Reading these popular books written by outsiders about Thailand should give you an impression of the country and its citizens through the foreign eye.

Sacred Skin, by Tom Vater

(Thailand’s Spirit Tattoos) An interesting read is this book about the sak yant, Thailand's religious tattoo tradition. Besides its history and religious meanings, there are lots of interviews with people with these tattoos that are believed to ward off evil if the owners follow the lifestyle rules of the tattoo master. The accompanying photos are beautiful. A good place to see this kind of tattoos being applied is at the annual Tattoo Festival at Wat Bang Phra in Nakhon Chaisri. [coffee table book]

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