The influential bestselling book. Now fully updated and expanded into a new 2nd Edition

+ 209 new photographs

+ 64 more pages

+ 4 extra chapters

+ New 5th section called ‘Thainess’

+ Bigger font

+ Updated & heavily re-written


All for the same great value price!

THB 995/US $30/£20

This pioneering insight into Thai pop and streetlife has been totally revised to reflect the dramatic changes in Thailand. With this fresh perspective, the author delves beyond the traditional Thai icons to reveal the casual, everyday expressions of Thainess that so delight and puzzle, from floral truck bolts and taxi altars to buffalo cart furniture and drinks in a bags. New coverage includes Vernacular Design, contemporary Thainess, and the rise of 'Thai Thai' retro culture.

‘A thrilling, trail-blazing book that will help you see and understand Thailand afresh… A work of astounding breadth and erudition... Has few, if any, English-language equals.’


— Bangkok Post

‘Encyclopedic in scope, Very Thai is an unapologetic celebration of both the exotic and the everyday.’


— Andrew Marshall, Time Magazine

‘Equally fun and authoritative on subjects as diverse as bulletproof tattoos, hi-so hairdos, folk music and soap operas.’


— The Australian

‘With a wit that suits the Thai spirit, it explains with delicateness things that Thais regard as indelicate. An important source that reflects modern Thai consciousness.’


— Pracha Suveeranont, Matichon Weekly

‘It is truly so much better than any other guide.’


— Asian Wall Street Journal

‘Required reading for visitors, residents and anyone anywhere interested in what makes Thailand tick.’


— Pracha Suveeranont, Matichon Weekly

65 Chapters on quirky topics
Philip scoured each region to show how indigenous wisdom both adapts to the present and customises imports, applying Roman architecture to shophouses, morphing rock into festive farm music, turning the Japanese motor-rickshaw into the tuk-tuk.

Thai culture wasn't colonised, and the most mundane retain nuanced ancient meaning that can confound the outsider. The days are colour coded, lucky numbers dictate prices, window grilles become guardian angels, tattoos entrance the wearer. The author's insights help the reader navigate various social traits, whether white-faced hi-so matrons or Red Bull-swilling workers wearing coins in their ear.
New Coverage
Four extra chapters cover the huge shifts in Thailand since the launch of the 1st edition in 2004.
  • The impacts on Thai pop from the Internet, political upheavals and the rise of Asian soft power.
  • The new genre of 'Vernacular Thai Design'.
  • Changes in contemporary Thainess from the rise of 'Thai Thai' retro culture.
  • Afterword by Pracha Suveeranont, a Thai expert in visual culture, about the role of 'Very Thai' within Thailand.
591 Colour Photographs
The vivid photographs by Philip Cornwel-Smith and John Goss reflect the scenes as found, with no staging, so the reader feels a realistic connection from their own encounters. It's a photo album of the things that people here commonly overlook, yet which relate to their daily lives.
An Iconic Book
This trailblazing guide to Thai culture has become an influential style bible, research text, and reference for creatives, especially in advertising, design and visual arts. The book has even been curated as an exhibit in several exhibitions. Very Thai is more than a book about Thai icons; it has become a cult object itself.

Text & Photographs Philip Cornwel-Smith

A British writer and photographer, focuses on culture in Southeast Asia. Born in England, he has lived in Bangkok since 1994, and was founding editor of its first listings magazine, 'Metro'. He is author/editor of 'Time Out Bangkok', and has also written for 'Thailand: A Traveller's Companion', 'Eyewitness Thailand' and various international media. Philip is a frequent interviewee on TV and his photography has been on large-scale exhibition.

Photographs John C Goss

John C Goss, a US artist and photographer, travels between Asia and Palm Springs. His works have been exhibited worldwide, including at the Whitney Museum, Hirschorn Museum, Walker Arts Center, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Hong Kong Arts Centre, and the National Gallery of Canada. John has designed effects for Disney theme parks, Expo pavilions and shows by Neil Diamond and George Michael.

Published by riverbooksbk.com