Travel literature: books about and for Southeast Asia


Whether it's a travel guide or an exciting novel, books are simply part of traveling. Here are some of the best titles to prepare for your trip to Southeast Asia and to browse the hammock or beach.

Books for Southeast Asia / Books about Southeast Asia

In this article you will learn ...

  • a) where to find the best information about your destination. In addition to the classic guidebooks, there are also books that provide insights into the culture, history and everyday life of the people of each country.
  • b) which novels related to Southeast Asia are particularly recommendable.
  • c) which books are also recommended, from travelogues to cookbooks to interesting biographies.

Travel Guide for Southeast Asia

Stefan Loose-series

The best travel guides for Southeast Asia I think are the orange travel manuals by Stefan Loose . The relaxed approach and the great amount of information make the guides a reliable companion on the paths of Southeast Asia and the world. Often also smaller places and goals are described off the tourist strongholds. In addition to detailed individual works on each country, there are also transnational titles such as »Southeast Asia. The Mekong Region « or » Southeast Asia. The island world. « .

Lonely Planet series

Lonely Planet travel guides have been known for decades as a backpacker bible. He is the most famous travel guide everywhere. Copies can also be purchased in many backpacker-popular regions. On Khao San Road in Bangkok, there are now entire stalls that offer nothing else than the Lonely Planet Travel Guides. Often you can also find copies in hostels or guesthouses. Sometimes popular Lonely Planet targets talk about the Lonely Planet effect. So it can happen that a destination described in the Lonely Planet as calm and authentic quickly mutates from an insider tip to an overcrowded tourist capital. In addition to the individual country editions, the tome "Southeast Asia for little money" is very popular .

Rough Guide series

The third recommendable guide series. The Rough Guide is only available in English. If that does not bother you, then he is a faithful and reliable companion on your travels through Southeast Asia. He is not quite as well known and sometimes not written as detailed as Loose and Lonely Planet. He is similar to the information content, however. Personally, I also like to use it.

Culture shock series

The Kulturschock series of Reise Know-How is aimed at those who want to dive a little deeper into a country and want to deal with the usual information in the guide, with history, >India , Indonesia , Thailand , Laos , Philippines , Vietnam or Cambodia . Check it out, it's worth it. For the reading louts, there are also audiobooks of the series. The culture shock books do not replace the use of a travel guide. They are rather to be seen as a supplement.

Instructions for Use-series

In the series of "Instructions for ..." there are stories about various countries, including in Southeast Asia. Most of the time you will learn more about the traveled country in a literarily unusual way. Knowledgeable authors describe their impressions and stories in a pleasant, entertaining and sometimes satirical >Thailand , Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia , Myanmar and India (the issues to Thailand and Myanmar are also available free of charge in the Fascination Southeast Asia shop ) . To get a glimpse into life in a foreign country, the series is great. But the books are not classic guides.

Hand luggage books

The series »Hand luggage books« also provides an insight into the country's culture and everyday life.

There are issues to Vietnam , Cambodia , Myanmar , Thailand , India and Malaysia .


The books in this series will take you past the most common pitfalls, errors and misconceptions you can encounter as a tourist in Southeast Asia. They help you discover the peculiarities, traditions and customs of each country. There are, among other things, Vietnam , India and Thailand .

Books / eBooks of travel bloggers:

In recent years, eBooks and books from travel bloggers have creatively expanded the market of travel guides and closed some gaps. Of course I would like to recommend you my own titles first.

There is a fascination for Thailand and fascination with Vietnam . Both books are aimed primarily at travelers who want to travel to these countries for the first time. I answer about 100 questions and give many useful tips.

Whether newcomer or old hand, who goes to Bangkok, should take a look at my insider guide 555 Tips for Bangkok . I am sure that your stay in Thailand's capital will be an unforgettable experience.

Other recommended books / eBooks:

Travel reports and testimonials

Another great way to learn more about life and travel in other countries is through reports from travelers who have summarized their experiences in a book.

These stories can be read well in advance and used for inspiration or you can also comfortably while in your hammock on the beach or in front of your bungalow during your trip. You will discover in it again and again insider tips and suggestions for your trip.

The price of lightness - a journey through Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam (Andreas Altmann)

The well-known travelogue author Andreas Altmann travels through Southeast Asia and lets the reader share his experiences. He dives far below the surface and thus offers deep insights into our foreign culture. Altmann gets to know numerous people and their stories on the way. If you want to understand Southeast Asia better, make a good start with this book. [ View book ]

Altmann writes about his experiences in India in his book "Meet the Buddha, kill him!" .

