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Book Review

Book Review: by Lang Reid

72 Hours Amazing Thailand

I am always interested to read books promoting Thailand, and ones that have the logo of the Tourism Authority of Thailand should, one feels, be a cut above the rest.
72 Hours Amazing Thailand (ISBN 9-7897-4704-0 HM publishing in Bangkok, 2007) is a publication that has obviously had sponsorship from the MasterCard people, whose logo is also on the front cover (but it doesn’t stop there - MasterCard is all the way through this publication).
The book is divided into various sections such as Activities, Dining, Entertainment and Accommodation, Transportation and Communication, which may seem quite comprehensive, but in a book which has only 200 pages, with the last 14 being taken up by unashamed MasterCard ‘privileges’, then the sections are not at all large, or comprehensive. In the places to visit, Pattaya gets two pages, for example, whilst Chiang Mai does not exist.
The largest section is (not unexpectedly) Shopping, where the reader can go and attempt to melt his plastic, one presumes. In this section, the readers are pushed towards Siam Paragon and Central World, the better class shopping areas, and incidentally the more expensive ones!
In the Accommodation section, which was also one of the heftier ones, the hotels suggested were not the ultimately over-the-top expensive ones, but more of the boutique style; however, the room rates were not given, only how much discount you could get with the fantastic plastic.
Transportation is handled quite well and describes rail, road and water options, complete with some indications on prices.
Towards the back of the book are suggested routes to take in all the items previously mentioned. Each route is to take three days to cover all the attractions, but again this section really only applies to those visitors who have their own transport (or have hired a car using their key to the city, the MasterCard).
There are some new places at which to eat, but again the lack of price indication is an essential for the tourist, but omitted.
This is a well produced book, good feel to it, glossy pages and at B. 250 on Bookazine’s shelf it is not an expensive primer for the visitor who has only 72 hours to spare in Bangkok. However, if the visitor wants to discover some of the areas where there are recommended hotels, I really feel that 72 hours is cutting it all a bit fine, with the transport and everything involved in checking in and out.
I have acknowledged the fact that MasterCard has been behind this 72 hour project, but I really feel the company is trying too hard to have their cake and eat it at the same time. With the all-pervasive presence, it looks more to me like a publication that should have been free for MasterCard holders, not one where the MasterCard holder should pay for the privilege of having the message hammered home to the consumer.
Quite frankly, I was disappointed and not the type of publication I could recommend to newcomers on their first Thai holiday. It was a novel idea spoiled by poor execution.