Having been scuba diving in various countries around Asia, I am often asked where is the best place to scuba dive in South East Asia. Taking into account countries like Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines, here are my top scuba dive sites and the marine life you can spot during the dives such as sharks, manta rays, whale sharks and turtles. The following places are the best dive sites in my personal experience and I can’t wait to add more to the list. Consider these top diving destinations when booking your next scuba diving trip for some impressive underwater adventures.
Best Diving in South East Asia: Indonesia – Scuba Diving in Komodo National Park
To this date, Komodo remains the most exciting and awesome place to scuba dive that I have been so far. Healthy, brightly coloured corals and a whole range of marine life from manta rays, to sharks to turtles and macro life, Komodo has such an incredible underwater world. After a holiday trip here, I decided to do my divemaster course here and enjoyed every dive. There are strong currents so it’s a great place to improve your skills. You will be expected to pay extra national park fees whenever you enter Komodo National Park whether it’s for scuba diving or snorkelling trips. The most impressive dive sites are probably Batu Balong which is always a clear favourite, and you will see why once you jump in the water, but also the North of Komodo for crazy currents and lots of sharks.
Best Diving in South East Asia – Best place to dive with Manta Rays in Nusa Lembongan
Indonesia is one of the best countries to scuba dive in, both for learning to dive, like doing the Open Water course and also for the diversity of marine life you can see there. Nusa Lembongan boasts manta rays all year round and you would be extremely unlucky not to experience a dive or even a snorkel with a manta ray there. It also has some enjoyable drift dives and some dive sites with fairly healthy coral and a lot of frogfish!
Best diving in the Philippines – Thresher Sharks in Malapascua, Cebu
If, like me, you are a shark addict then definitely head to Malapascua, Cebu in the Philippines to dive with the thresher sharks. There’s an extremely high chance of seeing these 3 metre long sharks at around 25 metres so this is aimed for Advanced divers or those who have completed a deep dive speciality. The tails are so impressive and I’ll never forget the early morning experience of kneeling in the sand at the bottom of the sea being circled by these amazing thresher sharks.
Best place to see whale sharks in Thailand – Richelieu Rock and Koh Bon, Thailand
Scuba diving Richelieu Rock is arguably one of the best places to dive in Thailand. Not far from the Similan Islands or Koh Similan off the west coast of Thailand, it has lovely purple corals and a fairly good chance of whale sharks when in season. You can only visit during dry season, approximately October to May as this area and the Similan Islands are closed over the monsoon period.
Best diving in the Gili Islands, Indonesia – “Turtle city”
For those seeking turtles, head to the Gili islands off of Bali and the dive site they nickname ‘turtle city’. I was told by my dive instructor that if I only saw 10 that was considered unlucky!
Scuba diving in Tulamben, Bali – World War 2 Wreck Dive – The Liberty Bell
One of the best wreck dives that I did in Bali is the Liberty Bell in Tulumben, close to Amed and the jumping off point to the Gili Islands. The wreck is a shore dive so I strongly recommend diving at sunrise as there were no other divers around when I did and these huge bumphead/humphead parrotfish circle around the wreck in a school.
Next up, I’m exploring the Maldives so read more here about the best diving in the Maldives/EVER!
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I became obsessed with scuba diving when I completed my Open Water course in Koh Tao in Thailand. Having spent the last 5 years living and working in Asia I have now scuba dived all over Thailand, in Indonesia including Bali and Komodo National Park, across the Maldives and also in Taiwan, Malaysia and the Philippines. The following scuba diving packing list is a guide for useful items to take on a dive boat in tropical waters. This includes what to pack for diving liveaboard trips and scuba diving day trips.
Scuba Diving Packing List: GoPro
There are many other similar video cameras for diving but the Gopro is still a popular, small and useful item for diving. It took me too long to get mine and I missed out on some great footage of diving with turtles in the Gili islands in Indonesia. Scuba Diving Tip: When learning to do your Open Water or Advanced qualification and doing other dive courses you are, generally speaking, not permitted to use cameras. Compare prices for GoPros on Amazon here. I recommend one with a screen so you can see what you are videoing or taking photos of underwater. Make sure you have a housing for newer Gopros like the GoPro 7 as they are only waterproof down to 10 metres.
