on 29 January 2010
This volume, in the Traveller's Wildlife Guides series, successfully fills a gap in available literature on Thailand. Too heavy to be a pocket book, it conversely constitutes a midget encyclopaedia and ideal inflight or sunbed reading. I like the style; the authors start off with Ecotourism instead of slipping in a list of nature reserves at the very end, as though as an after-thought. To test the usefulness of this volume for identification purposes (although no biologist expects every species from so large an area to be packed into a popular guide of this kind), I looked up toads - and there it was, the mustard yellow male river toad (Rana macrotis) I had photographed in my wife's inlaws' kitchen ten days earlier in Eastern Thailand! Being a bit of a butterfly buff, I cast my eyes over the flutterby illustrations, noting that the book's authors used the same common names as I would if submitting a photo to a magazine (most biologists use the scientific names). There's a whole lot I have yet to read but all in all, I love this book and will take it with me along with my DSLR equipment on my frequent visits to Thailand. Just one very minor criticism - a few of the illustrations (including those of the toads!) have not printed out as clearly as one might have liked; doubtless that drawback will be rectified in future editions. By and large the book is a great buy at its price.
on 9 March 2010
Very useful book as I went to Thailand, saw unusual beasties and wondered what they were. Going back again so now I'll be on the look out for unusual species. One criticism is the constant reference to ecotravellers and a wasted chapter on defining ecotourism. People who travel there for the sun, sand and beer can be just as interested in the wildlife as the dedicated ecotourist. If you ignore the goody two shoes stuff, there is also a lot of humour in the book which makes it easy to read - "a long contractual agreement between certain individual ducks and the Walt Disney Company". Even with my criticisms I would thoroughly recommend this book.