Tom Vater

Writer & Editor

Tom Vater is a writer and editor working mostly in Asia.

He has published five crime novels and was co-owner of Crime Wave Press, a Hong Kong based crime fiction imprint which published 36 novels between 2012 and 2021.

Tom has published some twenty non-fiction books, including the bestsellers Sacred Skin with Aroon Thaewchatturat, and Cambodia: A Journey through the Land of the Khmer with Kraig Lieb.

Tom's work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, The Times, The Guardian, Nikkei Asia, CNN, Marie Claire, Geographical, The Mekong Review and other publications. He is the Thailand Daily Telegraph destination expert and has authored several guidebooks on Thailand and Cambodia.

He is the co-author of three documentary screenplays, including the highly praised The Most Secret Place On Earth, a feature on the CIA’s secret war in Laos.

Tom is represented by London-based literary agency Marjacq.


Feature Stories

Thailand has cannabis fever - but how green will the Kingdom's ganja trade be?

In 2018, Thailand decriminalised the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes. From the beginning of July, Thailand will no longer class cannabis as a narcotic, the first Southeast Asian country to do so. Regional neighbours will pay close attention to what environmental and social consequences this legislative shift may incur.

Nikkei Asia
Two decades on, 'The Beach' faces fresh problems

TOM VATER, Contributing writer "Oh, it's so f---ing beautiful," exclaims Etienne, one of the characters in the Hollywood blockbuster "The Beach" (2000) as a group of travelers that includes a young Leonardo DiCaprio reaches Maya Bay, a white sand crescent on Thailand's Andaman Sea coast.

Nikkei Asia
Books: For creative protest, in Thailand the writing is on the wall

TOM VATER, Contributing writer "In 2013, a friend took me down the railway tracks behind Klong Prem prison. I saw this forest of cement columns covered in artwork and I was instantly attracted," says photographer Rupert Mann, author of "Bangkok Street Art and Graffiti."

Nikkei Asia
Headwinds buffet Thailand's 'sea nomads'

TOM VATER, Contributing writer PHANG NGA, Thailand -- "I get a lot of motivation from the life I chose," says Lena Bumiller-Klathale, a 34-year-old German who has traded her European past for a life on the ocean in Asia.

The Telegraph
My chilling encounter with serial killer Charles Sobhraj

As The Serpent draws to a close, one writer recalls interviewing the serial killer in prison - and his shocking lack of remorse In December 2003, Central Jail in the Nepali capital Kathmandu was everything one might expect from a prison in a developing country.

(Crime) Fiction

Next Chapter
Detective Maier Mysteries

Detective Maier and his Russian sidekick Mikhail solve heinous crimes in Southeast Asia's underbelly in The Cambodian Book of the Dead, The Man with the Golden Mind and The Monsoon Ghost Image.

Next Chapter
The Devil's Road To Kathmandu

In 1976, four friends - Dan, Fred, Tim and Thierry - are on a bus along the hippie trail from London to Kathmandu. But everything is not going according to plan. After a drug deal goes wrong, the boys barely escape with their lives. Thousands of kilometers, numerous acid trips, accidents, nightclubs and a pair of beautiful Siamese twins later, they finally reach the counter-culture capital of the world, Kathmandu, and Fred disappears with the drug money. A quarter-century later, mysterious...

Next Chapter
Kolkata Noir

Becker is a British traveler in trouble. Madhurima is a rising star police officer. In these three explosive tales, the two join forces to investigate the city’s crooked high society. On the way, they take on deluded would-be messiahs in search of Mother Teresa’s stolen millions, encounter fanatics, circus freaks and cannibals, fall in and out of love and pay homage to one of the world’s most beautiful and toughest cities. Amidst passion, murder and mayhem, is there room for two lovers...


The Daily Telegraph
Bangkok destination expert

Bangkok City Break Guide. Songkran celebrations, restaurants, hotels, nightlife, shopping, unspoilt islands, festivals and events.

Visionary World Publishing
Sacred Skin | Thailand's Spirit Tattoos

A beautifully illustrated book introducing the mysterious world of sak yant, spirit tattoos said to bestow protective powers upon their bearers.

Moon Travel Guides
Moon Angkor Wat: Including Siem Reap & Phnom Penh

With Siem Reap & Phnom Penh The ancient temples at Angkor Wat are unlike anything else on earth. Step back in time and take the trip of a lifetime with Moon Angkor Wat.


Kumbh Mela - The Greatest Show on Earth

In the footsteps of Alok Sharma, the top policeman in charge of the Maha Kumbh Mela in India, the largest gathering of people on planet earth, ever!