News Media

The Bangkok Post
English language newspaper. The Internet edition is useful but not as comprehensive as the print version (unless you subscribe). The on-line Archives, which go back to 1997, are a useful source.
The Nation
Another English language newspaper with online version and searchable archives.
Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand
The FCCT weekly bulletin is available on line from the website, and includes details of events at the club, most of which concern current issues in Thailand and South East Asia. All events are open to non-members.
The Chiang Mai Mail
Weekly news, travel and culture of Northern Thailand with good Archive section.
The Pattaya Mail
Pattaya news for tourists and ex-pats.
The Phuket Gazette
Phuket news for tourists and ex-pats.

Travel Guides

The Rough Guide to Thailand

Paul Gray & Lucy Ridout,
Well up to the normal standard of this famous series; full of practical information and well researched historical detail.
Lonely Planet: Thailand
Joe Cummings et al.
Another excellent guide from another well known series.
DK Books Eyewitness Guide
Perhaps not as detailed as Rough Guides, or Lonely Planet, the Doring Kindersley series is noteworthy for its copious use of high quality illustrations and photographs.

John Hoskins, Asia Books
One of my favorite guide books on Thailand, though not currently in print, I believe. I especially like the author's use of excerpts from early writers on Thailand.
Three Pagodas:
Christian Goodden,
Jungle Books(Halesworth),
P.O.Box 15, Halesworth,
Suffolk, IP19 0DY, England
A Journey down the Thai-Burmese Border
Contemporary adventure travel; lots of background and historical detail on the Karen, the Shan, the Wa, and other ethnic groups who flit across the borders of the golden triangle.
Around Lan-Na:

Christian Goodden, Jungle Books(Halesworth),
P.O.Box 15, Halesworth,
Suffolk, IP19 0DY, England
A Guide to Thailand's Northern Border Region
Similar style to "Three Pagodas", but covering the Laos border area. Originally I put both books in the history Section because of their wealth of historical detail.

Historical Background

A Child of the Northeast
Kampoon Boontawee,
trans. Susan Fulop Kepner

Pouyzian Publisher
Childhood in the impoverished Isan (North East) region of Thailand in the 1930's, without electricity or mains water; a diet of sticky rice, bugs, frogs, snakes etc; a climate which often promised rain but sometimes withheld it for several years together.

Delightful book, heartily recommended.
From Siam to Thailand
Jorges Orgibet
Kofco (Thailand) Ltd, 1982
Some copies may be
available from the FCCT
Jorges Orgibet arrived in Bangkok just after WWII as a member of the US War Information Service. A friend and colleague of the legendary Jim Thompson, he became later a foreign correspondent, and a co-founder of the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand.

His account of Thailand just after the second world war is witty and informative, as are his accounts of trips up-country in home made rail vehicles

William Warren, 2002
Reaktion Books Ltd.,
An entertaining historical view of Modern Bangkok by long time Bangkok afficianado William Warren.
Journals of the Siam Society
Many authoritative writers on Thailand have published articles in the society journal, an excellent source of historical and cultural material.
A History of Thailand
Chris Baker and Pasuk Phongpaichit,
Cambridge University Press, 2005
This most recent English language history of Thailand, though it covers earlier periods, concentrates on the modern period, from the fall of Ayutthaya to the present day; especially strong on the Vietnam War era.
Thailand a short history
David K.Wyatt, 2004
Silkworm Books,
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Probably the best known English language general history of Thailand from early times through to the present, now in a second edition.
Documents sur l'Histoire Politique
et Religieuse du Laos Occidental

Georges Coedes, 1923
French translations of extended extracts from the Pali Chronicles Jinakalamalini and Camadevivamsa, which tell the story of the early Mon kingdom of Haripunchaya.
The Royal Chronicles of Ayutthaya