Banana Pancake Trail (Philipp Mattheis)

The Banana Pancake Trail does not describe a designated path or a specific itinerary. Rather, it is synonymous with heavily traveled places in Southeast Asia. Due to the constant visit of predominantly western backpack tourists, restaurants, guesthouses and cafés adapted to the needs of those visitors. Philipp Mattheis was traveling on the most complete trail in the world and tells in entertaining anecdotes about those who are left behind, adventurers, dropouts and would-be individualists. Written with great humor and sarcasm, you will surely recognize yourself in one situation or another and have to smile. Very successful reading, in which sometimes may be laughed. [ View book ]

Vientiane - Singapore: With the rickshaw through Southeast Asia (Thomas Bauer)

From Vientiane the journey along the Mekong and Cambodia leads to the temples of Angkor Wat. Continue through half Thailand and Malaysia all the way to Singapore. On the one hand, the sleepy capital of Laos, Vientiane, on the other hand, the soaring, metropolis of Singapore. A journey from one world to the other. The exciting thing about the story: the entire route is covered with a rickshaw. A journey full of unforeseen and arduous obstacles. But also a journey on which Thomas Bauer met very special people and also found a little bit of himself. An exciting book that makes you want more ... and especially the desire for Southeast Asia. [ View book ]

Tuk tuk sir? And other stories from Asia (Albert Karsai)

Albert Karzai traveled through Southeast Asia for many years, teaching at Thai village schools, skating over muddy roads in the rainforests of Cambodia, and planting rice with his own hands. Despite everything, the Asian behavior regularly drives him a big question mark in the face. And that although he was allowed to live in Vietnam for a year and a half. As a reader, you will be entertained by the countries of Southeast Asia very entertaining, especially if you have been there before, you will find yourself in the anecdotes from Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Malaysia and South Korea. [ View book ]

A Short Ride in the Jungle: The Ho Chi Minh Trail by Motorcycle (Antonia Bolingbroke-Kent)

At the time of the Vietnam War, the so-called Ho Chi Minh Trail was a supply route of the Vietnamese guerrillas fighting for North Vietnam in the south. It was a sort of transport route where arms and food were carried south to the enemy lines. It also leads through the dense jungles of neighboring Laos and Cambodia. With her motorcycle, Antonia Bolingbroke-Kent wanted to follow the path again, before nature took back what was once taken from her. What and whom she met and experienced on the way, you will learn in her travelogue "A Short Ride in the Jungle: The Ho Chi Minh Trail by Motorcycle". [ View book ]

My travels to the unknown: Southeast Asia, Thailand, China, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, India (Peter Landgraf)

Peter Landgraf tours the huge continent several times. He visits the metropolises and penetrates into secluded landscapes. The people he meets there are dear to his heart. This includes a princess, whom he meets at the temple festival in Bali. At Batak, in the heart of Sumatra, he tries to unravel the secrets of the shamans. In the mountains of Sulawesi he witnesses a traditional funeral ceremony of the Dajak and in the north of Thailand he travels in the Golden Triangle to the tribe of the Meos, who live from opium cultivation. Written with a lot of irony and fine observation. [ View book ]

Two Minute Noodle: A Backpacker's Tale (Howie Cobb)

Unhappy, disillusioned, broke and divorced. Howie Cobb decides to run away. He just grabs his backpack and sets off for Asia. Shortly after arriving, he realized that he had landed on the backpacker scene. Howie immediately asked the question: can I fit in there at all? Will I be accepted, also because of my older age? That was in the late 90s. In his book, he talks about his experiences as a supposedly older backpacker. [ View book ]

World Heart - From one who set out to seek freedom

At 37, Markus Steiner has had enough of his life as a marketing manager in an online start-up. He quits job and apartment and embarks on a world tour. He runs to Mount Everest, hitchhikes in Japan and takes the train through Australia. He finds peace on the way in a Thai monastery.

That Markus can handle >world traveler . Again and again he manages to convey intensive pictures of his travels without photos. He finally published his first book, Weltherz. [ View book ]

Good Bye, Lehmann: In search of the good life

Stefan Fay successfully completed his studies before entering professional life. After a short time, he notices that he is on his way to get into the same hamster wheel, in which his work colleagues have been struggling for quite some time. When his colleague Mr. Lehmann is honored for 30 years of company affiliation, Stefan gets to deal with the fear. Fear that his life flies past him as it happened with Mr. Lehmann.

