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Book Review: by Lang Reid
Dos and Don’ts in Thailand
third edition of this book Dos and Don’ts in Thailand (ISBN
978-974-9823-34-7, Kenny Yee and Catherine Gordon) with the last reprint in
2007, caught my eye. It was thinner than I remembered it, so I wondered
whether they had removed some dos or was it some don’ts?
In actual fact, this edition claims it has additional material, one on sex
and the other on Traditional Thai massage, so please don’t confuse them.
The contents cover the entire gamut of existence for a foreigner in
Thailand, from describing the Thais character, body language and religion,
then much of what the visitor might meet or need in the way of information
regarding cinemas, festivals, funerals, rentals, restaurants, weddings, zoos
and zig-zags and much more. From a brief perusal, it would seem that this
book is what every foreigner in Thailand needs. The concept is correct, but
now we come to the information and advice.
Like the bookstore browser, I eagerly turned to the chapter on “Sex”. There
I was exhorted not to try and pick up a girl at the bus stop because she
would have a boyfriend lurking in the shadows who will beat up both myself
and the girl if she did go out with me. Welcome to Thailand, the Land of
But it doesn’t end there. Women are told that if they want attention all
they have to do is under-dress, over-make-up and make a fool of themselves
somewhere. A pack of wolves in men’s clothing will answer her call. At this
juncture, I began to wonder if either of the named authors had been anywhere
else in the world? What they described was not a “Thai” phenomenon in any
Again, the chapter entitled “Mainly for Men” has advice for any male who
might accidentally stop at a beer bar somewhere. If I did something “wrong”,
I could get beaten up, or even killed. And I must not visit a massage parlor
alone for the first time, as I will be ripped off. Welcome to the Land of
This seems to be the message all the way through. It was hard to find some
dos, it all seemed to be don’ts. Such as never accompany a Thai woman home,
even if she is “holding an office job.” The danger being that “you could be
tricked into gambling, threatened until you sign something, or simply
blackmailed.” Am I honestly expected to believe this? Welcome to the Land of
By the way - don’t swim topless or naked! A Thai service girl once did and
was almost killed.
At B. 380 on the Bookazine shelf, it is not an expensive primer, but really
all a little negative these days. It needs another edition, fully brought up
to date and more in line with today’s society and mores. However, I am sure
that this book will continue to sell, just on the title alone, to
unsuspecting tourists who will then cower in their hotel rooms until their
plane’s departure, thankful that they escaped this dangerous country alive.
Welcome to the Land of Smiles.
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