Scuba Diving Packing Guide : GoPro Accessories for diving: A red filter
A red filter for the GoPro is an absolute must for my diving holiday packing list. In different waters, the sea is different colours but a red filter will suit most tropical diving. See the below underwater photo with no red filter! They are all blue or green and you lose the colour the deeper you dive. See which red filter fits your underwater camera here.
Packing for Diving Holiday: GoPro essentials for diving – floating stick
I have been on so many dive boats where divers have dropped their gopros over the side of the boat and without a floating device they sink. A floating stick or handle is ideal and I never go on a boat without this floating device. You can also use orange floating devices to stick onto the back of your Gopro but these will cover the screen portion of the GoPro. Compare different floating sticks on Amazon here. Be aware that the floating selfie sticks that extend often have air in the middle so will not be suitable for scuba diving.
Dive Packing List: Best swimwear for diving trip
I have tried diving with a variety of different swimwear and I also wear a wetsuit because I get cold even in 29C water. I always choose a bikini because it is easier to wear under a wetsuit for going to the toilet on the boat. I also make sure I don’t have any ties on the bikini bottoms or a halterneck tie on the bikini top so that it doesn’t irritate me when my wetsuit is zipped up. A bikini like the one I am wearing below is best for under a wetsuit.
Diving Wetsuits: Best women’s wetsuit on a budget for warm waters
This is my exact wetsuit below on Amazon which I actually ordered from www.lazada.com (the Asian Amazon) as I was living in Thailand at the time. I’m a UK size 8 and it fits like a glove. It’s 5mm which keeps me warm as I am a wimp and get cold easily! If I get cold underwater I shiver a lot and I go through my air so much quicker so I definitely recommend keeping warm.
Diving Holiday Packing List: Rash Vest and Leggings
If you feel a wetsuit is a bit extreme for warm water diving then I definitely recommend taking a rash vest instead. It’s a very useful item that I always take on diving or snorkelling trips. I recommend rash vests with a zip up the middle to make it easier to get on and off. Browse brand name rash vests here.
For leggings for diving or snorkelling, I am obsessed with Waterlust leggings, all made from recycled plastic packaging.
Diving Packing Essentials: Decongestant to help equalise ears
Tiger balm is a useful item to pack for a dive boat. You cannot equalise with a cold or blocked nose so these are useful for keeping your sinuses open, especially if you are on a liveaboard dive boat or are doing multiple dives in one day. Buy from Amazon here or if you are diving in Asia wait until you are there to get it much cheaper.
I have previously used Actifed as a very strong decongestant which always helps me equalise my ears but you shouldn’t use it for diving consecutive days. There is also a risk of reverse block so after consulting with an ENT specialist I was recommend this nose spray which I use every day for the week leading up to diving and it really helps with ear equalisation problems of which I used to have many!
Dive Boat Essential Items – Socks
You might not look like the coolest diver out there but if you’re wearing fins without booties for days on end then socks will stop them from rubbing (and protect my nail varnish!) Also very useful for liveaboard diving packing lists because of diving multiple dives a day.
Best item to take on a dive boat: Dry Bag
I am forever a fan of these dry bags for keeping everything safe from waves, water and rain. I love the 5l bags. Buy yours here for a reasonable price.
Best items for dive boats: Daily contact lenses
Spare contact lenses – if like me you need to wear contacts to actually see the fish or sharks or mantas then make sure you take a spare pair with you. I find that clearing your mask underwater particularly stings when wearing contacts and changing them between two dives can help. I use daily contacts for diving but monthlies normally. I prefer to use daily contact lenses when diving. Please note, according to my optician, only soft contact lens can be used for scuba diving.
What to take on a liveaboard boat: Some warm clothes
A hoody or a jumper – maybe just for people who feel the cold but multiple dives lowers your body temperature so at the end of the diving day I’m often feeling the cold.