He quits his job and goes on a trip to South America. After eight months, he returns, hoping to be ready for work. But that does not work out the way he imagines it, because the desire to travel and the wanderlust are bigger. He forges a plan: Around the world by motorbike! He saves two years and then the day finally arrived. He sets out on an exciting journey through distant lands and cultures.

An inspirational book for those who have been thinking about getting out for a while. [ View book ]

Bangkok Days (Lawrence Osborne)

A book about the adventures that a tourist experiences in Asia's hottest metropolis. Between Buddhism, food stalls, backpackers, alcohol and luxury hotels Lawrence moves through the city. A love letter to the capital of Thailand. If you are planning a longer stay in Bangkok, this book should not be left out. [ View book ]

Phi Phi Island: A Report (Josef Haslinger)

Josef Haslinger travels with his family to the Thai island of Koh Phi Phi in 2004 to spend Christmas and New Year's Eve. The dream vacation becomes a nightmare when a merciless tsunami hits the Thai west coast. Thousands of people die. Also for the Austrian and his family began a struggle for survival. Phi Phi Island is an eyewitness account of a survivor of the tsunami. [ View book ]

Ant Egg Soup: The Adventures Of A Food Tourist In Laos (Natacha Du Pont De Bie)

Natacha Du Pont De Bie is not a normal tourist. She sometimes stretches for hours through the streets in search of the perfect food. Instead of lying on the beach, she pulls out her elbows and struggles across the local markets, haggling, cooking and talking to local kitchen heroes. Ant Egg Soup is the product of their journey through Laos. As a food tourist, she writes about the places she visits, about dishes she has tasted, about turkey blood cocktails with a mountain folk, and about Paradise Chicken being allowed to cook in a guesthouse at Kuang Si Waterfall. Another book with a focus on the culinary arts of Southeast Asia. [ View book ]

In a beautiful country: everyday life in Sri Lanka (Minouche Moser)

Minouche has emigrated with her family to Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka stands for long, golden sandy beaches, tropical flowering jungle green, tea plantations and a variety of exotic fruits.
In this paradise, the author settles down with her family in 2004. Very blue-eyed and (as she soon had to experience) more than insufficiently prepared. Sri Lanka does not stick to any norm and every day can be a surprise; Minouche Moser is confronted with the island's own traffic rules, cooks through Sri Lankan severity levels, lets himself be helped by the inhabitants of paradise, either enchanted and cheated - and is finally caught up in the events of December 26, as a tsunami over the Island rolls, devastated whole coastal parts and kills 30,000 people in death. Interesting insights into everyday life in a distant land. [ View book ]

The Gift of the Sea Nomads: The Water People in Indonesia (Milda Drüke)

In the island kingdom between the Indian and the Stillem ocean Milda Drüke searches for the nomadic sea people of the Bajos - and discovers her own nomadic soul. A successful woman gives up her career and sails once around the world. When she returns, she decides to take another job. She writes and photographs. One day Milda Drüke hears of sea nomads, the Bajos in Southeast Asia, who live in small houseboats and wander the sea, and set off in search of them. Arriving in Indonesia, she realizes that nobody knows where they are. But she finds them, lives with Bajo families, who receive them hospitably. She gets to know her culture and finally meets the outsider Om Lahali, who has been living alone on his boat for forty years. She is allowed to accompany him for weeks, and in doing so she makes experiences that fundamentally change her life. "The gift of the sea nomads" tells of the encounter of a woman with an exotic world and with her own originality. Mega-moving book. [ View book ]

Take care of her jerk, I'll go to paradise (Christiane Hagen)

What begins as a romantic holiday flirtation in Indonesia should change Christiane's life. A few months later, she gives up her job in Berlin, leaves friends and family and dares to go to paradise. In "Be good, you idiot!" She told of the island life's adventure with a fisherman as a friend. Finally, the extended reissue appears, in which Christiane reveals the long-awaited outcome of the story: She rousingly tells of the downsides, of insatiable homesickness and the return to Germany. But that's not the end of the story - because Fischer David fights for her love, until Christiane finally realizes that you can not only live his dream under palm trees. [ View book ]

Here are some recommendable novels that play in the countries of Southeast Asia as well as in India and Sri Lanka. These are especially nice to read, if you are perhaps even at the place of action.

