BANGKOK — The owner of a new travel bookshop in Old Town says he opened the store for himself, as much as to encourage other booklovers to explore the world.
Nat Prakobsantisuk, 54, and his sister Sivika Prakobsantisuk, 57, recently opened “World At The Corner,” a English-language travel bookshop in a colorful, century-old wooden house just a five-minute walk from Democracy Monument.
“I want it to be a sanctuary when I am old,” said Nat, a bespectacled fashion-photographer and an avid traveler.
Equally, Nat hopes to tempt his customers into a thirst for traveling and discovering new things. Though it’s a small bookshop, readers can find travel books and fiction from every corner of the world.
If you’re after non-fiction, Sivika recommends the “Atlas of Cursed Places: A Travel Guide to Dangerous and Frightful Destinations” by Olivier Le Carrer. The book paints dangerous destinations far and close to Bangkok, such as the Sunda Strait separating the islands of Java and Sumatra that is notorious for piracy.
“Staying at home doesn’t enable us to understand the world,” Nat enthused, adding that people gain respect for other cultures, people and religions while travelling.
Though English-language proficiency remains generally low in Thailand, Nat says there are already plenty of Thai-language bookstores. He hopes an English-language bookstore will encourage Thai readers to learn about the world through the eyes of people from other nations.
“Seeing [the world] through the perspectives of people from other nationalities enables us to see a clearer picture,” said Nat, who has a habit of reading books about each country he visits. He and Sivika are considering Uzbekistan as the destination for their next trip.
Closer to home, the store sells books on Thailand from Bangkok-based River Books. There is a limited selection of English-language books for children.
As for opening a bookshop in an era where many books, newspapers and texts have migrated online, Nat says there’s still value in making time to savour books.
“The internet has its positive qualities, including speed. The drawback is it’s superficial and not detailed. Books require concentration and generate deep understanding,” said Nat.
World At The Corner Bookshop is located inside Soi Mahannop near Democracy Monument and the old City Hall. It’s open Friday to Sunday from 10am to 7pm and features a room for sitting and reading. The store can be reached at 089 699 7074.
This is the first of two stories on travel bookshops in Bangkok. Stay tuned for Passport Bookshop next week.