Diving Essentials: Reef friendly suncream
I am still always looking out for reef friendly suncream with a high SPF and so far I can recommend Sunbum brands and the Cerave suncream.
Dive Boat Packing: Log Book
Make sure to take your log book to log all your fun dives as well as dive courses. Recently I’ve made sure I write in my log book in between dives – especially when doing three dives a day, to help me remember and write about the moment.
Packing for a dive trip: A sarong
A sarong – I never bother with heavy beach towels nowadays and I prefer to travel with lightweight, quick drying sarongs instead. I might not always head straight home after a dive and I don’t want to be carrying around a wet, heavy towel to the bar for post diving beers. I love a turtle themed one like this one
The best dive equipment for a low budget
I use this budget dive computer, brand Cressi Leonardo because I thought it was a great value dive computer. I bought it from Amazon after a recommendation from a friend. It is very basic and doesn’t have a free diving mode which I now find frustrating but it suits scuba diving very well. I know instructors who use it and it has a long battery life. I haven’t had to replace mine in 2 years of fairly regular diving trips. One thing to note is that this cheap dive computer is very conservative in that it will flash “no fly” for 24 hours after only one dive. It comes in a range of colours with slightly different price tags. I have the white one.
The best mask for a small face
I bought my Oceanic Ice Mini last year and I absolutely love it. It has a wide range of vision and I love that the mask is all one piece of glass rather than divided into two. I would definitely buy this again and I am very happy. I put toothpaste overnight a couple of times at the beginning to make sure it doesn’t fog and now I have no problems with it. I also love mask strap at the back as my hair never gets stuck in it. I bought my clear one from Simply Scuba in the UK but there is an Amazon version only in black.
For more about diving in Asia, read more of my blog posts:
Click here to find out more about the best dive sites in Thailand.
For diving in the Maldives, (and the best diving in the world in my opinion!) check out the little known island of Fuvahmulah
And if you are obsessed with manta rays consider a holiday to Baa Atoll for the best manta ray experience in the world.
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So how many islands does Thailand have? Nobody seems to know for sure but it’s safe to say that Thailand has hundreds of islands you can stay on and/or visit and it is my intention to visit them all! With so many island destinations, it can be difficult to choose which island to visit in Thailand. I often get asked many of the following questions by backpackers and tourists who are looking for Thailand’s best islands and beaches:
Which are the best party islands in Thailand? Where are quiet Thailand beaches? Where is the best place for Thailand island hopping? Which island to choose? Which islands have airports? Where is the best snorkeling in Thailand? The island for the best diving – I have a whole post dedicated to the best dive sites in Thailand here.
Hopefully this post will help you make the best decision about which islands to stay on. Even better, you can visit a few of the Thai islands on the same trip as they often have good transport links between them to make island hopping around Thailand accessible.
Here is a summary of all the ones I’ve been to so far and some brief information to help you decide on which paradise island to check out first including must-do activities and how to get to each Thai island. Read more about how to travel around Thailand on this post.
Thailand Island Hopping
I’ve grouped the islands as to where they are in Thailand which should give you and idea for the best island hopping routes around. The Gulf of Thailand refers to the islands South of Bangkok on the East of the mainland – mainly Koh Tao, Koh Phangan and Koh Samui. Then we have the Andaman islands on the West with connecting airports such as Krabi and Phuket. Then Southern islands like Koh Lipe and Koh Tarutao and Eastern islands towards the Cambodian border.
Best Islands in The Gulf of Thailand
A backpacker island in the Gulf of Thailand. It has beautiful beaches and an obvious party scene but mostly it is known for cheap diving courses, and is often advertised as one of the cheapest places in the world to learn to scuba dive. I took my PADI Open Water Qualification here 4 years ago and the prices are still the same. Your Open Water diving certificate can start from around 9000 baht…try and get your accommodation thrown in too. If you turn up at the pier, you can often negotiate prices with the dive shops. Unfortunately Koh Tao is not without its problems and I suggest being careful here, not to get too drunk and never to cause problems with locals, such as getting into fights etc.
