Books forum

Availability of English language reading materials in SE Asia

  • ms1892

    Joined Travelfish
    23rd December, 2009
    Posts: 38

    I am setting of on Tuesday for a 2 month trip around SE Asia.

    I love reading and dont think i could bear the long flights and trains etc without a good book. Is it easy to find English language books, particularly in Cambodia and Vietnam? If so, is there usually a good selection and are they reasonably priced?

    Is it foolish of me to be considering carrying a backpack of books around with me?


    #1 Posted: 2/4/2010 - 18:35

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  • Dylan

    Joined Travelfish
    21st March, 2009
    Posts: 25

    Ha--I had the same concerns when I was over there recently. I ended up bringing 3-4 books from home to hold me over until I could find an english-lang. bookstore, of which there are many (of varying quality). I also managed to trade with fellow backpackers...with mixed results. Some pulp, some good stuff.

    In cambodia especially, you'll encounter a glut of the same 10-12 photocopied books that seller/street vendors assume western travelers are into--a few on the Khmer Rouge, a few recent bestsellers, a gratuitous marijuana-heavy travelogue, etc. Your best bet is in Phnom Penh, where you can pick up some quality books at brick-and-mortor stores (I copped Crime and Punishment and a Tom Robbins paperback) for not too much $.

    Saigon has a few choice spots as well in the usual backpacker and expat quarters. Just don't expect much $ if you're trading in old books.

    In the end, I lugged around 4-5 books at all times, some read, some on queue, just to make sure I was never caught without something to read on those interminable bus/train/boat trips.

    #2 Posted: 2/4/2010 - 23:38

  • ms1892

    Joined Travelfish
    23rd December, 2009
    Posts: 38

    Thanks for the reply Dylan. It pretty much confirms what I had suspected.

    I am probably going to take a fair few books with me anyway. Im sure I can swap them on the way and if the worst comes to the worst and I have to dump them to save on the weight, I guess i can live with that.

    Of course I really blame Steig Larsson for my current dilema. I am about 50 pages into the first of the Millennium trilogy and so in addition to the reading materials I was planning on taking im now going to have to cart around all three of his books too! Oh well, what is another 1800 odd pages!?!

    #3 Posted: 3/4/2010 - 07:54

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