Our 5 favourite novels set in Thailand

  • Posted onFebruary 26th, 2014

BooksWhether you are a long term expat or planning your first Thai trip, there are some amazing novels set in Thailand, which are not only funny, thrilling, and entertaining, but also offer you some unique insight into the country and its culture. Here are some we consider must reads:



the BeachThe Beach

Perhaps the most popular and well-known novel of modern literature set in Thailand is Alex Garland’s ‘The Beach.’ Starting in Bangkok’s bustling backpacker barrio, Khao San Road, and switching to the idyllic tropical islands in the south of the country, The Beach follows the story of a young British backpacker on a gap year, finds a map to hidden beach on a remote island, left behind by a fellow backpacker who commits suicide.

Of course, he decides to seek out this mystical retreat, and what follows is a thrilling tale through busy Bangkok streets, dense Thai jungle, and a paradise island, with lots of love, betrayal, and murder to keep you entertained.

The Beach UK edition”"

The Beach USA edition

Bangkok 8Bangkok 8

Another thriller, but one with lots of dark, sexy appeal, and humour, set among the stunning skyscrapers and seedy bars of our favourite city, Bangkok.

When the murder of a Marine Sergeant is witnessed by two of the only clean cops in Bangkok, it isn’t long before one is murdered. This sets the other, Sonchai Jitpleecheep (a devout Buddhist and son of a Thai prostitute) on a journey of revenge. Reluctantly paired with an attractive FBI agent, Sonchai is hell-bent on getting vengeance, taking us on a journey through Bangkok’s darker streets, and a sinister world revolving around drugs, corruption, murder, prostitution, and money.

Bangkok Eight UK Edition”"

Bangkok 8 USA Edition”"

Slithering SouthSlithering South

Thailand’s isn’t all drugs, murder and prostitution, far from it! Slithering South takes you on a journey through some of Thailand’s more beautiful backdrops, one a wild ride along the Pink River.

This is a 58-day adventure through the heart of rural Thailand, a chance to meet an array of the cool, crazy, kind and interesting characters you can meet in this country, and a some of the weird and wonderful situations one can find themselves when venturing off the beaten track.

Slithering South UK Edition”"

Slithering South USA Edition”"

Mai Pen RaiMai Pen Rai

‘Mai Pen Rai Means Never Mind’ is a collection of humorous and articulate tales, experiences, and anecdotes by Carol Hollinger, a teacher, wife, and mother, and teacher who spent a time in Thailand with her husband, who was stationed there in the country.

A very light hearted, but ultimately insightful book, the author takes you into Thai culture and the experiences of an expat, though the eyes of a witty westerner. In print for over 40 years, the book remains popular among Bangkok expats, and is a great read for anyone looking to become one.

MAI PEN RAI UK Edition”"

Mai Pen Rai USA Edition”"

Private DancerPrivate Dancer

Perhaps the best book covering the neon lit world of the Bangkok gogo scene, Private Dancer is a thrilling tale introducing you into lots of lost, dark, and crazy characters (mostly fictional), found around the a gogo complex and some sleazy expat hang outs.

The story centers around a 40-something expat journalist, Peter, who begins a doomed affair with a young and not-so-innocent gogo dancer, named Joy. Many consider this to be the best book about bar girl/expat relationships, and a must read for anyone looking at starting one.

Private Dancer UK Edition”"

Private Dancer USA Edition”"

The Third SexSpecial Mention:  The Third Sex

The Third Sex is an insightful book which invites you into the lives of three of Bangkok’s ladyboys. It’s a fascinating read and not only gives you a deep look into life as a member of Thailand’s third sex, but also helps you better understand many aspects of Thai culture and religion. It will certainly give you a new perspective and empathy towards the huge, and often misunderstood, transgendered community in Thailand.

The Third Sex UK Edition”"

The Third Sex USA Edition”"



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