Bookshops Around the World: Thailand (Pai)

Before taking over Mostly Books, Sarah took time out from her regular routine to travel the world for a year.  During parts of 2014 & 2015, she travelled through 14 countries, primarily in South East Asia and South America, which gave her the opportunity to relax and prepare for her career change.  

During her travels, Sarah spent a lot of time searching for inspiration by hunting down bookshops in the places that she visited.  These ranged from a beautiful, converted theatre in Buenos Aires to endless numbers of bookstalls covering the streets of Yangon in Myanmar.  Each and every one helped Sarah to shape her thoughts on what she wanted to create in her own bookshop and all have a special place in her heart.

Over the next few weeks, Sarah will be sharing her memories of these shops and photos that she took during her travels.  We hope that you enjoy them.
This week it's Pai in Thailand. 
Pai is a sleepy little town in Northern Thailand that I first visited Pai during a backpacking trip in 2001, when it was the starting point for my white-water rafting trip down the Pai river. When I’d visited back then, there was nothing to the town; basically a crossroad with a couple of guest houses and some places to eat and drink.

Fast forward 14 years and I was back again but this time I was there to take part in a Kung Fu retreat (true story) which was taking place just outside of the main town.  I was only at the retreat for a week but, during that time, I quickly fell back in love with the relaxed charm of Pai.  The town has grown in size, thanks to Thailand’s booming tourist trade, however it still manages to retain a relaxed, traveller, vibe.

When I wasn’t participating in Chi Kung or Kung Fu training, I would make my way into town to familiarise myself with what was on offer.  One day, as I meandered down the Main Street towards the river, I spotted what looked like a large pile of wooden books outside a small shop.  Given my obsession with all things books, I headed straight towards them hoping to find a bookshop (of sorts) nearby.  I wasn't disappointed. 
It turns out that I had found Siam Books, a second-hand bookshop which serves both the traveller community and locals.  The shop was bursting with a wide range of books, which were all well organised and easy to navigate.  The bargain bin at the front of the shop had books on sale for 100 THB (about £2.30) with an additional 20% off some of the titles.  This place was heaven for a traveller like me!!  Somewhere with a great selection of books at discount prices that I could browse for hours.  In addition to the books, Siam Books also stocked greeting cards, posters and post-cards so it was a great stop-off for all travellers.

When preparing these posts, I always try to look at the websites or social media sites of places that I have visited, to see how the business has changed (if at all) from when I was there.  It was great to see a brilliant selection of images taken in Siam Books on Instagram and some information on their Facebook page.

The atmosphere in Siam Books reflected the town of Pai; a relaxed, friendly and a place that you will want to spend some time.  If you ever find yourself in Pai, be sure to pop in for a visit. 

If you are interested in seeing more about Sarah's experiences in Thailand, you can head to her blog posts on the country which start here.  There are more pictures of Siam Books on our Facebook page here and, as always, feel free to pop into the shop for a chat about all things travel.  Sarah is a huge fan of exploring all parts of the world and will happily chat about it with anyone.

1 comment:

  1. I've visited some of these bookshops, it was exciting! and wrote an interesting essay about bookshops here