‘On Track’ by Henry Gittins – Thailand Before Tourism

Guest blog: ‘On Track’ by Paul Gittins

Anyone wanting to find out more about Thailand before the age of tourism can read a first hand account in the edited diaries of Railway Pioneer Henry Gittins by his grandson Paul Gittins in his book ‘On Track.’

Although the book follows the career of Henry Gittins as he rose to the top of the Royal Railway department, it also gives a fascinating description of life in Siam during the thirty-three years that he spent there from 1888-1921. Surveying much of the country gave Henry Gittins the opportunity to observe local life and customs as well as the difficulties of travelling round a country before the construction of railways revolutionized transport and communications.

Among Henry Gittins’ many achievements was the construction of the Southern Line from Phetchaburi all the way down to the southern border. In doing so, he discovered Hua Hin and was the first to recommend it as a seaside resort, which could perhaps give him the title of Father of tourism in Thailand.

For anyone wanting to know a little more about the history, customs and culture of Thailand, ‘On Track’ will give a first hand account of life at the beginning of the Twentieth Century because as one reviewer said: ‘the book is enthralling because the diaries are so immediate.’

‘On Track’ published by River Books is a paperback of 152 pages with 33 photographs and 4 maps. ISBN 978 616 7339 42 9 Available on Amazon. Price £9.95

On Track book front cover