Best Books On Thailand: What To Read Before Visiting Thailand

A Thai reading list will either set the scene before your trip to the country or you will enjoy them while traveling.

Thailand has an incredibly splendid and rich history. Before your Thailand holidays, we urge you to read some of the wonderful books on the country or carry them with you, to learn better about the colorful history of Thailand. Let us uncover the breadth of imagination of some of the popular Thai authors and their incredible literary works.

Four Reigns by Kukrit Pramoj

This epic novel by Kukrit Pramoj follows a woman’s life spanning the reigns of four kings – Rama V to Rama VIII – from the 1890s to the second world war. Phloi at the age of 10 goes to live in the royal palace in Bangkok with her mother, who serves as a minor courtier. The book describes the eventful life of Phloi, inside as well as outside the royal palace. The novel adequately reflects massive changes occurring within the country, covering historic events taking place at home and abroad. ‘Four Reigns’ is regarded as a classic in Thailand.

Sightseeing by Rattawut Lapcharoensap

Sightseeing is the author Rattawut Lapcharoensap’s debut literary work, comprising six short stories and a novella. All the stories are set in contemporary Thailand and the author’s mixed Thai-American heritage serves as an axis on which spins a lucid kaleidoscope of all the facets of Thailand’s culture viewed from native ground level and also from the perspective of the outsiders, like ex-pats and tourists.

Bangkok Found by Alex Kerr

Alex Kerr during his middle years began spending 6 months a year in Bangkok, the city that he refers to as his home now. In ‘Bangkok Found’ the author illuminates Thai culture and art with immense verve and unconcealed joy is exhibited in his writings. The excitement Kerr feels as he dives headfirst into the world of Thai art and antiques dealing is palpable.

Bright by Duanwad Pimwana

Duanwad Pimwana through his novel ‘Bright’ shines a light down the ends of those roads that would otherwise remain blank spaces at the edge of our periphery. The story takes place in and around a working-class housing project run by the stern Mrs. Tongjan. Pimwana highlights the stark difference between two communities – the working-class people and the wealthy people of Thailand.

A History of Thailand by Chris Baker and Pasuk Phongpaichit

This accessible and engaging history primarily concentrates on the social, political, and economic forces that shaped contemporary Thailand. Both the authors uncover how ruling nobles, Chinese migrants, unfree laborers, and Buddhism became part of the mix as Thailand transitioned from a culturally and linguistically disparate region into a homogenized nation-state under the rule of a strong monarchy.

Thailand’s literary scene is very exciting and dense, we have only scratched the surface here. Do some more digging to know about Thailand before your holidays.

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