Bangkok is a very young city — she only rose as the capital of Siam in the late 18th Century — but there’s still a heap of literature that’s been published on the city.

Everything from novels to guidebooks to memoirs to maps to poems and more.

We’re compiling a list of all the books about Bangkok here — click to scroll to each section.

Please note that this is a work in progress.


Nonfiction Books on Bangkok

Historical Memoirs on Bangkok

The English Governess at the Siamese Court

Anna Leonowens

Leonowens was the governess for the child Rama V within the Siamese Court in the 19th century. This is her – much disputed – account of her six years in Bangkok.

The Romance of the Harem

anna Leonowens

More from English governess Leonowens about her time at the Siamese Court.

Mai Pen Rai Means Never Mind

carol hollinger

An American housewife’s honest love affair with the irrepressible people of Thailand.

The Pearl of Asia

jacob t child

Reminiscences of a US ambassador in the court of Siam.

Narrative of a Residence at the Capital of the Kingdom of Siam

FA Neale

The 1904 Traveller’s Guide to Bangkok & Siam

j Antonio

Narrative of a Voyage Round the World: Including an Embassy to Muscat and Siam in 1835, 1836 and 1837

WSW ruschenberger

A Physician at the Court of Siam

malcolm arthur smith

Cities of the World: Bangkok

james kirkup

Journal of a Nine Months’ Residence in Siam

Jacob tomlin

From Golden Gate to Golden Sun

hermann norden

The Kingdom of the Yellow Robe

ernest young

Bangkok After Dark

andrew harris [fred poole]

Where the Strange Trails Go Down

e alexander powell

The Kingdom and People of Siam

sir john bowring

Siam in the Twentieth Century, Being the Experiences and Impressions of a British Official

JGD Campbell

Chequered Leaves

eric read

Siam, the Land of the White Elephant, as it was and is

george b bacon

Modern Memoirs and Biographies on Bangkok

Bangkok Babylon

Jerry Hopkins

The subtitle to this book is: The Real-Life Exploits of Bangkok’s Legendary Expatriates are Often Stranger than Fiction. Hopkins, a former correspondent for Rolling Stone, profiles 25 of Bangkok’s most unforgettable characters.

The Last Executioner

chavoret jaruboon

Chavoret Jaruboon was personally responsible for executing 55 prison inmates in Thailand’s infamous prisons.

The Bangkok Cowboys

alexander lewis

From Northeast England to the streets of Bangkok, with a healthy dollop of hedonism, corruption and trafficking in between.

The Cultural Detective

christopher g moore

A look behind the scenes of Moore’s writing life and his work in Bangkok.

Faking it in Bangkok

christopher g moore

A follow-up to the ‘Cultural Detective’.

Thailand Confidential

jerry hopkins

Writer Jerry Hopkins came to Thailand for a visit in the 1980s, and ended up a permanent resident with a temporary visa—a big, white farang haunting the bars and back alleys of Bangkok.

Tone Deaf in Bangkok (and Other Places)

janet brown

From her first bewildered hours to the moment that she reluctantly leaves, Janet Brown describes her experience of falling in love with, and in, Bangkok.

PostScript

roger crutchley

The life of a farang in Bangkok – from a Bangkok Post columnist.

Escape

david mcmillan

Among the 600 foreigners jailed in the ‘Bangkok Hilton’, one man resolves to do what no other has done: escape.

Escape: The Past

david mcmillan

A prequel to ‘Escape’, and how McMillan made his first million dealing drugs by age 21.

Bangkok By Christmas

charles m stith

Battling the Vietcong to get to Bangkok by Christmas.

Nightmare in Bangkok

andy botts

Botts was arrested in Thailand for drug smuggling and faced death by firing squad. This is how he survived.

