Airport bookstores are lackluster, at best. With little variety in titles and genres in addition to steep price tags, these bookstores are the last place travelers want to purchase their next read. It is for this reason that tourists oftentimes find themselves finishing one publication without having a next title in mind. Fret not, as those traveling to Thailand have an abundance of bookstores waiting to be browsed by the biggest of bookworms. Here’s Culture Trip’s best bookstores in Thailand.
Dasa Book Cafe
This secondhand bookshop claims to be the best one in Bangkok, with over 18,000 books to choose from. Dasa Books has one of the largest selections of English titles in Bangkok, in addition to a wide selection in a number of other languages. They also buy and sell secondhand CDs of all types and genres. This intimate bookstore has a handful of tables and chairs for visitors to take the load off their feet and explore the plethora of books filling the shelves. The name of the cafe is taken from the late Thai Buddhist monk, Buddhadāsa Bhikkhu. The word “dasa” translates to slave or servant, and it was eventually chosen as the name of the cafe because they believe book lovers can’t live without books and being able to read them! Dasa Books is open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and is a mere five-minute walk from the BTS Skytrain station Phrom Phong.
Gekko Books is a cozy, secondhand bookstore that first opened in 2000. Originally spelled gecko, the shop underwent a makeover and changed a few things up, including the unique spelling of its name and installing some well-needed air conditioning. For those bookworms who are also speed readers, fret not. This chain bookstore allows Gekko Books customers to return purchased books for up to three months. Those of you who do will receive 50 percent store credit of the original price of the book if the condition remains relatively similar. The two locations have separate hours, so be sure to check which one you’re headed to. The main branch is open daily from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
You might miss Passport Bookshop if you simply strode along Prasumeru Road as it’s pretty small. This bookstore might be petit, but it’s quaint and has become a favorite spot for readers and bookworms alike. The outside of Passport Bookshop is decorated with a charming set of table and chairs alongside a bright red bike. Once inside, you’ll be greeted by rising bookshelves on either side, with an abundance of books about Southeast Asia. It’s the perfect place to gear up for the rest of your travels. Passport Bookshop also does decent tea and coffee for visitors hoping to sit down, relax, and stay awhile. The shop is open every day but Monday from 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Bookmoby Readers’ Cafe
The Bangkok Art and Culture Centre is a creative hub for those working and living in Bangkok. It may come as no surprise, then, that it’s home to one of the best bookstores in Bangkok. Bookmoby Readers’ Cafe is found on the fourth floor of the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre and specializes in everything Thai, from fiction to poetry, and even picture books. The titles found here are rare ones and are not often seen in the chain bookstores. In addition to a wide variety of books, Bookmoby Readers’ Cafe also hosts occasional author talk sessions where writers and readers alike can share ideas and thoughts about whatever they please. To get here, take the BTS Skytrain to station National Stadium.
This small bookstore is right off the BTS Skytrain station Phrom Phong, and visitors might miss it if it weren’t for the bright yellow sign out front. Unlike some of the other bookstores on our list, Book is a little less cozy and comfortable. Books are strewn all over its small shop, with stacks upon stacks of seemingly endless, unorganized titles. The chaos and sheer number of books is what we love about this shop though, and it’ll keep you browsing for titles and picking up a read out of sheer curiosity. You’ll find a good choice of English titles if you look hard enough, but a large number of the books are in Japanese, however, as the store is Japanese-owned. Book is open every day from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Enjoy like-new books at used book prices at Backstreet Books. You can also sell and trade used books here if you’re looking to make book buying more economical. This bookstore is located in Chiang Mai, the city that’s oftentimes referred to as the capital of northern Thailand. Backstreet Books opened some 15 years ago, and it’s been a raging success since then. This bookshop has it all, from entire sections dedicated to paranormal titles to great chunks of obscure fiction. This bookstore also sends books, free of charge, to anywhere in Thailand. Backstreet Books will also buy back the books visitors purchase from their shop at half the selling price if they remain in relatively good condition.
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