Transl. by Richard D. Cushman,
edited by David K Wyatt,
Siam Society
A composite English translation of the Royal Chronicles of Ayutthaya, showing variant readings from the many source documents.
The Chiang Mai Chronicle
David K Wyatt and Aroonrut Wichienkeeo,
Silkworm Books, Chiang Mai, Thailand
English translation of the Chiang Mai Chronicle from Palm Leaf Manuscripts.
Description of the Kingdom of Siam 1638
Jeremias Van Vliet, in "Van Vliet's Siam",
Silkworm Books, Chiang Mai, Thailand
Van Vliet was an employee of the Dutch East India Company in the early 17th century. His 4 works on Siam are among the earliest European accounts of the kingdom.
Siamese White
Maurice Collis
Faber & Faber, 2008
An enthralling biography of Samuel White, a British adventurer and pirate, protégé of Constantine Phaulcon, another adventurer who rose to prominence at the court of King Narai of Ayutthaya.
A Thousand Miles on an Elephant in the Shan States.
Holt S. Hallett,
White Lotus Press, Bangkok
The Shan States were the Thai speaking states of Burma, North Thailnd and Laos in the late 19th Century. Hallett was tasked with a survey for a railway connecting British Burma with Southern Yunnan, and this book is an account of his travels. Full of cultural and ethnic detail, it is my personal favorite among the early travel writings on Thailand.
Surveying and Exploring in Siam
James McCarthy, White Lotus Press, Bangkok
McCarthy spent many years, in the late nineteenth century, surveying the borders of Siam, as it was then known, on behalf of the Thai Government. His book contains much historical detail on the border areas of the kingdom.
Travels in Siam Cambodia, Laos, and Annam
Henri Mouhot, White Lotus Press,
Bangkok, Thailand
First published in 1862, the book has much interesting detail on Indo China in the middle of the 19th Century. His descriptions of the ruins at Angkor Wat caused a sensation in London and Paris.
Description of the Thai kingdom or Siam
Monseigneur J.B. Pallegoix,
translated by Walter E.J. Tips,
White Lotus Press, Bangkok
Originally published in Paris in 1854, Monseigneur Pallegoix describes a Thailand and Bangkok in the earlier part of the 19th century. Taken with Antonio's book of 50 years later, it provides an illuminating glimpse into the evolution of modern Thailand.
The 1904 Traveller's Guide to Bangkok and Siam.
J Antonio, White Lotus Press, Bangkok, 1997
Antonio was a professional photographer and the book has many interesting photographs of Thailand at the beginning of the 20th century.
The Tai Race:
Elder Brother of the Chinese
William Clifton Dodd,
White Lotus Press,
Bangkok, 1996
Operating as a missionary in Indo-China in the early part of the 20th Century, William Clifton Dodd was neither a linguist nor a historian, though he aspired to be both. Despite the missionary fervor, historical and linguistic inaccuracy, the book has some interesting photographs and background material.
The English Governess and the Siamese Court
Anna Leonowens, 1870
Not much admired in Thailand as it was perceived as disrespectful towards King Rama IV, but interesting for historical background. Her writing is rather flowery for modern taste, but her mind was sharp enough, and her observation sometimes illuminating. Her mind was surprisingly sensitive to Buddhist thought and practice.

Thai Buddhism

The Buddha in the Jungle
Kamala Tiyavanich, 2003
Silkworm Books, Chiang Mai,
Buddhism as people lived it in villages far remote from Bangkok, just before the modern era. Full of fascinating detail of Thailand before the Vietnam war and the destruction of the primaeval jungles.
Forest Recollections
Kamala Tiyavanich, 1997
Silkworm Books, Chiang Mai,

Stories of the "thudong" monks, Buddhist ascetics who wandered the mountains and jungles of Thailand, Burma, Cambodia and Laos. This superb book describes a way of life that has almost vanished in the short period since the Vietnam war.

Sons of the Buddha
Kamala Tiyavanich, 2007
Silkworm Books, Chiang Mai,
In her latest book, Kamala Thiyavanich brings to life rural southern Thailand in the first half of the twentieth century, through the early lives of three Buddhist masters: Ajahn Buddhadasa (often known in the west as Buddhadasa Bhikku), Ajahn Panya, and Ajahn Jumnien.
Phra Farang: An English Monk in Thailand
Phra Peter Pannapadipo,
Post Books,
136 Na Ranong Rd.,
Bangkok 10110
The charm of this book, is the simple, humorous and unpretentious style, in which the author describes his own spiritual, cultural and intellectual journey, step by step.
Good Morning Buddha
Phra Peter Pannapadipo,
Post Books,
136 Na Ranong Rd.,
Bangkok 10110
A beautiful little book which presents the essential teachings of Buddhism in a simple but not simplistic manner. Certainly the most approachable book I have read on this topic.
One Step at a Time:
Phra Peter Pannapadipo,
Post Books,
136 Na Ranong Rd.,
Bangkok 10110
Buddhist meditation for absolute beginners.

