Chai Book Club Giveaway: Touch the Dragon, Thailand

“This is a book I wish I could read again for the first time,’ TBEX speaker Mike Sowden said of the rich language of Touch the Dragon, the journal of a Canadian teenager who set off to Thailand, and 1993 winner of Canada’s Governor General’s Award for Non-Fiction.

This is my introduction to the book as well so I will be tracking down a copy for myself.

Thailand and Japan are my recommendations for first-time Asia. Yes, Thailand is over-touristed. However, it has everything of the exotic Asia of dreams, from the glittering sequin temples and elephants on the expressways of Bangkok, to the hill trekking in the north, to the beaches and islands of the south. Plus all the unprintable stuff that allures (and ensnares) many. Visa policies are liberal, logistics are easy.

Royal barge procession

Royal barge procession, photo by spotter_nl

Please leave a Thailand-related comment with valid email address by Monday, June 3 at 23:59 EDT. Available to US entrants/addresses only. One winner will be selected at random. Note that this book is out of print so the winner will receive a second-hand copy.


And the winner is #8, Mikey, who wrote: “Nice place to visit for a short vacation, but living there as an expat is no so much fun as one would imagine .”

Chai Book Club 02Jun13

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17 Comments on "Chai Book Club Giveaway: Touch the Dragon, Thailand"

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Andrew C

My first trip to Asia was last year to Thailand. I don’t know why I had been concerned about taking the trip- it was easy compared with my time in Africa and South America!


I certainly agree Thailand is good for first timers to Asia. Easy to get around, enough English spoken, especially in the tourism industry, plenty of tourism infrastructure… And so much rich history. While Bangkok is crowded and crazy, once you get out of the city things are a lot more slow-paced. It’s one of my favorite countries in the world.

Yana K

I just watched the movie Impossible – made me want to visit Thailand – what seems like the land of warm and hospitable people. I’ve never been to Asia (if you don’t count industrial cities in the Asian part of Russia), so Thailand is definitely a high contender for the first “real” Asian trip.

Linda T
Thailand continues to fascinate. Was just there for the third time. I was there for the first time in my 20s with girlfriends. Then I got stuck in Bhutan a few years ago when my flight on Druk Air couldn’t take off and so I ended up spending an unexpected night in Bangkok on the way home. My husband accompanied me for his first trip there this past January. I have only been to Bangkok each time, but hope to get out in the countryside the next time. One of my sons spent an extended time exploring the country and… Read more »

I’ve never really given Thailand enough time, using it more as a transit hub for various visits to its more “exotic” neighbors of Burma, Laos, and Cambodia. Do need to spend more time at some point there…along with so many other places.


Our first trip to Thailand was in 2004 and we have been back every year since. It’s the place I end up wanting to return to over and over. My tip is to rent a car one way between Samui and Phuket/Khao Lak, with a stopover in Krabi/AoNang. Great scenery. Car ferry is cheap and a great experience with a foor massage available onboard for $10. 90 min ferry to/from Samui to/from mainland cost $20. For car and 2 people; the same as 2 foot massages onboard.


Some gorgeous temples to behold. My recommendation (which I learned from RTC) is to wear slip-on shoes, so you don’t have to bother with laces all the time. I wore hiking boots on my first trip. 🙁

The official color of the Thai monarchy is yellow, and I recall seeing lots of yellow signs/posters/shirts/flags embossed with an image of the king. I just perused the wikipedia article on the gov’t of Thailand, which suggests that the current state of things is somewhat shaky … but, well, it’s wikipedia. Anyone have some insight to offer?


NIce place to visit for a short vacation, but living there as an expat is no so much fun as one would imagine .

Jagadish Gandhi

Went on a 5 day trip to the more touristy Bangkok & Pattaya in 2011 with a dozen friends. I’m in love with Thailand now. I want to go back and explore Ko Pha Ngan, Ko Samui and Chiang Mai. I have been hearing / reading a lot about these places.

Pamela T

Would love to read it in preparation for my limited Thailand visit. Spent three weeks in Japan in the early ’80s.


Interesting… Lived in Thailand for 2+ years so interested in her thoughts!

Henry T

Going to Thailand in September… United First through Japan and then down on Singapore Airlines! Can’t wait!


I am using Journey Within for my first trip to Thailand and Cambodia. They do a great job of small tours and community service! Eager to go on my trip!


I would love to go to Thailand. Still haven’t been to anywhere in Asia.


Since I don’t know if you meant 11:59AM or PM, I will hope that my comment still counts.

I have visited Thailand twice and I was very impressed by the kindness of the Thai people, the sheer beauty of the country and the delicious food they make, it became one of my favorite countries!

Rapid Travel Chai

@Aptraveler – my negligence in haste, it is PM and incude you.

Rapid Travel Chai

@Andrew – ah yes, I remember those huge hiking boots, a cherished memory at every temple!