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Our top picks if you are backpacking in southeast Asia

For those who are planning a backpacking trip to Southeast Asia, reading can be a great way to pass the time on long journeys, learn more about the culture and history of the region, and gain valuable insights into the challenges and rewards of backpacking. Here are some of the top books that backpackers can read while traveling in Southeast Asia:

Welcome to Hell: One Man’s Fight for Survival in a Thai Prison by Colin Martin – This gripping memoir offers a firsthand account of life inside one of Thailand’s most notorious prisons, and the struggle for survival that prisoners face on a daily basis.

A Prayer Before Dawn: A Nightmare in Thailand by Billy Moore – This memoir details the author’s experiences of being imprisoned in a Thai jail, and his eventual transformation through the practice of Muay Thai boxing. The book offers a gritty and unflinching look at the realities of life inside a Thai prison, as well as the transformative power of discipline and self-control.

The Beach by Alex Garland – This novel tells the story of a young backpacker who discovers a secret beach on a remote island in Thailand, and becomes drawn into a community of travelers who have created their own utopia. The book is a meditation on the allure of escape, and the pitfalls of seeking paradise in a world that is always in flux.

Lonely Planet Southeast Asia on a Shoestring – This guidebook is an essential resource for backpackers who are traveling on a budget. It offers practical advice on where to stay, what to see, and how to get around in Southeast Asia, as well as information on cultural customs, safety, and health.

In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratner – This novel tells the story of a young girl growing up in Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge regime, and her struggles to survive and find meaning in the midst of violence and chaos. The book is a powerful meditation on the resilience of the human spirit, and the importance of hope and love in the face of adversity.

Reading can be a great way to enrich your backpacking experience, and gain valuable insights into the culture and history of the places you visit. Whether you are looking for a gripping memoir, a practical guidebook, or a powerful novel, there are plenty of great books to choose from while traveling in Southeast Asia. All are available from Asia Books.


Posted by John on 19th March 2023