Bangkok Days

lawrence osborne

Bangkok Found: Reflections on the City

alex kerr

Bangkok Hard Time

jon cole

Rotting in the Bangkok Hilton

T M Hoy

They Call Me Farang: Short Stories by an American in Bangkok

Scott mallon

The Damage Done: Twelve Years of Hell in a Bangkok Prison

warren fellows

Forget You Had a Daughter

sandra gregory

Bangkok People

james eckardt

Lost & Found Bangkok

janet brown

Finding Life: Reflections from a Bangkok Slum

Miss Bangkok: Memoirs of a Thai Prostitute

bua boonmee

PostScript: Forgotten But Not Gone

ROGER CRUTCHLEY

Welcome to the Bangkok Slaughterhouse: the Battle for Human Dignity in Bangkok’s Bleakest Slums

father joe maier

Welcome to Hell: One Man’s Fight for Life Inside the Bangkok Hilton

colin martin

You’ll Never Walk Alone: A True Story about the ‘Bangkok Hilton’

debbie singh

Expository Nonfiction on Bangkok

Fear & Loathing in Bangkok

christopher g moore

9 essays from established author Moore on political issues affecting Thailand right now.

Siege of the Spirits: Community and Polity in Bangkok

michael herzfeld

Anthropologist Herzfeld examines the story of Pom Mahakan – a tiny enclave in the heart of old Bangkok whose residents have resisted demands to vacate their homes for a quarter of a century.

The Bangkok Cat: A Cat’s Eye View of Modern Thailand

M H Burton & B burton

A childrens’ book on modern Thailand through the eyes of Phet on subjects like the cultural and economic gap between Bangkok and the rural countryside and adjusting to globalisation.

The Oriental Bangkok

andreas augustin, andrew williamson, heimo aga

A colourful history of the world-renowned Oriental hotel.

Bangkok: Architectural Guide

pattaranan takkanon

Takkanon has been the editor-in-chief and president of the Association of Siamese Architects under Royal Patronage since 2012.

Bangkok Dolls

Khunying Tongkorn Chandavimol and Pisamai Chandavimol

Miniature ambassadors for the crafts and cultural heritage of Thailand.

Bangkok: The Story of a City

alec waugh

Cutting through confusion and veiled mystery, Waugh unravels the plots, coups, wars, assassinations, invasions, and counter-coups of two hundred years of history as if they were this evening’s gossip.

Tales of Old Bangkok

chris burslem

A historical scrapbook of colonial impressions.

Jim Thompson: The Unsolved Mystery

william warren

Jim Thompson was already a legend for the James H.W. Thompson Silk Company that he founded, when he disappeared in the Cameron highlands in Malaysia in 1967.

Send Them to Hell: The Brutal Horror of Bangkok’s Nightmare Jails

sebastian williams

Chronicle of life as lived by foreign inmates over the past two decades in Bangkok’s notorious prison system, in Bang Kwang and Klong Prem jails.

Bangkok Beat

kevin cummings

A compilation of short stories, interviews, literature reviews and author profiles, plus the previously unpublished history and pictures of the iconic Bangkok cabaret nightclub, Checkinn99 located on Sukhumvit Road.

Patpong Sisters: An American Woman’s View of the Bangkok Sex World

cleo odzer

Anthropologist Odzer spent three years studying Bangkok’s red-light district; Patpong, an area of a few blocks teeming with bars and explicit sex shows.

Bangkok (The Great Cities)

John Blofeld & Philip Jones Griffiths

Part of Time-Life’s Great Cities series which featured one photographer’s work in each book, in this case, Philip Jones Griffiths’ rare color photography.

Bangkok: Place, Practice and Representation

Marc askew

Adopting insights from anthropology, urban studies and human geography, this book examines the development of the city from its earliest days as the seat of the Thai monarchy to its current position as an infamous contemporary metropolis.

Anna and the King of Siam

margaret landon

The story of Anna Leonowens, the English governess who taught the young prince Chulalongkorn, later to become Rama V.

Bombay Anna

susan morgan

The real story and remarkable adventures of the King and I Governess.

Bangkok: A Cultural and Literary History

maryvelma o’neil

O’Neil illuminates a city rich in art, history, royal ceremony, and tradition and she uncovers fascinating pockets of traditional indigenous life and places of intense beauty hidden in Bangkok’s labyrinthine lanes and alleys.