Border Run (Simon Lewis)

Jake and Will are tired of the "mango smoothie trail" and want to experience something adventurous on their backpacking trip through Southeast Asia. They decide to seek this in the jungle on the Sino-Burmese border. The dream becomes a nightmare when it turns out that her guide is not who he seemed to be. In a game of hide and seek, the two fight for their bare survival. [ View book ]

Deadly Path (Jon Evans)

A thriller playing in the backpacker scene. After Paul Wood discovers a body on a trail in Nepal, he is shocked. The trekker was murdered and Paul feels transported back to his time when he was backpacking through Africa. His then girlfriend Laura was killed in the same bestial way. Is a serial killer bustling around in the backpacker scene? An exciting trail leads from Nepal to Bali. Not to be neglected is the follow-up book "Blutpreis." [View book ]

Backpack (Emily Barr)

Tansy has to get out. She's tired of her job and her life in London. She has to flee. Flee from her egocentric friend, her dead mother and her job in the media industry. She leaves everything behind and sets out on a journey through Southeast Asia. At first plagued by homesickness and longing for her boyfriend, she slowly but surely begins to feel comfortable in the new world. But the idyll will not last long. When she gets involved in a murderous act, the trip starts to get more exciting and adventurous than Tansy ultimately wished ... [ View Book ]

The beach (Alex Garland)

Sure, this classic backpacking literature should not be missed. Most will know the book. A young Englishman who gets a plan on the Khao San Road in Bangkok to the seemingly perfect beach in the south of Thailand. Full of thirst for adventure and longing, he sets out with two acquaintances in search of this mystical place. Is the beach really or is it just a myth? Class book that has now certainly inspired millions of people to travel and filmed with Leonardo DiCaprio in The Beach . [ View book ]

Jimm Juree (Colin Cotterill)

Jimm Juree is the protagonist who gives the series its name. She is a crime reporter in Thailand and her career is weakening. But in the Thai province is going on more than imagined and the criminal cases demand Jimms skills as a resourceful investigator. She keeps slipping into frantic criminal cases that she and her family solve, leading a small resort in southern Thailand. The first volume of the Thailand Crime Series was released in 2013 under the title "The Dead Wears Hat" in Germany. The second volume "A head does not make a corpse" followed in April 2014. 2015 was the last part of the funny Thailand thrillers, "With ax, charm and melon", out. Very entertaining reading. [ View book ]

Death Wreath The Last Tiger Black Ships (Nora Luttmer)

Nora Luttmer, born in 1973, lives in Hamburg and works as a writer and freelance journalist. She studied Southeast Asian Studies with a focus on Vietnam in Passau, Paris and Hanoi. Since the mid-nineties she visits Hanoi again and again and speaks among other things the national >View book ]

Shantaram (Gregory David Roberts)

Shantaram tells the story of Roberts' own life in a fictionalized form: When the Australian Lindsay gets stranded in Bombay, he has served two years of imprisonment and is fleeing from Interpol. Fortunately for him, he meets the young Indian, Prabaker, who takes him under his wing. On their forays through the exotic metropolis, the two close an intimate friendship. From Prabaker, Lindsay not only learns the >View book ]

Other recommended novels:

Dust in paradise (Ernst Solér)
Fred Staub, newly appointed commander of the Zurich cantonal police, actually only wanted to visit his daughter Anna, who works there in a research project in Sri Lanka. However, when one of the Swiss scientists shot dead in front of Staub's eyes, he begins, together with the Sri Lankan policeman Verasinghe, to investigate the facts of the crime. At the same time, Staub's former colleagues in Zurich ask for their help: Staub is supposed to look around in the family environment of a Tamil man murdered in Zurich, who was based in Sri Lanka. In his research dust meets an influential military, a heavy German and a high-ranking coordinator of the Swiss tsunami aid. The three are anything but excited about Staub's efforts to bring light into the darkness ... [ View Book ]

Dr. Siri (Colin Cotterill)

Dr. Siri Paiboun is one of the oldest investigators on the book market at over 70 years of age. In the thriller series of globetrotter Colin Cotterill, the spry coroner of Laos encounters one unusual death after another. There are now 9 books in the equally exciting and amusing novel series. [ View book ]

Julia lives in New York. One day her father disappears. In his documents she finds a love letter to a woman she does not know. And the reference to the small place Kalaw in the mountains of Myanmar, the old home of her father. She makes her way to the small village, hoping to find him there. She comes across a family secret. A nice book about love. [ View book ]

Nonfiction, illustrated books country history

A little unemotional, but perhaps with more information provided are some non-fiction books on the country and people and the country's history, which I recommend. The illustrated books also give insights into life in Southeast Asia.

