A Nail Through the Heart: A Novel of Bangkok by Timothy Hallinan – This book is not a factual account of living in Bangkok, but it is an entertaining read and although rather far-fetched, there are points that ring true.
Bangkok 8: A Novel by John Burdett – A fascinating and gripping ‘whodunit’ novel that focuses on an honest Thai policeman and his family and friends. Despite being completely fictitious, there are many insights into Thai lives and a very interesting look at foreigners through the eyes of the Thais.
A Broad Abroad in Thailand: An Expat’s Misadventures in the Land of Smiles by Dodie Cross – An honest account of a newlywed female’s first experience of being an expat in Thailand. There are highs and lows, comedy and tragedy. It is an excellent read and a good introduction to life in Thailand for women.
A Home of your Own in Thailand by Rick Armstrong – This is an in-depth guide into moving to and living in Thailand. It details what to do and what not to do as well as where to live, how much you should expect to pay for things and how to mix in both Thai and expat circles.
Bangkok Babylon: The Real-Life Exploits of Bangkok’s Legendary Expatriates are often Stranger than Fiction by Jerry Hopkins – A humorous account of a decade living in Bangkok. While it is not fiction, it often reads like a novel and is a great insight into the characters that live in the city. It is a must-read for anyone looking for light reading which will still educate.
Language and Culture
English-Thai Phrase Book by Bangkokbooks.com – This is a very good introduction to the Thai language and will become an invaluable source that can easily be kept in a bag or a pocket. There are over 1,500 phrases that can be used in every situation imaginable.
Practical Thai by Benjawan Poomsan Becker – This is an excellent book and CD that teaches practical Thai as spoken in real-life situations and with real colloquial Thai phrases and sayings.
Very Thai: Everyday Popular Culture by Philip Cornwel-Smith – This is a must-read for anyone who is interested in learning more about Thai culture and its roots. All questions about modern-day Bangkok are answered as well as many questions you may not have thought of asking.
Thais Say It Best When They Say Nothing At All by Annie Leo – This book is a very good introduction to the subtle Thai body language and non-verbal behaviour, particularly who, how and when to Wai, as well as a good explanation of the real social hierarchies in Thailand.
Raising Global Nomads by Robin Pascoe – This non-fiction work is a must-read for any parent considering moving their children abroad. It is written by someone who successfully did so and can now help others to do what may, at times, seem like an impossible task.
The Bangkok Expat Handbook by Jennifer Sharples and William V. Timmons – This book discusses many important themes on moving to Thailand. It details important information as well as how to stay safe and happy in Bangkok. A must-read for anyone moving to Thailand.
The Bangkok Survivor’s Handbook: A Guide to Living in Asia’s City of Angels by Robert Hein – An excellent guide to living in Bangkok. Tells you all you need to know as well as many issues you may not have considered. Talks readers through from beginning (while you are still in your home country) to end (settling in Bangkok and what to do from there) and is a must-read for all expats.
Lonely Planet Travel Guide Thailand – The classic travel guide, this time about Thailand. Has a lot of information on hotels, beaches, restaurants and things to do in just about any part of Thailand. A bit on the light side when it describes culture and customs but has an impressive list of hotels anywhere in Thailand.
The Rough Guide to Thailand – The main competitor to Lonely Planet, this book has a lot of good information about hotels, restaurants, sights, shopping, nightlife, culture and more.