Although the blurb on the back of ‘A Geek in Thailand’ states that the book is an alternative travel guide, I think this recently released 160-page book is best suited for people wishing to make/ or have already made, Thailand their home.
Wading through Lonely Planet Guides or countless other generic guides can, at times, be a soulless endeavour. Learning about the history of countries or temples, for example, can be little more rewarding than pouring over a history textbook. What many of these guide books often fall guilty of is writing too much, or writing too much of the same thing again, and again, meaning that rather than piquing tourists interest, the guides are often counterproductive, serving only to turn off visitors from actually exploring what they’ve just spent an age reading about.
‘A Geek in Thailand’ is a carefully curated companion, that although often written in a light-hearted and humorous way, mines deep to give a thoroughly researched and unique look at the country and culture.
If you’ve just arrived or even if you’ve been an expat for a while and want to genuinely learn more about the people, the movies, the art, the national character, the workplace, the weird pastimes, and yes, also the food and the temples, then you’re guaranteed to find something of interest in the book.
The layout is fun, colourful and very well designed, with stand-alone sections that make it perfect to dip in and out of. The photographs are gorgeous, and take the reader wherever Houton goes, from the streets of Sukhumvit, to a longtail boat in Phuket, to the mountains of Chiang Mai and everywhere in between.
Having worked as a journalist, in Phuket and now Bangkok, for seven years, Houton draws on his extensive experience in meeting some of the country’s most interesting figures from a variety of fields. But it isn’t just the interviews with university professors on Thai architecture, or National Artists on the art scene, but also his chats with everyday people, like roadside vendors, and even a cabaret performer that makes ‘A Geek in Thailand’ feel like one of the most complete and enjoyable books on the country out now.