Death in the rice field: 30 Years War in Indochina (Peter Scholl-Latour)

Peter Scholl-Latour knew Indochina like no other. He was familiar with all the countries between the Bay of Bengal and the Gulf of Tonking: Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Myanmar and Singapore. He also knew the mighty neighbor China. Since traveling there for the first time on board a French troop transport in 1945 and witnessing the Indo-Chinese tragedy, he has condensed his experiences and experiences into a succession of impressive images. A reportage of the highest order with sharply defined, enormously living figures, moved by the turbulence of events. Very informative and written by one of the biggest experts on Southeast Asia. [ View book ]

Southeast Asia in the crosshairs: Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Burma, Naples and Bhutan from the inside (Peter Willers)

Peter Willers led a mine clearance project in Cambodia for six years. He used this time to explore neighboring countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia or Nepal. He was interested in the people, the history and the culture of these states, but also questioned the current political situation.
With great empathy and humor, the author manages to give a comprehensive insight into the soul of Southeast Asia. The wildlife is also given special attention. He was able to experience elephants, rhinos, tigers and such rare species as the Taksin in the Kingdom of Bhutan. In doing so, Peter Willers does not close his eyes to the environmental problems that have arisen in this up-and-coming region through greed and corruption. "Southeast Asia in the Crosshairs" is the continuation of the successful non-fiction book "Cambodia in the Crosshair", which Peter Willers published in 2015. A look behind the scenes and for those interested in culture highly recommended. [ View book ]

Southeast Asia: geography, history, economics, politics. Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Brunei, Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia, East Timor (Karl Vorlaufer)

Anyone who wants to take a holistic view of Southeast Asia should take this work to heart. Karl Vorlaufer provides a well-founded overview of Southeast Asia, richly illustrated and provided with up-to-date maps, graphics and tables. He describes a region that is undergoing rapid change in the wake of globalization. A space of extremes in which planned economy meets market economy, rural population on city population, arm on realm, and in which different ethnic groups and supporters of all world religions live side by side. The author analyzes the population and its social structure. He pays special attention to migration flows, demographic development and ethnolinguistic diversity. In addition to the natural potential, Karl Vorlaufer describes the current development of resource and environmental protection in the Southeast Asian region and analyzes the economic development of the agricultural, mining and energy industries to service industries and tourism. Goes a little deeper into the matter and is not a story, but very interesting for fact lovers. [ View book ]

Forays through the mysterious Southeast Asia (Annett Mario Weigt)

For more than twenty years, Annett Mario Weigt have traveled to the Mekong countries Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. Notepad and camera have approached the people living there time and again. In the process, they met animal rights activists who are fighting almost hopelessly for the conservation of Asian elephants and gibbons. They accompanied riding monks in the Golden Triangle in their fight against drug trafficking. They met apsara dancers, coffee farmers, cyclists and gold seekers. This resulted in gripping stories of people, nature and animals. Sometimes funny, sometimes sad or with an unexpected ending. Now the two, who have previously published many high-quality books, reports and calendars on Southeast Asia, have compiled the best stories in a book. [ View book ]

The silence of innocence: My way out of child prostitution and the fight against the sex mafia in Asia (Somaly Mam)

A very poignant work on a topic that most often do not want to know: sex tourism. Somaly tells the story of how she grew up in dire poverty after her birth in eastern Cambodia and was sold to a strange man at the age of six. There she runs the household until she is finally passed to a brothel at the age of fifteen, where she has to get to know the depths of human existence. When she finally meets Pierre, the nightmare comes to an end. After being freed from the prostitution swamp, she fights a bitter fight against the sex mafia in Southeast Asia and vehemently campaigns for disenfranchised children. Nothing for the faint-hearted! [ View book ]

Myanmar / Burma - Travel in the Land of Pagodas (Klaus R. Schröder)

Only a few years ago, the Myanmar has opened again to tourism. There are still many things in their infancy, but experience shows that it does not take long until more and more tourist infrastructure is created. Schröder has been traveling the country for years. He is fascinated by the culture and the people of the former Burma. [ View book ]

The Children of the Killing Fields - Cambodia's Path from the Terror Land to the Tourist Paradise (Erich Follath)

Many backpackers now travel to beautiful Cambodia. Some of the most popular attractions, such as Killing Fields or Tuol Sleng Prison, date back to the terrible reign of the Khmer Rouge. If you are interested in background information and well-founded analyzes, then this book is exactly the right address. [ View book ]

Survival in the Killing Fields (Haing Ngor)