The Magic of Bangkok

sean sheehan

This pictorial tribute takes readers on an evocative journey to discover the very soul of Bangkok, capital of the “Land of Smiles”.

Red Light Nights, Bangkok Daze

william sparrow

A collection of articles on the complex and fascinating world of sex in Asia.

Hello My Big Big Honey!

richard ehrlich & dave Walker

An expose of the love lives of Bangkok’s bar girls and the foreigners who rent them — confessed in their own words.

Bangkok, Anytime

Dani Monfort Gil

A celebration of the street iconography in Bangkok through the eyes of its resident artist Daniel Monfort Gil.

Gardening in Bangkok

pimsai amranand

A Secret History of the Bangkok Hilton

chavoret jaruboon & Pornchai Sereemongkonpol

Menam Chao Phraya

jock and william warren montgomery

Your Guide to the Chao Phraya River of Kings

harold stephens

Bangkok Then and Now

steve van beek

Trams, Buses and Rails: The History of Urban Transport in Bangkok, 1886-2010

ichiro Kakizaki

Living with Risk: Precarity & Bangkok’s Urban Poor

Tamaki endo

Bangkok Design: Thai Ideas in Textiles and Furniture

brian mertens

Urban Bangkok: Contemporary Reflections

joakim leroy

Guidebooks on Bangkok

A Geek In Thailand

jody houton [tuttle, 2016]

Bangkok City Travel Dudes Destination Guidebook

Travel dude & Dave brett [Createspace independent publishing platform, 2016]

Bangkok In 3 Days: The Definitive Tourist Guide Book That Helps You Travel Smart And Save Time

finest city guides [2016]

Frommer’s Bangkok Day By Day

mick shippen [frommermedia, 2016]

The Rough Guide To Bangkok

rough guides [rough guides, 2015]

Thailand’s Best Street Food: The Complete Guide To Streetside Dining in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket and Other Areas

chawadee nualkhair [tuttle, 2015]

Nancy Chandler’s Map of Bangkok, 27th Edition

nima & nancy chandler [nancy chandler graphics, 2015]

Fodor’s Bangkok 25 Best

[Fodor’s, 2015]

Lonely Planet Pocket Bangkok

austin bush [lonely planet, 2015]

Bangkok: The Monocle Travel Guide Series

Monocle [gestalten, 2015]

Bangkok: Bangkok Travel Guide For Men, Get The Most Bang For Your Buck

bangkok travel guides [createspace independent publishing platform, 2015]

Bangkok PopOut Map

Popout maps [popout maps, 2015]

Bangkok Street Food: Cooking and Travelling in Thailand

tom vandenberghe [lanoo publishers, 2015]

Bangkok (National Geographic Destination City Map)

national geographic maps [natl geographic society maps, 2015]

Laminated Bangkok Map by Borch

[borch, 2015]

Thailand, Bangkok [Map Pack Bundle]

[national geographic maps – adventure, 2015]

Lonely Planet Bangkok

austin bush [lonely planet, 2014]

Top 10 Bangkok (Eyewitness Top 10 Travel Guide)

ron emmons & alex robinson [dk eyewitness travel, 2014]

22 Walks in Bangkok: Exploring the City’s Historic Back Lanes and Byways 

kenneth barrett [tuttle, 2014]

DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Thailand

[dk travel, 2014]

Explore Bangkok: The Best Routes Around the City

[insight guides, 2014]

Groovy Map & Guide: Bangkok 2015

Aaron frankel [groovy map, 2014]

Fiction Books on Bangkok

Novels on Bangkok

There are seemingly hundreds and hundreds of novels set in Bangkok — especially in the crime fiction genre — and we’ve tried to include as many of them as possible here.

We haven’t included self-published e-books as there are simply too many, and most of them have a very limited audience.

A Woman of Bangkok

Jack reynolds

Published to critical acclaim in the 1950s – an Englishman’s infatuation with a dance-hall hostess named Vilai.


