Bangkok’s best independent bookshops

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Published: August 20, 2015

Bangkok isn’t known as a city of avid readers – but in between all the high-rise shopping centres are a few stalwart independent bookstores that thankfully just won’t go away. These are our favourite spots for whiling away a weekend afternoon with our heads deep in a good story.

Dasa Book Café

Dasa Book Café - photo by Dasa Book Café

Dasa bills itself as Bangkok’s best secondhand bookshop, and it’s a claim that’s easy to back up. The shop, on the main road between the Sukhuvmit Line’s Phrom Phong and Thong Lor Skytrain stations, stocks around 17,000 titles in a variety of genres and languages. All are available to search in an online database that is updated three times a week, or just with a good old-fashioned rummage of the impeccably organised shelves. Prices for common books tend to run around the 100 baht mark, with rarer titles or those in particularly good condition reaching 200-300 baht. For real bargains, the boxes on the pavement outside the shop and on its uppermost floor have copies for as little as 19 baht. Dasa also offers generous sale and trade-in policies, and there’s even an in-house coffee shop so you can nurse something refreshing while you dip into your new read. They make a big deal about being open every day of the year, even on public holidays. Daily, 10am-8pm; 714/4 Sukhumvit Road (between sois 26 and 28 – BTS Phrom Phong); 02 661 2993; www.dasabookcafe.com.

Passport Bookshop

The long-standing Passport, in the old town of Phra Nakhon and just a stone’s throw from backpacker-popular Khaosan Road, specialises in titles about the southeast Asian region. Throw in coffee, books by independent writers, and a pleasant ambience – plus cute postcards on the racks outside – and you’ve got a winning formula. Inside, every inch of wall space is covered with books, local announcement boards and more; there are plenty of tables to sit and read or work, and the result is a bubbling creative space that attracts local intellectual types. Tuesday-Sunday, 10.30am-7pm (until 8pm on Fridays and Saturdays); Phra Sumen Road; www.bit.ly/passportbangkok.

Candide

Candide bookshop in Bangkok - photo by Pittaya Sroilong

Previously on the old quarter’s Tanao Road, this bookstore named after Voltaire’s famous novel has since relocated to the riverside Khlong San area and boasts perhaps one of Bangkok’s most picturesque settings for an afternoon of quiet reading indulgence. Flanked by trees and grassy lawns in a low-lying building at The Jam Factory, Candide is an ambassador of the independent publishing scene – and, while there are certainly more books in Thai than English, visitors will find worthwhile picks too. The in-house café completes the vibe. Daily, 11am-8pm; Charoen Nakhon Road (Si Phaya river boat pier, then a cross-river ferry to Khlong San); www.candidebooks.com.

Which is your favourite bookshop in Bangkok? Let us know in the comments!

Photos by Dasa Book Café and Pittaya Sroilong.

Categories: Bangkok

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