Best Thailand island for: learning to dive. Once you learn to dive, head to some of these places for the best dive sites in Thailand
Things to do on Koh Tao: get PADI certified for your Open Water dive course or advanced. Check out beautiful viewpoints and quiet beaches.
Cheapest way to get to Koh Tao: Sleeper train/night bus to Chumpon and then ferry. You can book tickets here
Fastest way to get to Koh Tao: Fly to Chumpon/Surat thani, bus to pier and take the ferry. Lomprayah have the fastest service. Alternative is to fly to Koh Samui and take a ferry from there.
Home to the infamous Full Moon Party, this party island in Thailand remains one of my favourites. It’s party in the South and tranquil, quiet beaches in the North of Koh Phangan. It is also one of the best islands for backpackers because it is both party and calm and you can find very cheap accommodation, particularly in the north. For the most beautiful beach in the Gulf of Thailand, visit Bottle Beach – a stunning Northern beach only accessible by boat so it’s very quiet. Diving in Koh Phangan here can be great although visibility is unpredictable. Sail Rock is one of Koh Phangan’s famous dive sites and whale sharks can be spotted here (just not by me…yet!). I love staying in the North and I discovered these cute bungalows last time, right on a lovely stretch of beach. Check out Seaboard Bungalow’s reasonable rates here. The restaurant here did great food and there were more food options further down the beach too. An even cheaper option with basic bungalows that also had a pool but not as a nice a beach was Lucky Resort. Compare their room rates here. The restaurant had great views of the ocean for sunsets too. Read here for Full Moon Party Tips..
Best Thailand island for: Dancing until sunrise. Even if you miss Full Moon there are Half Moon Parties, Jungle Parties, Waterfall parties…Read my post here for more Full Moon Party advice
Things to do on Koh Phangan: Party and the chill out on Bottle Beach (one of my favourites). Read more about Thailand’s quiet beaches here
Fastest way to get to Koh Phangan: Fly to Chumpon /Surat thani/Koh Samui and take the ferry. Lomprayah have the fastest service.
Thailand Islands to Visit: Koh Samui
Boasting one of coolest airports I’ve ever been to, Samui caters to holiday makers on a large scale. It is the only island in the Gulf of Thailand to have an airport
In all honesty, Koh Samui is probably my least favourite island as a result of this, it can get very crowded over peak season (December – when I went!) and I don’t think it is as idyllic looking as it’s Gulf counterparts. That said, if you are on limited time it is one of only two island that you can fly direct to (the other being Phuket). I stayed in upmarket accommodation at Lamai Wanta Beach Resort (courtesy of my generous aunt!) but a friend recently stayed at budget friendly New Hut Bungalows and recommended them to me. They look like a great photo opportunity too!
One thing to be aware of in Koh Samui is that flights are generally expensive because the budget airlines cannot fly to Samui as it is owned by Bangkok Airways. However, the airport looks like the garden of a 5 star hotel and is worth seeing. Occasionally cheap flights with Thai Smile can be found.
Best Thailand Island for: resorts, families and couples
Things to do on Koh Samui: an all round island tour including temples and waterfall visits
Cheapest way to get to Koh Samui: Sleeper train/night bus to Surat thani, bus to pier and then ferry. You can buy all inclusive tickets from this website
Fastest way to get to Koh Samui: Fly direct from Bangkok
Best Thailand Islands: The Andaman
Phuket is one of Thailand’s largest islands and is attached to the mainland by bridge. It has an international airport which can lead to extremely busy beaches and very high prices for taxis, which is why it has a bit of a bad reputation among those of us who live in Thailand. However, I don’t feel this is totally deserved and as it is such a huge island there are many less popular places to explore. The busiest area seems to be Patong beach which I have always been urged to avoid, mainly because of its multitude of gogo bars. I’ve mainly spent time in the South at Kata and Karon beaches for surfing during rainy season (June-October). I loved staying at this hostel, it was about 4 minute walk to the surfing beach, was good value and they had really nice facilities.