By accident, I stumbled upon the biography of Haing Ngor in a bookstore in Chiang Mai 6 years ago. As I was on my way to Cambodia, I immediately struck. Haing Ngor is a survivor of the Khmer Rouge reign of terror, a survivor of the Killing Fields. He was forced to work in the fields, tortured, starved, escaped and kept his life. The way there was agonizing and terrible. A very moving story, which is also told in the movie "The Killing Fields" . If you are interested in the history of Cambodia or the Pol Pot regime, this book is highly recommended, as a biography of course written very subjective. [ View book ]

First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers (Loung Ung)

Another biography of a survivor of the Cambodian war. The small lounge Ung was five years old when the Khmer Rouge came to power in Cambodia in 1975. During their four-year reign of terror almost two million Cambodians fell victim to the atrocities. After Lou's family was expelled from her childhood home in Phnom Penh, the girl is separated from her relatives and trained as a child soldier at an orphanage camp while her six siblings are interned in a labor camp. Loung Ung survived and published her moving biography entitled "First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers." As you read, you're stunned when you read what people are capable of doing. Incidentally, the book will soon be filmed. [ View book ]

Cambodia. A political reading book

Cambodia is a country with an impressive history and culture. The former Khmer kingdoms face the economic, political and social problems of modern times. Colonial occupation, the Indochina war and not least the civil war and the tyranny of the Khmer Rouge under Pol Pot are still a dark shadow over the land.

"Cambodia. A Political Reader "looks behind the scenes of the war-stricken people, who want nothing more than to live in peace. Bretthauer, Lenz and Werdes shed light on the present and recent history of the country without forgetting the past. And their traces, which, however, are not exclusively negative. They also talk about the French colonial rule in Indo-China and what has come about through the growing together of two cultures.

Cambodia is on the rise. Therefore, the economy, the environment and socio-political developments find their place in this work as well as reflections on tourism and the arts. If you are looking for something other than a classic travel guide, you should definitely pick this book up. Here you get well-founded background information, which may explain one or the other - for you surprising - behavior and make you sit up and take notice. An exciting read! [ View book ]

Indonesia - A Country Portrait (Christina Schott)

Indonesia is a land of countless facets, with around 300 different peoples scattered across more than 17,500 islands. Christina Schott gives an exciting insight into the worlds of life in Indonesia, both fascinating and worrying. In addition to the historical and political facts she makes above all the social and cultural sensitivities understandable, which play an important role in the everyday life of the Indonesians. [ View book ]

Indonesia 1965 ff. The presence of a mass murder.

Indonesia is more than Bali, Borobodur and the Gilis. The land of a thousand islands has a dark past next to its beautiful beauty. In the mid-1960s, approximately 500,000 people became victims of one of the biggest mass murders in history. However, it is estimated that many more people were killed and countless numbers were detained in internment camps for decades.

What happened? The then President Suharto and his military ruthlessly hunted for communists and leftists in the country. But why does not anyone know about this dark period in Indonesian history? What role did the resource wealth of the country play and what influence did Western companies have in this cruel war?

Anett Keller brings some light into the darkness and lets contemporary witnesses and local authors have their say. These are the events of yesteryear from their point of view. Keller writes about monstrous crimes and international arrogance, eurocentrism and media instrumentalization in the Cold War. This book takes you on a journey into the past of Indonesia and offers a view of the country away from the temples, mountains and dream beaches. [ View book ]

Vietnam - A Country Portrait (Heike Baldauf)

Heike Baldauf takes you into the everyday life of the Vietnamese. She talks about the youth hungry for education, about environmental problems and corruption. She travels through the big cities and over agricultural villages. This creates an impressive portrait of this coastal state in Southeast Asia. The Country Portrait series is characterized by a thorough historical research, wealth of information and a critical political consciousness. [ View book ]

When Heaven and Earth Changed Places: A Vietnamese Woman's Journey from War to Peace (Le Ly Hayslip)

Le Ly Hayslip tells her version of the Vietnam War. When she was 12 years old, US helicopters landed in her small home village in central Vietnam for the first time. The fighters of the Vietcong and the Vietnamese military fought countless battles for the small village. In the course of this, the native children were used by both sides as saboteurs and spies. So also Le Ly. Before she was 16, she had to deal with hunger, torture, rape, arrest, and the deaths of countless friends and family. In the book "When heaven and earth changed places: A Vietnamese woman's journey from war to peace" she tells her incredible story. [ View book ]

Traveling with child

Four around the world (Alexandra Frank)

Packing the backpack and off to the world - that is no longer as exotic as it used to be. But is that also possible with baby and toddler? The journalist Alexandra Frank did just that and wrote down her experiences. The result is a book that arouses travel fever and fears. [ Read book / read review ]

Other recommended books:


You need a good cookbook to cook the great dishes that you have come to know at home. Gradually I introduce some here.

