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Off the Shelf


Bangkok Guide

(Australian-New Zealand Women's Group, 275 pages)

Review by Morris Dye

Gather a group of Bangkok expats together and invariably they will end up comparing notes on their favorite out-of-the-way restaurants, their latest finds for sourcing Asian antiques, respectable venues for traditional Thai massage, idyllic weekend getaway spots and memorable ways to entertain visiting friends and family. For almost three decades, members of the city's Australian-New Zealand Women's Group have been compiling their collective wit and wisdom about such matters in their self-published Bangkok Guide, which they update every two years (the latest edition came out in November). While parts of the book are primarily of interest to long-term residents--such as advice about hiring a housekeeper or choosing the right school for the kiddies--the guide's sections on health care, shopping, dining and sightseeing provide a level of practical detail and insider tips that few commercial travel guides can match. An entire chapter is devoted to Thai handicrafts, for instance, including historical information plus a list of the city's nonprofit retailers that support educational and community-development projects in rural areas. The book is a labor of love, produced by dozens of ANZWG volunteers who pass on all proceeds to Thai charities. The softcover version, which includes a removable street map and transit guide, retails for about $16 in local bookstores and hotels. Short-term tourists will probably want to stick to classics, like the award-winning (and hefty) Lonely Planet guide to Thailand, or LP's much slimmer and equally informative city guide to Bangkok, which features handy fold-out maps. Visitors interested in a cultural tour of the city will also find Thailand: The Rough Guide to be of use, with handy information like "Bangkok for Kids," listing recommended sidetrips and attractions for families with small children in tow, or the Thailand Blue Guide for details on the city's art and architecture. But residents and frequent visitors to Bangkok--or anyone interested in finding out how residents make the most of their own city--would do well to check out the ANZWG publication.

R E L A T E D  L I N K S :

Lonely Planet
Rough Guides
Blue Guide Thailand
Moon Travel Handbooks
Fodor's
Fielding Travel Guides



MORE TRAVEL WATCH FEATURES ON THAILAND




Daily

January 11, 1999

Off the Shelf
For almost three decades, members of the city's Australian-New Zealand Women's Group have been compiling their collective wit and wisdom in their self-published Bangkok Guide

Hot Deal
Fans of the Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong can now enjoy the same brand of swank accommodation in Bangkok

Web Crawling
The homepage for Thailand's largest Internet service is a font of useful information

Short Cuts
Angel Airlines, Thailand's second international carrier, is expanding its network of routes

Detour
The Chatuchak weekend market is a must-squeeze for Bangkok visitors with time on their hands and plenty of stamina

Main Feature
The Asian Games that swept through Bangkok in December left a spirit of goodwill behind--good news for anyone planning a visit or stopover in 1999

POLL
In light of the uncertainty about how computer systems will cope with the looming Y2K problem, would you fly on January 1, 2000?



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