subtitle for Thainess (ISBN 978-974-376-688-6, Unseen Planet, 2008)
is “Live and Learn the Thai Way of Life” and is edited by Bob Tremayne with
a large number of Thai writers and additional input, I presume, from the
Tourism Authority of Thailand, which is included in the list of credits.
The cover photograph of the young farang girl, tentatively patting an
elephant, is a great start - as where in the west can you pat an elephant
any day of the week? Good choice, Bob Tremayne!
The book begins with an overview of Thailand, covering (briefly) Thai
people, Thai language, eating customs, religion, climate and attire and Thai
traditional houses (wooden, not the concrete architectural period of today).
The overview is then followed by a couple of pages of Thai phrases covering
shopping and getting a lower price (“lot noi dai mai?”), eating,
getting around and numbers 1-10 (though with the ubiquitous electronic
calculator, knowing the numbers is not so important these days, is it?
The book is divided into four regions (North, North-East, Central and
South). At the start of each region, there are a couple of pages describing
features and attractions of the area, followed by some of the resorts in the
area. With each resort comes a summary of places to visit around the resort,
including, for example, making Sa Paper, blacksmith’s shops, massage and
Lanna cuisine cooking classes out from the Kaomai Lanna Resort. The resort
contact details are also given, so hopefully they will get some response
from the readers.
The book also shows through the diverse nature of the resorts featured that
there are some surprising places, even in Bangkok, with Baan Pra Nond off
South Sathorn Road, in what was once the residence of a Supreme Court judge.
The resort offers the guest a glimpse of Thai traditional life incorporating
food and massage including the Thai herbal compress ball.
At B. 350 on the Bookazine shelves, this book is a bargain. It is a good
book to send overseas for Xmas, and since it is a weighty tome, the time to
send it is now, by standard mail. With 30 resorts from all over Thailand,
and plenty of photographs, it is a most pleasant book, despite the obvious
‘commercial’ element which would have been necessary to be able to retail
this book at the price. It is far better than just a string of resort PR
handouts, as I had originally feared, but it does assist the newcomer or
tourist “Live and Learn the Thai Way of Life”. My one big gripe with this
book is the captions along with the photographs. Very faint print and the
smallest possible font size. You need good light, or a magnifying glass if
you are over 45 years of age. The typeface used elsewhere in the book is
fine. Only the photo captions.
Despite my gripe, this book is well worth looking at, and is way
underpriced. Get one for your overseas friends.