5 Best Thailand Books Every Foreigner Should Read

If you are a book-lover, we can recommend some of the best Thailand books every foreigner should read. We live in a world of digital everything, which is a good and a bad thing. Long gone are the days of having solid objects in your hand that is not made from computer code.


Magazines and newspapers have been replaced by digital alternatives. The e-book revolution seems to be collapsing. 2016 saw more physical books being bought by consumers than in the past decade and the downtrend has continued into 2020. With e-book sales down, now is the perfect time to purchase yourself a Thailand-related book that gives you an insight into the Kingdom as a visitor or ex-pat.


Here are 5 of the best Thailand books that you should read.


#1 – Private Dancer by Stephan Leather

Private Dancer Book

Private Dancer is one of the Best Thailand books about bar girls

This is quite possibly one of the best books to read if you are visiting the Kingdom. Especially if you are visiting Pattaya for a holiday of hedonistic fun to meet female companions of the night. That was quite a polite way to put it! This book is fiction, but it’s a story that has happened to Western men thousands of times over and is timeless in essence. If you want to know the trials and tribulations of a Western man in a relationship with a Thai go-go-dancer/sex worker, this book is a well of useful information. Although the outcome of the story might be a little extreme, it only goes to show that you need to learn more about Thai culture before you jump into a long-term relationship with a local prostitute.

#2 – Thailand Confidential (non-fiction) by Jerry Hopkins

If you want the complete lowdown of visiting or living in Thailand, this book is a true masterpiece. Thailand Confidential is a non-fiction book by Jerry Hopkins. The author has lived in Thailand for over a decade and passes on his narration of what to do and not to do when in Thailand. The book is extremely funny with Hopkins’ quick-wit. If you want to travel across Thailand or want to live here in the future, this book is essential reading.


#3 – A Geek in Thailand by Jody Houlton – Best Thailand Books

Although most of the non-fiction books written about Thailand are for and from the perspective of an older male visiting the Kingdom, A Geek in Thailand by Jody Houlton is written from the perspective of a younger person who lives here. This light-hearted take on Thailand is a great guide for travelers and ex-pats in their 20s and 30s and is quite a unique book of this kind. This is one of the best Thailand books for lots of short stories and exploration of Thai culture and Buddhist beliefs. If you want a fun and friendly book that is also educational, this is the one for you.

Best Thailand Book Store

You will find many shops to buy the Best Thailand book in Bangkok

#4 – Bangkok 8 by John Burdett – Best Thailand Books

The above books are more like guides to living and traveling in Thailand (even Private Dancer). However, Bangkok 8 by John Burdett is more akin to a crime thriller that is set on the streets of Bangkok. Extremely dark, but also hilarious in spots, this thriller is razor-sharp and follows a story of murder and betrayal. If you are a fan of murder-mystery books, this one will be right up your avenue.


#5 – Bangkok Bob and the Mossing Mormon by Stephan Leather

Stephan Leather wrote Private Dancer. He is one of the most famous English-speaking authors that centers most of his books around Thailand, and most notably Bangkok. Bangkok Bob and the Missing Mormon is another very popular fiction novel and one of the best Thailand books you need to read. The book follows long-term Bangkok ex-pat and former New Orleans cop, Bob Turtledove, on his quest to track down a fellow American who has been reported missing in Thailand. The story finds Bob in dangerous situations with Russian gangsters and hired killers in his pursuit of the truth. If you like crime thrillers and are traveling through Thailand this is a fantastic book to accompany your holiday.


It’s always fun reading books about the countries you are visiting and living in as a foreign guest. It can give you great insight into the country. The 5 best Thailand books we have recommended are compelling viewing for long-term visitors to Thailand, ex-pats, and even newbies.