'Frontier Towns on the Mekong' is Released
Thailand, at the center of Southeast Asia, has it's own unique and prolific history. With Bangkok as the urban epicenter and the pulse of the region, it has become a popular tourist destination for people from all over the world. Sheba Suphannahong, in her new book 'Frontier Towns on the Mekong,' focuses on the more remote (and less-traveled) northeast region of Isaan along the Mekong River, and provides a unique perspective from the province of Nakhon Phanom. It is from this vantage point that Suphannahong-who currently makes her home in Nakhom Phanom-shines her own light on how modern travelers can navigate this remote area and discover the essence of Indochina.
Nakhon Phanom, Suphannahong explains, is a holiday paradise rich in history, yet still not an international tourist mecca. It remains untouched by the usual suspects (shopping malls, spa resorts, and restaurant chains) and is an ideal base from which modern travelers can explore the Mekong. 'Frontier Towns' aims to open the minds and eyes of potential visitors.
"This book provides information so that you can find your own way to meditation in the temples, great food, and local life-these adventures are no longer exclusive to private tours and expensive resorts," says Suphannahong. "The modern 'connected' traveler can access information so that they are free to shape their holidays in accordance with their own interests, all on a modest budget."
'Frontier Towns' includes well-summarized historical details that give visitors just enough understanding of how and why and when this region developed and evolved. Suphannahong further illustrates the history and intrigue of the Mekong with colorful descriptions of the region's many attractions: river caves, ancient stone walls, Mekong boat cruises, open-air markets, peaceful temples and shrines, relics of the Buddha, and an abundance of healthy, fresh, local food.
In addition to providing many of the usual ingredients one expects in a travel book (info for lodging, transportation, dining, guided tours, etc.) 'Frontier Towns' goes down a different road and offers travelers the opportunity to experience some truly unforgettable-and off the beaten path-activities, including a customized photographic expedition with a local photographer and a day in the rice paddies learning how the Thai people grow and cultivate this ubiquitous grain on one of the cleanest rivers in the world. There are other rewarding adventures too, like spending a couple of hours at a local school conversing with children who are learning English or visiting a holistic retreat where room and board-and a hands-on education in ecologically sound growing methods-are offered in exchange for labor in the form of gardening and farming.
Holistic health is an integral part of Thai history, culture and daily life. Suphannahong revisits this theme throughout her book. "My hope," she says, "is that the visitors who are drawn to this Frontier Town will also be eco-minded travelers, or that through their visit they become more environmentally aware." This eco-conscious thread also appears in her previous travel guide, 'Bangkok FreeStyle'. Both books use photographs to further illustrate the beauty of the region, and the eBook versions include hyperlinks to facilitate research on subjects of interest.
Frontier towns like Nakhon Phanom are not typical tourist areas where visitor centers and "You Are Here" maps adorn each corner. Suphannahong's book provides information beyond the basics of the usual travel guide, opening up a remote part of the world to educated travelers who want a unique experience. "I wanted to put into this book all the things that I wished I had known when I arrived. 'Frontier Towns' provides the information so that visitors can enjoy unique and unforgettable days."
About Sheba Suphannahong
Sheba Suphannahong moved to Bangkok in 2006 to become involved in grassroots projects relating to environment and sustainable development. She has created her travel books as a way to share all of the wonderful things that she has discovered about this part of Southeast Asia, as well as to deliver her message about the importance of striving for a sustainable world. Suphannahong currently makes her home in the frontier town of Nakhon Phanom.
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