Reviews - What do customers think about Caves of Northern Thailand?
A Visitors' Guide to Thai Caves Jun 13, 2009
This is a very nice book, and the price is extremely reasonable, considering that it has between one and five color photos on almost every page. The first half of the book is introductory material, including nice, concise summaries of cave geology and biology. There are chapters on archaeology, especially rock art and the log-coffin sites found in the area, and Buddhist temple caves. The log coffins date from one to two thousand years ago; none of the sculptures and other shrine material in the temples are very old. There are a brief introduction to safe caving techniques and a discussion of cave photography. Human uses of caves and human impacts are covered, with a good conservation message.
The second half of the book contains brief descriptions and many photos (but no cave maps) of over one hundred caves in the eight northernmost provinces of Thailand. Forty of them are in the Pang Ma Fa area, where a research project in 1998-2000 provided the motivation for this book. Vertical caves and caves known for bad air are excluded. The cave names are given in Thai, both in Latin letters and the Thai alphabet, but not translated. Map coordinates (degrees and minutes) and directions to all the caves are given in an appendix. I hope the conservation message is taken to heart by readers, because among the caves included in this book, which is clearly meant to encourage cave tourism, are well-decorated wild caves and poorly protected archaeological sites. (Approximate locations are also shown on regional maps on the endpapers.) The photographs, generally several per cave, as well printed, but some have color-balance problems. Glossary, bibliography, and index wrap things up. Curiously, the part of the bibliography on cave photography has not been translated into English, providing about a half a page of Thai script to admire. The publication dates there are given in the Buddhist system, in years since the Buddha's death in 543 BC.--Bill Mixon