Non-visual Thai tourism?
February 18, 2018 8:38 PM   Subscribe

I'm totally blind, and visiting Thailand for the first time in many years, and trying to get a sense of the grandeur and history, without the pressing crowds. Can people recommend books, podcasts, etc which might be less visual?

Hi, MeFi. :) I'm half Thai, visiting Thailand for the first time in many years. I'm old enough now to appreciate the history and want to get a sense of the place beyond "amazing food," but not quite sure where to begin. I had a tour of the Grand Palace in Bangkok this morning, and was left feeling kind of adrift as a blind tourist. There was a lot of visual splendor, but also a jostling, unaware crowd of other people.

I tend to get a better experience from reading books. I'd love recommendations about Thailand, anything which can give me a sense of the history/culture of the place. I'd prefer a bit more depth than what I tend to think of when I think "tourism." Descriptions of the visuals, styles, history, etc are all welcome. Anything available electronically would be appreciated, as I can't read standard print. My Thai is conversational, but I don't know of a good way to read material in the language.

As an idea of the kind of thing I was struck by this morning, people mentioned that there were some paintings depicting scenes from the Ramayana. I'd love to get a good translation of that, and figure out how it ended up in Thai iconography. Any resources the hive mind could provide would be gratefully received.
posted by Alensin to Travel & Transportation around Bangkok, Thailand (3 answers total)
This isn't quite what you want, but BK Magazine at is Bangkok's free English weekly paper and I wonder if they'd be a useful resource for any contemporary-Thailand questions you have. The magazine isn't really for tourists so much as expats and affluent local English-speakers, and they have a great website that hosts most/all of their content and often do interviews with journalists, authors and other Bangkokians of the moment.

I wonder if our MeFibrarians have a history-of-Thailand book recommendation that covers your question, though.
posted by mdonley at 9:56 PM on February 18, 2018

James O’Reilly’s Traveler’s Tales Thailand may be available in an alternate format

Paul Handley’s The King Never Smiles

Jody Houtin’s Geek in Thailand

Non-fiction with Farang in the title might get you some first-person accounts.

If you are US-based, Are you registered with NLS in the Library of Congress and working with the BARD Mobile App? I don’t know about other areas, unfortunately.
posted by childofTethys at 11:34 AM on February 19, 2018

Thanks for the recommendations! :)

I'll start looking around. I am definitely registered with Bard, and other accessibility services in the US.
posted by Alensin at 5:24 PM on February 19, 2018

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