Orchid Guides

Orchid Guides comprises specialized guides to various subjects or geographical areas.

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Angkor Observed
There Before You
by Dawn Rooney
2001. 239 pp., 46 col. plates, 26 b & w, 10 line drawings, 8 maps, bibliography, index, 23.5 x 12 cm., Softbound.

ISBN-10: 974-8304-79-5 $23.00
ISBN-13: 978-974-8304-79-3


This is the second book in the series “There Before You”. It consists of a selection of early travellers’ impressions of the Khmer empire’s ancient, 12th century capital and the legends that inspired the majestic stone temples of Angkor, which were described by a visitor in the 1920s as “the most impressive sight in the world of edifices”. The work brings to the reader out-of-print impression of early western travellers, and also includes tales and legends based on an oral tradition, published for the first time. It serves as a guide-book companion, as an introduction to Angkor and as supplementary reading following a visit. It is also of interest to the arm-chair traveller unable to venture as far afield as Cambodia. The author has a PhD in art history, and has written several books on Southeast Asian art and culture, including Angkor. An Introduction to the Temples (1994).

“Go to Angkor, my friend, to its ruins and its dreams.”
— P. Jeannerat de Beerski, 1923.

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Khmer Civilization and Angkor
by David Snellgrove
2000. 170 pp., 80 plates, 5 maps, 23.5 x 12 cm., Softbound.

ISBN-10: 974-8304-95-7 $19.00
ISBN-13: 978-974-8304-95-3


This book is intended for visitors to Cambodia and indeed for anyone who is interested in a brief account of the history and culture of this once great empire. David Snellgrove, Professor Emeritus of the University of London and Fellow of the British Academy, is mainly known for his publications concerning Indian and Tibetan Buddhism and various Himalayan regions, especially Dolpo and Ladakh. After his retirement from the University of London in 1982, he embarked upon a new series of research-journeys in South-East Asia, first spending much time in Indonesia with subsidiary visits to Thailand and Malaysia, and then from 1995 onwards in Cambodia. During his years in Cambodia, the author has traveled widely in the country, and also visited many of the archaeological sites in Thailand that bear witness to the vast extent of Khmer civilization. In addition, the author, driven by his well-known intellectual curiosity and seemingly boundless energy, has read widely in order to place the many sites visited in the proper historical context.
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A Climatic Guide to Asia and Australasia
by René de Milleville
With a chapter on health aspects on travelling in Asia by Cecilia Leslie, M.D.

1985. 112 pp., 14 tables, figures and maps, 23.5 x 12 cm., Softbound.

ISBN-10: 974-8299-47-3 Out of print.
ISBN-13: 978-974-8299-47-1

Limited number of second hand copies available for $12.00 each.

Climatic tables are given for nearly 100 places in 26 countries. These tables show for each location altitude in metres and feet, monthly maximum and minimum temperatures, maximum and minimum rainfall and other climatic phenomena such as thunderstorms, wet and cold periods, etc. A useful travel companion or handy reference.
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The Sacred Footprint
A Cultural History of Adam’s Peak
by Markus Aksland
2001. 192 pp., 27 col. plates, 14 line drawings, 3 maps, bibliography, index, 23.5 x 12 cm., Softbound.

ISBN-10: 974-8304-65-5 $19.00
ISBN-13: 978-974-8304-65-6


Adam’s Peak in Sri Lanka is one of the five places where Gautama Buddha left the trace of his foot, but it is also an important place of pilgrimage for Muslims, Hindus and some Christians. The Hindus regard it as the footprint of Lord Shiva; the Muslims think that the first man, Adam, planted his foot on the summit of the mountain when he was thrown out of paradise, and some Christians consider the footprint to be made by the apostle Thomas on one of his missionary voyages. This book examines the Sinhala pilgrimage tradition both from Sinhala and non-Sinhala sources, and explains the cult of Saman, the white elephant, and its relation to Adam’s Peak. The author takes on a pilgrimage to the summit, with detailed descriptions of the route and his own experiences. In addition, the book contains descriptions left by ancient Arab and European travellers from the earlier times. The book is intended for the traveller who wants in-depth information before undertaking the journey, as well as interested readers and scholars.

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The Traveller’s History of Burma
by Gerry Abbott
1998. 208 pp., Richly illustrated with 18 col. plates, 27 b/w plates and four maps and plans, 23.5 x 12 cm., Softbound.

ISBN-10: 974-8299-28-7 $23.00
ISBN-13: 978-974-8299-28-0


This is the first book in the series THERE BEFORE YOU. Gerry Abbott has edited and woven together an amazing array of early description of Burma by travellers of what you can see “there before you” by those that were “there before you”. The author, who lived in Mandalay in the 1980’s, has researched past travellers’ descriptions thoroughly, and has elegantly tied them together in a vivid history of Burma. The book has an extensive bibliography and an index, and is useful for students, and interested laymen as well as intelligent travellers!
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Trees and Fruits of Southeast Asia
An illustrated Field Guide
by Michael Jensen
2001. 242 pp., over 100 col. illustrations plus diagrams, tables, indices, 23.5 x 12 cm., Softbound.

ISBN-10: 974-8304-67-1 $23.00
ISBN-13: 978-974-8304-67-0


This field guide to commonly cultivated trees in Southeast Asia is beautifully illustrated by the author’s watercolours, and will be an invaluable help for those interested in knowing more about the domesticated trees and fruits which one finds all over Southeast Asia. The book contains useful diagrams and explanations of the botanical characteristics of different groups of trees, key characteristics of each tree and maps showing their geographical distributions. Names in local languages are given along with common English names and scientific botanical names. Some ethnobotanical information on the usage of different parts of the trees is also included. For fruit lovers, a “fruit calendar” showing the seasonal availability of common fruits in Thailand is included, but with space for readers to note the fruit seasons for their own locality.