Things to do in Phuket: learning to surf, you can hire an instructor and then you get the board for the rest of the day (rainy season only when the waves are bigger, July-October approx)
Cheapest way to get to Phuket: Take a night bus to Phuket Town, then songtaew (local trucks) to the beach of your choice. You may need to take two, one from the bus station and then another from Phuket town to the beach. Approx 20 baht.
Fastest way to get to Phuket: Fly to Phuket from Bangkok or international airports and take the local bus further south.
Koh Yao Noi
This island has really chilled out vibes and zero party scene. It felt a little off the beaten track but still has hotels and restaurants around. The beaches are fairly thin strips of sand so there’s not all that much room for sunbathing. Swimming with the backdrop of Phangna Bay behind you felt pretty awesome though. I rented bicycles and cycled around the island – which has a couple of hills so be prepared! (or get off and walk like someone may have done…). This is a great place to rent kayaks from as well and I discovered the small empty island of Koh Nok which this amazing viewpoint. I loved the place I stayed at, Sabai Corner Bungalows, it had tall wooden bungalows set back into the mountain with great views of the bay. It was also very affordable and the owners were helpful with renting kayaks and bicycles.
Best Thailand Island for: non-touristy places in Thailand
Things to do in Koh Yao Noi: If you can’t afford to stay somewhere like the Six Senses Hotel (and I can’t!) then head there for a cocktail to enjoy sunset and the views at this exotic looking hotel.
Cheapest way to get to Koh Yao Noi: Night bus to Krabi, bus from bus station to pier and then long tail boat. Book tickets on this useful website…
Fastest way to get to Koh Yao Noi: Fly to Krabi, bus from airport to pier, speedboat to island.
Koh Phi Phi
Koh Phi Phi is the type of island that the first time I went there, I hated it. Lots of young backpackers falling drunk out of bars and overpacked long tail boats pouring into Maya Bay to see the beach from Dicaprio’s ‘The Beach’ movie. Now I’ve returned there a 2nd, 3rd and 4th time, I have to admit that Phi Phi is growing on me. I’ve accepted it for what it is : a party island and a great place to meet backpackers. Try taking a snorkelling trip to a few of the less crowded islands and definitely watch some of the fireshows. I personally feel they are the best in Thailand and even after watching a few I still think they are very impressive.
The diving around the marine park is generally of a very good standard for Thailand. I was lucky enough to see a turtle, black tip reef shark and a leopard shark all in one day. I also love that you can walk everywhere and there are no cars on the whole island, definitely a bonus if you’re living in Bangkok and sick of traffic jams.
Best Thailand island for: parties and beautiful beaches combined.
Things to do in Koh Phi Phi: An island hopping trip to nearby islands
Cheapest way to get to Koh Phi Phi: Night bus to Krabi, bus from bus station to pier and then ferry. Book all your tickets together here
Fastest way to get to Koh Phi Phi: Fly to Krabi, bus from airport to pier, ferry to island
Serene and stunning, this is a quieter island for a relaxing time. Kantiang beach in the South is huge, wide and empty when I was there in April. There isn’t much of a party scene and not so many backpackers here. The snorkelling and island hopping trip was definitely a highlight for me as it took you to Koh Kradan, a stunning white beach uninhabited island. I went with my parents and we stayed at Alama Sea Village Resort which was incredible. It has a great view (so a short walk uphill), an infinity pool and monkeys who come and visit your balcony.
Best Thailand island for: relaxing, couples, families
Things to do in Koh Lanta: The 4 Island Hopping Trip
Cheapest way to get to Koh Lanta: Night bus to Krabi, bus from bus station to pier and then ferry. Tickets can be booked via this website, including ferries
Fastest way to get to Koh Lanta: Fly to Krabi, bus from airport to pier, ferry to island
This paradise island is home to white sand beaches, crystal clear waters, beautiful coral reefs and less tourists than many others! The main beach is kept extremely clean but unfortunately a lot of litter gets washed up around this island’s shores despite local efforts to consistently clear the trash. When I was there, the people were working every day but unfortunately they are fighting a losing battle with the currents. It also had some of the best sunsets I’ve seen in Thailand and the coral reefs were extremely colourful for snorkelling. (I’ve yet to dive here!) It’s close to Malaysia so can fill up if there are Thai and Malaysian coinciding holidays. I suggest you book in advance if this could be the case. I stayed at Gypsy Bungalows and loved these basic but cute bungalows with a garden walk to the beach.
