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Beach Reads: September 2013

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Book review by Harold Stephens.

History Comes Alive in ‘22 Walks in Bangkok’

22 Walks cover-1Have you ever heard of a guidebook that reads like a novel? Well, pick up a copy of 22 Walks in Bangkok and that is what you will find. It’s true. I began reading the Walk 1, titled In search of King Taksin, and couldn’t put the book down. The probable reason is that the author, Ken Barrett, has a wonderful way of making history come alive, and turn it into a truly enjoyable reading experience.

Each of the 22 walks is written in the same fashion full of discovery. After the Search for King Taksin, I read The Old Harbour and walk through the historical spot in my mind. I move onto the The Potters’ Village, Beyond the City Wall, Almost Heaven, The Shady Ladies of Sampeng Lane, Along the Dragon’s Back and The Sea of Mud. Then I explore The Hidden Island, The Jim Thompson Legend, and take a walk through The Lotus Forest.

The book is not only exciting, but also educational. Ken Barrett takes you on a walk not only around the city but on a walk through history. Consequently, you´ll find marvelous things that might be hidden from the general view, or perhaps only memories of the ancient Bangkok. Visiting the sites with the book in your hand especially has a specific magic; if you try hard enough, you can feel the land under your feet connects you to the former generations inhabiting Krung Thep, “the City of Gods.”

I find 22 Walks is an invaluable book to give to your guests who arrive in the city and ask, “What is there to do?” What is there to do? Hand them a book. Especially if they say they don´t usually like big cities, here’s a read to prove this humongous city can be interesting and fathomable.

Trust me, after reading the book for an hour, and they will completely change their minds. 22 Walks around Bangkok truly is a revelation.

Exploring the City’s Historic Back Lanes and Byways
By Kenneth Barrett
ISBN: 978-0-8048-4242-0
Copyright © 2013 Kenneth Barrett
Publisher: Tuttle Publishing, an
imprint of Periplus Editions
Pages 325
Printed in Singapore
Available at Asia Bookstores