"To expect anything in meditation, to want, desire, or crave for results, defeats the entire purpose of the practice,which is the elimination of craving."
A Handbook fror Mankind
Buddhadasa Bhikku, 1956
Available by free download from:
Originally a series of talks given in 1956 to a group of prospective judges.
Heart Wood from the Bo Tree
Buddhadasa Bhikku, 1961
Available by free download from:
One of the most famous Thai Buddhist philosophers. He quotes as the heart of Buddhist teaching:

"Nothing whatsoever should be clung to" and adds: "Then the Buddha emphasized this point by saying that whoever had heard this core phrase had heard all of the teachings".
No Religion
Buddhadasa Bhikku, 1967
Available by free download from:
"No Religion" was originally a talk given to a Bangkok Buddhist group in 1967, given in a spontaneous and informal style, but explaining complex ideas with outstanding clarity.

Thai Arts and Architecture

Monuments of the Buddha in Siam
Prince Damromg Rajahnubhab 1926,
trans. Sulak Sivaraksa and A.B. Griswold,
The Siam Society, Bangkok
A classic work first written in 1926, republished by the Siam Society with new annotations to update the historical research.

The Arts of Thailand Alexander
B. Griswold, 1960
Indiana University Press
This book was written for an Exhibition of Thai Architecture, Sculpture and Painting in the U.S.A. in 1960-62.
The Arts of Thailand
Steve Van Beek and
Luca Invernizzi Tettoni
Periplus Publishing Group 1999
Buddhist Arts of Thailand
Charuwan Chareonla, 1981
Buddha Dharma Education Association Inc.
Available by free download from:
Ms. Charuwan's M.A. Thesis, submitted to Maghadh University, Bodh Gaya, India in 1983. A detailed history of the development of Thai Buddhist Art.
Thai - Cambodian Culture:
Relationship through Arts

Charuwan Pungthian, 2000
(formerly Charuwan Chareonla),
Buddha Dharma Education Association Inc.
Available by free download from:
Ms. Charuwan's Doctoral Thesis, submitted to Magadh University in 2000. Recommended as an accompaniment to the author's earlier work on Thai Buddhist Art (above).
Nine Temples of Bangkok
Helen Bruce 1960
Rung Ruang Ratana Press,
47 Phuang Nakorn Rd., Bangkok
A study of nine of the most famous temples of Bangkok, before Bangkok was on the international travel circuit, unfortunately no longer in print.
The Journal of the Siam Society
(JSS)1904 - 2011
The Siam Society, Bangkok
A rich source of research and book reviews on Thailand, dating back over 100 years.

Thai Language

Thai for Beginners
Benjawan Poomsan Becker,
Paiboon Publishing,
PMB 192, 1442A Walnut Street,
Berkeley, California
USA 94709

Excellent introduction to spoken and written Thai. The tapes/discs are good, too.
Thai for Intermediate Learners
Benjawan Poomsan Becker,
Paiboon Publishing,
PMB 192, 1442A Walnut Street,
Berkeley, California
USA 94709

I particularly like the structured approach to vocabulary, and also the Thai cultural information included
The Fundamentals of the Thai Language
Stuart Campbell and Chuan Shaweevongs,
Paragon Book Gallery,
14 East 38th Street,
New York 10016.
The classic introduction to the Thai Language, now in its phonetically much improved 6th Edition.
New Model Thai-English Dictionary
So Sethaputra, Thai Wadana Publishers,
Bangkok, Tel:(662)2210111-5,
FAX (662)2256589

Cultural Background

Thai Ways
Silkworm Books, Chiang Mai, Thailand
The author's humorous and sympathetic account of Thai life and culture , as experienced by a westerner living in Bangkok with his Thai wife
More Thai Ways
Dennis Segaller, Post Books,
136 Na Ranong Rd., Bangkok 10110
More Thai Ways

Thai Food

The Taste of Thailand
Vatcharin Bhumichitr,
Pavillion Books Ltd,
26 Upper Ground,
London SE1 9PD
Great food, beautiful photos of Thailand and, of course, of Thai food).

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