Usually I’m not the biggest of readers when it comes to travel books as I rather experience things by myself. This however gives me some background knowledge when it comes to books covering places I spent lots of time at. So when I got approached to review this book I figured I could give it a try as I’ve been living here for a long time and probably have seen almost everything.
The Synopsis of “A Geek in Thailand” reads as follows:
A Geek in Thailand is a light-hearted but perceptive look at one of the world’s most visited countries from the viewpoint of a young foreign resident.
More than just a Thai travel guide, it offers a concise but insightful take on Thailand for tourists, expats, would-be expats, and others—anyone, in fact, with an interest in visiting or learning about the Land of Smiles.
Packed with short articles accompanied by sidebar stories and interviews and evocative color photographs, the author paints a vivid and revealing picture of a country built on a deep reverence for nation, religion and monarchy, yet with its own distinct, individualistic perspective.
Subjects range from the touchstones of Thai culture and history, such as its politics and economy, Buddhism and folklore, to chapters on traditional Thai design and craftsmanship, including its highly acclaimed architecture and fine silk textiles. There are also chapters on the globally popular Thai food and entertainment like kickboxing and cabaret. Chapters on the Thai character and cultural do’s and don’ts will allow the reader to go beyond the Thai smile.
For visitors to the country, the author includes his top ten things to see and do in the main tourist destinations as well as an account of the main festivals and tips on getting around.
So let’s get down to the review part. I did some research and check other reviews and they were all rather positive which increased my expectations. Before going into more detail I have to say that there is no one single travel book out there that would get a perfect review from me, neither does A Geek in Thailand. That doesn’t mean that it’s bad though.
What I like about the book is that it tries to go a bit deeper into detail in regards to cultural norms and happenings. It tries to explain common cultural phenomenons such as the ‘Thai Smile’, ‘Mai Pen Rai’ (heavily related to Kreng Jai) and more.
Moreover I appreciate the style. It’s not a normal (read ‘boring’) guide book but presents a rather hip and fancy magazine style which makes it more fun to flip through.
Lastly it also explains a few of the ‘weird’ habits you come across when spending more time in Thailand. Why do Thais always have those ‘inhalers’ handy for example? How does this happy ending thing in massage places work? And, as with every guide book about Thailand, you get your Ladyboy and Muay Thai insights.
Having all that said, that’s also a bit of the problem with A Geek in Thailand. It covers so many things and tries (sometimes a bit too hard) to be hip and talk about ‘all the cool’ things that it sometimes stays a bit superficial and only mentions facts that you could also get from Tripadvisor. It’s obviously rather difficult to make a book really interesting and stay up to date after it’s printed but I would have appreciated if the book would have gone into more details in more than just one occasion.
Overall A Geek in Thailand is a nice read that is easy to digest and might even give you a few more insights you haven’t had before. You can check it out at your local book store (Asia Books for example).
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