One of the first books that I bought when I came to Thailand was “Bangkok Then and Now” by Steve Van Beek. It was a favourite back then, and still is today. Steve not only has a keen interest on Thailand, but knows the place and culture inside out. In this book he has researched old photos and postcards to give us a unique insight into what Thailand was like in the past and how it compares to the city of today. Highly recommended.
Bangkok, Then and Now depicts the dramatic changes in one of the world’s great cities over the past century. Set side by side are photographs taken in 1900 and 1999; a comprehensive text looks at daily life. Maps enable adventurers to explore monuments of Bangkok’s early days on their own. Scores of stories from the 1900 and 1901 editions of the Bangkok Times newspaper reveal in graphic detail the tenor of the age told by the people who lived it. Sidebars relate the history of the trams (whose drivers exchanged horse race tips by tapping on their footbells), advise on how to stay healthy (cholera belts were essential), and recount the careers of colorful criminals who terrorized the city (including the notorious hat snatchers and their geckoes). A bestseller since its initial publication.
“Bangkok Then and Now” is available at Asia Books and all other leading book stores in Thailand. You should also be able to buy online at places like amazon and also Steve’s own website.