Vincent Calvino series [Christopher G Moore]

Disbarred US lawyer Vincent Calvino investigates deaths and murders in the dark and steamy Bangkok underworld, often with his own life at risk.

Spirit House

Asia Hand

Zero Hour In Phnom Penh

Comfort Zone

The Big Weird

Cold Hit

Minor Wife

Pattaya 24/7

The Risk Of Infidelity Index

Paying Back Jack

The Corruptionist

9 Gold Bullets

Missing in Rangoon

The Marriage Tree

Crackdown


Sonchai Jitpleecheep series [John Burdett]

Devout Buddhist and detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep investigates murders in Bangkok, stretching from his own past lovers to much wider figures within the US and Chinese authorities.

Bangkok Eight

Bangkok Tattoo

Bangkok Haunts

The Bangkok Asset


Poke Rafferty series [Timothy Hallinan]

Author Poke Rafferty finds himself mixed up in all manner of trouble as he navigates the seedy Bangkok underworld – corruption and murder are always around the corner.

Nail Through The Heart

The Fourth Watcher

Breathing Water

The Queen of Patpong

The Fear Artist

For The Dead

The Hot Countries


Joe Dylan series [James Newman]

Joe Dylan investigates murder cases in the land of sin, from Bangkok to Koh Samui.

Bangkok Express

Red Night Zone — Bangkok City

The White Flamingo


Chance series, Simon Royle

Chance investigates mysteries and murder on the streets of Bangkok. “Funny thing about guns and plans – everyone’s got one.”

Bangkok Burn

Bangkok Wet


The Vampire of Siam series [Jim Newport]

Expat Martin becomes entwined in the world of charming vampire and serial killer Rammone Delacroix.

The Vampire of Siam

Ramone: The Return of the Vampire of Siam

The Reckoning: A Tale of the Vampire of Siam


Bangkok Dick Series [David Young]

Dick Reilly, Bangkok P.I. He’s the man to call if you suspect your husband or lover of an illicit affair in the City of Angels.

Bangkok Dick

The Hit Parade

The Sacrifice


The Scribe

David Young

Henry Russell has embarked upon a new career; he writes love letters on behalf of Bangkok working girls.

Khao San Road

David young

A place for people to hole up for a few days or disappear for life. It’s here that a group of travelers from disparate walks of life find themselves stranded for one long weekend.

Sukhumvit Road

David Young

Bami is Bangkok’s #1 butterfly girl, fluttering from dream to dream and lover to lover. Her life turns upside-down as former boyfriends and present beaus suddenly converge over one long weekend in the City of Angels.


The Big Mango

jake needham

Eddie Dare heads to Bangkok from the US in search of $400 million while navigating the perils of the city.

Laundry Man

jake needham

The latest installment in the Jack Shephard International Crime Novels series. Shephard is in Bangkok investing the mysterious collapse of a secretive Asian bank, which takes him from Bangkok to Hong Kong and finally to Phuket.


Bangkok Noir

anthology

An anthology of Bangkok noir stories written by 12 Thai and Western writers.


Bangkok Rules

harlan Wolff

Carl Engel is a private investigator on the hunt of an elusive serial killer terrifying Thailand, using his guile and experience to stay alive as he does so.


Private Dancer

stephen leather

n a roller-coaster ride of sex, drugs, and deception, Pete discovers that his own very private dancer is not all she claims to be.

Bangkok Bob and the Missing Mormon

stephen leather

Bangkok antiques dealer and part-time PI Bob Turtledove is involved in a case looking for a missing Mormon against Russian gangsters, hired killers and kickboxing thugs.

Confessions of a Bangkok PI

stephen leather

The case files of Bangkok PI Warren Olson…

Thai Private Eye

warren olson

Further adventures from the files of Thailand’s most famous detective agency.


Tiger Lily of Bangkok

owen jones

An Isaan girl with a dark past attends university in Bangkok. Is she linked to the serial killer stalking the city who leaves a trademark flower at every killing?


The Windup Girl

paolo bacigalupi

A highly acclaimed science fiction novel set in dystopian Bangkok.