Asia Street Food (Stefan Heike Leistner)

The Asian cuisine lives from their street kitchens. Exotic fruits make you curious, in the wok it hisses seductively and the aromas of roasted spices rise in the nose. Stalls lure you to try on every corner. The award-winning Asia cookbook has been inspired by the authentic dishes of street kitchens. Do you love the Thai cuisine, the freshly prepared dishes at the food stalls of Vietnam as well as the delicious food in Laos? Then you're in the right place with »asia street food«. There you will find more than 70 authentic recipes and lots of tips. [See book on / read review / free shipping in the Fascination Southeast Asia Shop ]

Asia Street Bowls (Stefan Heike Leistner)

Southeast Asia = street food = cookshops = soups. Heike and Stefan Leistner have gone in search of clues and brought with them from their travels 60 soup recipes from the cities of Thailand, Vietnam, Korea, Taiwan and Myanmar: authentic and authentic recipes from Asia's trendy street food scene for the real taste of the Far East. In addition, there are basic recipes for chicken, beef, pork, fish and vegetables, step-by-step instructions for Kimchi and Wonton and exciting current reports from Bangkok, Hanoi, Seoul, Taipei and Yangon. Before reading, afterwards for cooking! [ Book on / Free Shipping in the Fascination Southeast Asia Shop ]

Thai Street Food (David Thompson)

Granted, that's a decent tome. But more Thai street food is hardly possible. Have already cooked countless dishes and I am thrilled! Nice with many pictures and vividly described recipes. [ View book ]

Indian vegetarian (Sushila Issar, Mrinal Kopecky)

A really great recipe book for Indian cuisine. Especially because the dishes are seasoned very well. I have already given Indian vegetarian twice to friends. For me, one of the best cookbooks ever. My favorite dishes in the book: Palak Paneer (with homemade cheese), Moong Ki Dal, Aloo Masala and the tomato-peanut salad. [ View book ]

Travel books in general

No Worries: Backpacking for Beginners (Patrick Hundt)

The book will answer almost all the questions that you face before your first backpacking trip. This includes topics such as accommodations, finances, safety, health and equipment.
A really recommendable book that will take you to worries before your first backpacking trip. [ Read book / read review ]

Weltenbummeln - vagabonding. The Ultimate Guide to Long-Distance Travel Throughout the World (Rolf Potts)

Who does not dream of dropping everything and taking a break from daily routine? Rolf Potts fulfills this dream for years and travels the world. On his forays, he explores other cultures and countries to broaden his horizons. In the book Vagabonding he gives tips on how to fulfill the dream of long-term travel with little money. You get loads of travel inspiration and may get scared of one or the other that keeps you from going out for a change. But also for the coming back and getting back into everyday life, Potts offers many useful tips and advice. [ View book ]

The Travel Episodes (Johannes Klaus)

Hitchhiking through Pakistan or naked in the Moroccan hammam, for two in a truck through Asia or freshly separated on an odyssey in the Philippine archipelago, sailing across the Atlantic in a nutshell or looking for happiness on an expedition to the Antarctic: The authors of The Travel Episodes are traveling there, where for others the journey is often already over. They tell of their adventures and fears, of love and one or the other wondrous knowledge. Great reports for all those who have to quench their wanderlust, for whom travel and life are one. [ View book ]

Journeyman (Fabian Sixtus Körner)

How do you get around the world with only 255 euros in the account? Fabian Sixtus Körner grabs his backpack and sets off on the unknown. His plan: to travel all the continents of the world - and to work everywhere for food and lodging. Without itinerary and solid jobs, only with the urge for freedom and boundless optimism in the luggage. In his rousing travelogue, Körner talks about cock fights in Santo Domingo, permanent parting, modeling competitions in Malaysia, culture shocks and hospitality. He spends thousands of kilometers in planes, trains, buses, holey boats and rikshas, ​​working as a graphic designer, architect or photographer. Two years and two months, over 60 places, across the world. Pure travel inspiration! [ View book ]

Making Moves: Unusual Types From A to B (Marco Buch)

»Making Moves« is a book that increases your travel fever with immediate effect. It is not about special travel destinations, but rather about unusual means of transportation. Anyone who has been to Southeast Asia knows there are some. Marco Buch deals with the places that are inevitably between two goals. Very funny and a little taste, what can you expect on the upcoming trips through countries like Thailand, Myanmar or Vietnam. [ View book ]

Slow Travel: The Art of Traveling (Dan Kieran)