Best Thailand Island for: white sand beaches
Things to do on Koh Lipe: Walk around the corner from the main beach to Sunset beach for some of the most impressive sunsets in Thailand
Cheapest way to get to Koh Lipe: Night bus to Hat Yai, minivan to pier, 2 hour speedboat
Fastest way to get to Koh Lipe: Fly to Hat Yai, minivan to pier, 2 hour speedboat
This island can take a long time to get to. I think it’s definitely worth it but don’t try if you’re on limited time.
A lesser known island to both tourists and Thais, this is a rocky, wild island which still feels fairly untouched. However, this is not always a good thing as it was extremely expensive to get to from Koh Phi Phi and once on the island it was difficult to get around. My sister and I stayed at the gorgeous Onlee bungalows – pricier than normal but amazing food as the couple who run it are Thai-French. The stargazing was also incredible and so clear as there is not much light pollution nearby. I recommend settling into a resort as there are limited ways to visit other restaurants and if you want to hire a ‘taxi’ it won’t be at a cheap price.
Best Thailand Island: that people have never heard of
Things to do on Koh Jum: Star gazing
Cheapest way to get to Koh Jum: Night bus to Krabi, bus from bus station to pier and then ferry
Fastest way to get to Koh Jum: Fly to Krabi, bus from airport to pier, ferry to island
I’m including Railay in this island section as it is only accessible by boat. (And until very recently I thought it was an island!). Lots of snorkelling day trips stop off here so it can get crowded during peak season (Nov-Dec) but you can jump on boats from Krabi to get here at any point during the day. Limited options at night where the boats can charge a much higher price. Watch dusky langur monkeys climb in nearby trees, hike to the top for a sweaty but great view and visit the Buddhist shrine to the penis. This is one of the best islands in Thailand for outdoor adventures like rock-climbing and hikes to viewpoints.
Things to do on Railay: slip and slide your way up the viewpoint for a pretty view of both beaches
Island Hopping Tip: Many boats arrive on the not so nice beach area so walk through the jungle pathway to reach the prettier beach
Cheapest way to get to Railay: Night bus to Krabi, bus from bus station to Ao Nang and then longtail boat. Book your bus tickets here now.
Fastest way to get to Railay: Fly to Krabi, bus from airport to Ao Nang ferry to island
This is also not an island but as one of the easiest beach destinations to get to from Krabi I thought it was worth a mention. Ao Nang has two long, wide stretches of yellow sand beaches where a lot of long tail boats depart from, making for some pretty photos. It has a lot of choices of accommodation and restaurants and is a good jump off point to go island hopping to the nearby beach of Railay, and National Park island hopping to nearby uninhabited islands like Koh Poda, Koh Hong and many more.
Best Beach Destination for: breaking up the journey to nearby islands
Things to do in Ao Nang: sign up for some rock climbing nearby at Railay
Island Hopping Tip: Wait for the boat to fill up and take a 20 minute long tail boat to Railay when it’s quieter. At night time only private (read expensive) long tail boats will run
Cheapest way to get to Ao Nang Night bus to Krabi, local songtaew from bus station to Ao Nang Book your night bus tickets here now.
Fastest way to get to Ao Nang: Fly to Krabi, bus from airport to Ao Nang (approx 100 baht).
Best Thai Islands: The East
Koh Chang has a really chilled back vibe to it, a small party backpacker crowd and some okay diving. This is one of the first islands I travelled to alone and I immediately met backpackers as it has a more intimate feel to it than other islands like Koh Tao or Koh Phi Phi. Lonely Beach is the main backpacker area and White Sand beach is a little more upmarket. I have stayed at a few places but none to rave about. There is also one creepy bartender who has followed a few solo females home so be aware and try to always walk in groups or with someone late at night.
