Fictional book set in Thailand?

May 3rd, 2005, 10:27 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 83
Fictional book set in Thailand?

We're traveling to Thailand early next year and I would like to read a good fiction book that is set there. You learn so much about the culture that way. Any recommendations?
chicago999 is offline  
May 3rd, 2005, 10:54 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 4,282
Here's a start. I'll post more when I get home and look at my book shelf. I've ** the best.

**(Four Reigns (the best for learning the culture) by Kukrit Pramoj
**Bangkok 8
**The Secret Agent - Francine Matthews-- a junk novel but fun -- based on the Jim Thompson story
** Kingdom of Make Believe -- Dean Barrett
The Occidentals -- James Eastgate
**Mrs. Pollifax in the Golden Triangle -- Dorothy Gilman
Monsoon Country
Skytrain to Murder - Dean Barrett
**Siam -- Lily Tuck
**Lioness in Bloom -- Susan Fulop Kepner
Thai Amulet - Lyn Hamilton
Thai Horse -- William Diehl
**Letters from Home (fabulous book translated by Susan Fulop Kepner)
glorialf is offline  
May 3rd, 2005, 11:57 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 12,867
Bangkok 8 ! Happy Travels!
Guenmai is offline  
May 3rd, 2005, 12:17 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 4,282
chicago999-- where do you live? I also live in Chicago and if you have trouble finding any of these books, I'd be happy to lend you some. I have virtually every English book written about or that takes place in thailand. I'm in Lakeview
glorialf is offline  
May 3rd, 2005, 06:56 PM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 83
Glorialf: What a goldmine of ideas, thanks! We planned this trip so far in advance (February) and this will give me reading material for months. I'm out in N. Barrington and really appreciate your offer.... I'll search the library and Barnes & Noble before imposing on you, though.
On another subject: I've enjoyed reading the Penn/Oriental debates on this forum in the last couple of days and have to say that you've convinced me to give my business to the Oriental! It will be fun to see them both for myself.
chicago999 is offline  
May 4th, 2005, 04:53 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,242
Chicago999- try both the Penn and the Oriental if you can- I'd be interested in your experience.
BillT is offline  
May 4th, 2005, 04:57 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 11,334
I am not in Chicago, but I fly out of OHare all the time to BKK. I'm down state about 3 hours and I always make the drive to O'Hare rather than trusting the small planes flying out of either of our more "local" airports.
(that's a whole 'nother discussion)

The Penn/Oriental debate IS an interesting one. I've stayed at both of these fine hotels and I did a + - chart to compare the two. They were virtually EVEN in that regard. Service and amenities really were a tie. It's your own personal pick as to which one you prefer. Either one of them will give you a taste of river life in BKK, which is very busy and interesting. Either one of them will feel like a retreat from all the hustle and bustle, but with a VIEW that is hard to beat!

The Penn is #1 on my on personal list. That said, I usually do not stay on the river anymore as I am not a new traveler to BKK. I go to shop shop shop. My favorite locations are in and around the Siam/World Trade Center area. I know... there are no beautiful river views there, but... I have "been there, done that" and when I'm shopping I prefer a shorter distance to my hotel room when I've got my hands full of packages.

I wish I could add a book title to the OP discussion topic but can't think of one at this time. I think I'm going to search out the Bangkok 8 title though. Can you give a hint as to the type of book it is?

Carol
simpsonc510 is offline  
May 4th, 2005, 05:13 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 4,282
Chicago999 -- your best bet for several of the books is amazon or barnes and noble online. Definitely start with "Four Reigns"-- it is definitely the best for understanding thai history and culture.
glorialf is offline  
May 4th, 2005, 05:40 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 4,282
I'm also not a new traveler to Bangkok-- have been their 18 times. But when I return it's for the culture and the people. I do a little shopping and have clothes made but tend to go to stores that I have been to in the past where I know the owner. Thus, I still prefer the river and I still find it magical. Relaxing over a leisurely breakfast watching the river come to life and chatting with staff and other guests is one of my favorite activities.

No question that both the Penn and Oriental are superb hotels. But they are very different. The reviews on Trip Advisor give a good feel for both hotels I think. This website also gives what I feel are excellent descriptions of both. http://www.hotelcheckpoint.com/
glorialf is offline  
May 4th, 2005, 06:47 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 12,867
Bangkok 8 is a great murder mystery. I almost read the book straight through...didn't want to put it down. Happy Travels!
Guenmai is offline  
May 4th, 2005, 10:17 AM
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 83
Yikes, I didn't mean to start another Penn v. Oriental debate
They must both be fantastic hotels by anyone's standard. So I was ultimately most influenced by the description of the "feel" of the hotels, and think I will prefer something more like the Oriental than the Penn. Don't think I will stay at both, BillT -- we only have 3 nights. But I promise to report on my experience.
chicago999 is offline  
May 5th, 2005, 06:54 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 12,867
Maybe on the August 2005 trip, I'll take one night away from my Four Seasons stay and stay at the Oriental and see what all the hoopla is about. Have stayed at the Pen(Aug 2004)but it wasn't for me.Then I can come back and get into the debate!Ha...Ha...Ha...Happy Travels!
Guenmai is offline  
May 5th, 2005, 07:36 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 4,282
I personally don't recommend staying at the Oriental for one night. Because one of its major strengths is the "personal" touch I feel you need to stay there 2 or 3 days to get the full experience. If you're there one night I think it will seem like a superb deluxe hotel like the Penn or 4 Seasons but I don't think it will seem unique. Now I know people who have stayed there only one night and have raved but I generally tell people that they need to spend more time there.

Guenmai-- I think you feel about the 4 Seasons the way I feel about the Oriental -- it's home. Let's be honest it's difficult for any hotel to compete with that on a first stay which may be why we both didn't think the Peninsula was for us.
glorialf is offline  
May 6th, 2005, 12:16 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 22
You forgot probably the most well-known piece of fiction set in Thailand - The Beach by Alex Garland. The book is far better than the movie that was based on it.
thomjones is offline  
Jul 6th, 2005, 09:40 AM
  #15  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 83
glorialf: thanks for the book recommendations, I'm thoroughly enjoying Four Reigns right now.

A couple of questions regarding your preferences at the Oriental: Do you book your room through the site you recommended (hotelcheckpoint.com)? What type room do you recommend -- deluxe river wing with the balcony, or deluxe garden wing which is recommended by hotelcheckpoint? I seem to recall reading lots of raves about watching the river in the morning so maybe the balcony is the thing. And finally -- with or without breakfast?
chicago999 is offline  
Jul 6th, 2005, 10:45 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 4,282
Chicago 999 -- Glad you're enjoying 4 Reigns. I really think it captures Thailand culture better than almost any other book.

As for the Oriental -- I usually find I get the best rate through my Am Ex Platinum card or through the hotel website. I would do a check and see where the best deal is.

You should definitely have a river view. If money is no object go for the Garden Wing with a river view (they are the deluxe rooms in that wing). All the rooms in the River Wing have river views but the ones with balconies actually have only a 3/4 view as they are on the corners. I would skip the balcony since it is usually too hot to be out there and you definitely won't eat there -- you'll eat at the Oriental's wonderful Verandah which is right on the river. If you don't want the expense of the deluxe Garden Wing I'd go for a deluxe river view room -- they are absolutely gorgeous. If money is an issue go for the standard (called superior I think) River Room. They are lovely and all have wonderful views.

.
glorialf is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 11:51 AM.