A Geek in Thailand: A British ‘Geek’ Shines a Well-Deserved Spotlight on Thai Culture and Society

 |  December 21, 2015

From well-seasoned globetrotters to those who prefer the comforts of home, A Geek in Thailand is the perfect introduction to all things Thai. Though the name may imply that the book is geared toward “geeks,” A Geek in Thailand works for travellers of all ages and backgrounds.


A Geek in Thailand sets itself apart through its exploration of Thai culture, and is a good read for cultural and history buffs. Unlike most guidebooks, A Geek in Thailand gives a robust explanation of Thailand’s history and culture that goes beyond the tourist’s what-not-to-do taboo basics. Even expats who have lived in Thailand for years will learn something new about Thailand’s rich cultural history.

If the thought of studying history conjures images of your tiresome 4th grade geography class, fear not! Houton is anything but a bore, teasing the reader’s curiosity with enticing subject headings such as “Grunt Like a Local,” “5 Thai products I now couldn’t live without,” and “My Boss is Bigger Than Your Boss.”

Most importantly, Houton does not fall victim to the classic guidebook trap of treating Thailand as a monolith. He fearlessly delves into the cultural and culinary nuances of northern, northeastern, central, and southern regions of Thailand.

From traditional art and folk music to karaoke and cabaret, Houton bypasses the common clichés of Thai pastimes in favour of a more inclusive review of how the locals – and the tourists – enjoy spending their days. He goes a step further by providing a historical context for common Thai activities such as traditional Thai massage, Muay Thai, and ladyboy shows. When it comes to drinking in Thailand, Houton’s tongue-in-cheek humour will both keep you entertained and point you in the right direction.

For short-term travels and quick weekend getaways, Houton makes things easy for readers by detailing his top 10 things to do in Bangkok, Phuket, and Chiang Mai, along with other ideas to make your trip unforgettable.

Although guidebooks are typically for tourists, A Geek in Thailand is a fun book to dip into for locals as well. In addition to listing common jobs for foreigners, Houton describes Thai office culture, and highlights how Westerners can adapt their behavior to assimilate into their Thai workspace.

Houton seamlessly blends in personal anecdotes and interviews with locals to give the book a narrative, story-like quality.  Paired with vivid pictures and short, engaging sections, the book is a quick and easy read – perfect for killing time on the flight over to your destination!

And let’s not forget Christmas is upon us, this fun read would make a good present for just about anyone vaguely interested in Thailand.

Asia Books (625 baht)

Kinokuniya (680 baht)