Thailand Travel Books

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APA Insight Guides. Thailand. Singapore: APA Publications, 1995. Superb photography and lush text make this a useful introduction to the country. Read before traveling.

Clarac, Achille. Guide to Thailand. Malaysia: Oxford University Press, 1981. Published over a decade ago, but still the most comprehensive guide to the architecture of Thailand. Dated travel information but highly recommended for historical background and temple descriptions.

Jones, Tristan. To Venture Further. Grafton: Hearst Marine Books, 1988. Amazing true tale of how the author and his crew completed the first crossing of the Isthmus of Kra in a longtail boat; both Jones and his assistants were disabled or amputees. A memorial to the crossing is found on the southern coast of Phuket.

O’Reilly, James, and Larry Habegger. Travelers’ Tales Thailand. Sebastopol, CA: O’Reilly & Associates, 1993. The first of a new series of travel books designed to deepen and enrich your experience in Thailand. Rather than do another guidebook, O’Reilly & Associates collected the finest descriptive writings of 46 talented writers, such as Pico Iyer, Simon Winchester, Norman Lewis, and John Hoskins. Excellent background reading.

Smithies, Michael. Old Bangkok. Singapore: Oxford University Press, 1988. Professor Smithies leads you around modern Bangkok but describes the modern attractions in erudite terms.

Valli, Eric, and Diane Summers. Nest Gatherers of Tiger Cave. London: Thames and Hudson, 1992. Large-format photography of birds’ nests in Southern Thailand. The authors spent over a year living and working with nest collectors on Ko Phi Phi.

Veran, Geo. 50 Trips through Siam’s Canals. Bangkok: Duang Kamol, 1979. A fascinating but outdated guide to the confusing labyrinth of rivers and canals that stretch across southern Thailand. Included are over 30 maps, Thai prices, and brief descriptions of the temples. Later attempts to describe these canals have been less than successful.