The Secret Agent

Francine mathews

Trained by the OSS, Jack Roderick plummeted into Bangkok one rainy morning in 1945 and never left until he walked into the jungle years later and vanished. Can Stefani Fogg solve the mystery?


Letters from Thailand

Botan

The story of Tan Suang U, a young man who leaves China to make his fortune in Thailand at the close of World War II, and ends up marrying, raising a family, and operating a successful business. The novel unfolds through his letters to his beloved mother in China.


The Naga’s Journey

Tew bunnag

A look at corruption, the disenfranchised and ecological neglect in Thailand.


The Ninth Directive

adam hall

Quiller has been tasked by The Bureau to murder an important British diplomat in Bangkok. Is this just a security exercise or something much more dangerous?


Emmanuelle

emmanuelle arsan

A French underground novel about Emmanuelle — a young girl who flies to Bangkok to meet her husband, who goes on a journey of sexual discovery.


The Temple of Dawn

yukio Mishima

The story of one man’s obsessive pursuit of a beautiful woman and his equally passionate search for enlightenment.


Siam: Or The Woman Who Shot a Man

lily tuck

Claire arrives in Bangkok in March 1967 and becomes obsessed with the disappearance of Jim Thompson.


Cockroaches

jo nesbo

When the Norwegian ambassador to Thailand is found dead in a Bangkok brothel, Inspector Harry Hole is dispatched from Oslo to help hush up the case.


The 38 Million Dollar Smile

richard stevenson

An Albany PI is out of his depth investigating the Bangkok disappearance of Gary Griswold and his $38 million.


Mindfulness and Murder

nick wilgus

The first in the Father Ananda mystery series – murders and monks.


Kicking Dogs

collin piprell

A comic thriller and an antic portrait of boom-time Bangkok through the eyes of expat Jack Shackaway.

Bangkok Knights

collin piprell


Jim Tully

anthony aikman

In Bangkok, writing a book his friends fear reveals too many secrets, Tully is persuaded to work for an American movie mogul. He ends up marooned in the jungle and then back in Cambodia, up against the Khmer Rouge.


Permanent Damage

dean barrett

Scott Sterling, 45, is an American detective, ex-CIA Beijing and Bangkok, and now lives over one of the bars in Bangkok frequented by American vets of various wars. He’s on a case…


What’s Your Name I’m Fine Thank You

roger beaumont

Short stories and articles on life in Bangkok.


The Occidentals

caron eastgate james

A 19th Century Siamese saga.


At The Bamboo Bar

Morgan Mcfinn

A night at the Bamboo Bar in the famed Oriental Hotel…


Echo Pool

jonathon siminoe

Duke’s life in Bangkok is an exciting one, as his wealthy Thai friends are generous entertainers; but no matter what diversions he finds within one of Asia’s most exciting cities, everything seems to trigger the memories of his lost home.


The Other City of Angels

sp somtow

A dark comedy of Bangkok in the 90s.


Jasmine Nights

S p somtow

A classic coming-of-age novel set in Thailand in the 1960s.


The Revenge of Axel Trink

mitch vladimir

It is 1980, and the security of the American Embassy in Bangkok is under threat – from one of its own…


Bangkok Dragons, Cape Cod Tears

randall peffer

When Michael Decastro gets an email from Tuki, he doesn’t hesitate a moment. He heads to Bangkok to find … what? He doesn’t know. To face what dangers? He hasn’t imagined. All he knows is that she’s beckoned, and he can’t resist her call.


Provincetown Follies, Bangkok Blues

randall peffer

How can Michael DeCastro possibly hope to defend innocent Tuki, this beautiful drag queen, who brings with her a whole pack of nasty little secrets, straight from Bangkok’s notorious tenderloin district?


Burnt Out in Bangkok

tom moon mullins

An old fashioned love story between a retired cop from Jersey City and a woman in the oldest profession in the world…


A Year in the ‘Kok: A Novel of Bangkok Nights

crazy horse

Bangkok Heroes

mark gadsdon

Poetry on Bangkok

Coming soon!