The book is a tribute to slow travel. It is a crusade against the speed of today's tourist crowds. Dan Kieran has developed his own philosophy. He does not want to travel thousands of miles to dock with thousands of other tourists and pick one landmark at a time. He has tested a wide variety of methods of movement: walking, driving on tourist trains, floating on a raft. He has abandoned himself to chance, the chaos of nature, gaining the insight that the slow way of traveling changes the whole view of the world. Above all, it's about the inner attitude. The Slow Traveler obeys the maxims: Do not take pictures, do not buy a guide, leave out all sights, avoid good hotels, welcome hot disasters. The adventure will come by itself. An enlightening book that everyone should read before booking the next trip. Maybe you will recognize yourself in some aspects. [ View book ]

An island just for us (Nina Adrian Hoffmann)

The classic: Caught in the hamster wheel of work, Nina and Adrian feel suddenly unhappy and want to break out of the daily routine. They are looking for the perfect place to experience adventure and originality. They find their share of happiness on a small South Sea island. The jobs are terminated and faster than expected, the two are in the hammock and eat exotic fruits. Soon, however, the reality breaks down and first doubts arise ... [ View Book ]

Instead of over it (Peer Bergholter Jochen Müller)

Peer and Jochen are in their thirties when they decide to break out of everyday life. They quit their jobs and embark on a journey that will change their lives forever. Airplanes are taboo, instead it goes with buses, trains and container ships across the planet. In 15 months of adventure, conflict and bizarre encounters, they become true travelers. [ View book ]

Homemade Roulette: Through 160 Countries to Me (Sarah Fischer)

As a baby, Sarah is adopted by German parents. For them suddenly the question arises, where are my roots? She decides to travel the world and get to the bottom of the question. From Alaska to Tibet, she travels 160 countries until she finally finds it. [ View book ]


Many have fulfilled their dream in Southeast Asia and turned their passion into a profession. Here are some readable biographies in which people tell their stories:

Backpackers Business (Nikki Scott)

One of my personal favorite books is the biography of Nikki Scott. Nikki is the founder of the magazine Southeastasia Backpackers, which Asia travelers find in various hostels or guesthouses. In the book Backpacker Business, the author tells how she moved out to travel and never came back. From the backpacker to the young entrepreneur. With much dedication and courage, she managed to build a network in Southeast Asia until she finally published the first edition of the backpacker magazine Southeastasia Backpacker. Meanwhile, it has become almost 40 issues. A great story and very inspiring. Absolutely worth reading. [ View book ]

Unlikely Destinations: The Lonely Planet Story (Tony Maureen Wheeler)

This is about the story of how Tony and Maureen took off as backpackers to reach Australia by land via Asia and ultimately revolutionized the art of travel. They describe very vividly their journey and the background of how the idea rose in you to design a travel guide for backpackers and individual travelers. In a mixture of autobiography, business history and travel guides you can accompany the two founders of today's backpacker Bible Lonely Planet on their way. An inspiring life story! [ View book ]

Wherever you go - the story of an almost impossible love (Benjamin Prüfer)

When Benjamin travels with his backpack through Cambodia in 2003, he meets the prostitute Sreykeo in a disco. They fall in love and fight for a future together. A great story that was filmed in the movie "Same Same, but different". Absolutely worth reading. Where love falls down ... [View book ]

Thailand: Mai Pen Rai, does almost nothing: How to start a business as a foreigner in Thailand? (Christine Losso)

There are many vacationers who now and then think of opening a bar, restaurant or hotel in a country like Thailand. Christine and her husband have realized this dream and have taken over a resort on the island of Koh Chang as a manager. What does the balance look like after a year? A look back at the difficult beginnings, misunderstandings and differences between Thais and Farangs as well as curiosities of everyday life. Who has similar plans should not miss this wealth of experience. [ View book ]

So, now you are asked! Which books are still on the list? I look forward to your tips and recommendations.

Better informed, experience more!

Whether classic or insider tip: find the most beautiful destinations and routes .
Keep up to date on how you can save money on the go and get useful tips and information for your trip .
Be inspired and collect new ideas . Get now with one click the best Southeast Asia news regularly in your mailbox!

Here you will find information on data protection, analysis, revocation.

Better informed, experience more!

Whether classic or insider tip: find the most beautiful destinations and routes .
Keep up to date on how you can save money on the go and get useful tips and information for your trip .
Be inspired and collect new ideas . Get now with one click the best Southeast Asia news regularly in your mailbox!

Here you will find information on data protection, analysis, revocation.