kukrit Pramoj

Why Read It: This classic Thai novel, spanning the reigns of four kings, portrays the life of an ordinary Thai woman and offers rich insights into Thai culture and society over several decades. It’s both entertaining and educational.

Ideal For: Fans of epic sagas and those who appreciate detailed cultural narratives.