Best Thailand Island for: daytime chilling
Things to do on Koh Chang: enjoy the backpacking party scene
Cheapest way to get to Koh Chang: Big bus or minivan from Ekkamai, Bangkok, songtaew (truck) to the pier then ferry- often a car ferry. You can book your tickets here
Fastest way to get to Koh Chang: Fly to Trat then ferry
More islands information about Koh Similan, one of Thailand’s most beautiful islands can be found here
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So I am a MASSIVE bookworm and devour books by the day. I have compiled a list of my loved books as well as books about countries I’ve visited. Please comment and add your favourites as I’m always after new reading material
While I love reading actual books, my Kindle is much more practical for travelling and I am now a total convert to e-readers. Any old literature is also free as the copyright has run out and most online books are often cheaper than your bookshop equivalent.
While my love for a real good-smelling book will never dwindle, I definitely recommend travelling with a Kindle.
You can buy yours here on Amazon Kindle Paperwhite – I recently lost my original Kindle and got the Paperwhite one for Christmas. It’s super light and the battery lasts for such a long time.
(Updated July 2017)
The Elephant Complex – John Gimlette – A extremely readable history which explains the complexities of the Civil War so well
Mosquito – Roma Tearne – fictional book set during the civil war
When Memory Dies – Ambalavaner Sivanandan – fictional book set during the civil war
Anil’s Ghost – Michael Ondaatje- fictional book set during the civil war
Tamil Tigress – Niromi de Soyza – autobiography of a former female soldier in the Tamil Tigers
Shantaram – Gregory David Robert (first book I read and decided I needed to visit India!) – Epic adventure story that is also true!
A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth- Family orientated drama concerning arranged marriages and religion issues
A Fine Balance -Rohinton Mistry – Heartbreaking and important
The Palace of Illusions – Chitra Divakaruni – Tale of the Mahabharata, one of the oldest, most epic stories in the Hindu religion told from a female perspective
Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie – Fantasy story set during India’s independence
Holy Cow – Sarah Macdonald – Autobiographical book concerning India’s spiritual and religious elements
The Jungle Book – Rudyard Kipling – Children’s story of jungle adventures about a boy growing up with wolves
A Passage to India – E.M.Forster – short novel depicting the beginning of the end of the British Empire in India
The Far Pavilions – M.M.Kaye – Adventure, love, war, religion – one of my favourite books of all time.
Shadow of the Moon – M.M.Kaye – fictional story about the lead up to the First Afghan War
City of Djinns – William Dalrymple – extremely readable history of Delhi, this book feels like it’s a fictional story
The Beach – Alex Garland (Thailand) – backpacker tales from Thailand
Forget You Had a Daughter – Sandra Gregory – Autobiography about an English teacher who served time in Thailand’s notorious Kong Klem prison, nicknamed the ‘Bangkok Hilton’
Travel – All Countries
A Thousand Splendid Suns – Khaled Hosseini
The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
Eat Pray Love – Elizabeth Gilbert (Italy, India, Bali) – don’t watch the movie but do read this book! Touches on dealing with depression as well as travel
The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared – Jonas Jonasson (Worldwide and humorous!)
First They Killed My Father – Loung Ang (Cambodia)
The Quiet American – Graham Greene (Vietnam)
House of the Spirits – Isabel Allende (South America)
The Diary of a Young Girl – Anne Frank (WW2)
Catch 22 – Joseph Heller (USA- WW2)
Uncle Tom’s Cabin – Harriet Beecher Stowe (USA)
The Island – Victoria Hislop (Crete – Greece)
Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
The Goldfinch – Donna Tart
The Versions of Us – Laura Barnatt
Nocturnal Animals – Austin Wright
The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climber Out of the Window and Disappeared – Jonas Jonasson
The Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
Treasure Island – Robert Louis Stevenson
Robinson Crusoe – Daniel Defoe
The Moonstone and The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
Dracula – Bram Stoker
Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
The Forsyte Saga – John Galsworthy
Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
The Scarlet Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne
Tender is the Night – F Scott Fitzgerald
The Beautiful and Damned – F Scott Fitzgerald
Tess of the d’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde