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Lonely Planet Syria & Lebanon (Travel Guide) Paperback – 1 Jul 2008

14 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 436 pages
  • Publisher: Lonely Planet; 3 edition (1 July 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1741046092
  • ISBN-13: 978-1741046090
  • Product Dimensions: 19.7 x 13.2 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 287,114 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'For tens of millions of globetrotting readers, the Lonely Planet guides are the gospel of adventure travel.'-- New York Times Magazine --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jolene Reeday on 8 April 2009
Format: Paperback
I bought my first Lonely Planet guide back in 2000 when I started my backpacking trip around Australasia. My New Zealand, Asutralai and USA books were my bibles, they were full of great information.
However, I have bought a 3 Lonely Planets that have been updated within the last 3 years including this one and I have to say, it is not up to the same standard at all.
We bought the book for Lebanon and used it whilst spending a week travelling around. The book was really not that helpful. Money changes in a country so I never use that as a guide but the accomdation information was completely incorrect. Either places were closed or were nothing like they suggested.
The maps were wrong.
Also there just wasn't anywhere near enough information in the book about any of the places we visited.
We could have managed quite easily without it which is not something I would have said back in 2000 when backpacking.
We have noticed the same problems with our other Lonely Planet guides.
Definetly not recommended.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Weatherill on 11 Nov. 2008
Format: Paperback
This edition printed July 2008 is lacking in so many respects that I was left very frustrated. For example departure tax in Syria by land border is SYR£500 and by air SYR£1500, not the stated SYR£200 in the book. A lot of the maps were inaccurate. Adding 20% to most prices not the usual 10% seemed to be the order of the day. This guide seems too concerned in plugging 'the authors choice' (any kick backs involved...?) or showing pictures of people that could be 'nearly like us' with a personal profile and other nonsense. Having bought and used LP books for over 10 years, this is a poor effort and hugely dissapointing. It lacks the impartiality of other guides and the editorial stance seems to have shifted considerably since the BBC Worldwide buy out (no coincidence eh?). I met several people who had the same 2008 edition and they were of the same if not similar opinion. This book is aimed at time-poor-cash-rich travellers rather than backpacker budget types (for example the entry in Homs the budget hotel options start very cheaply approx US$8, yet the 'authors choice' is approx US$100) even though it attempts to address the needs of both it does it badly. Bus stations are mentioned that either no longer exist or services reportedly arriving/departing no longer exist. While I accept that things are subject to change to be so out of date 2 months after publication is a bit much. Where the book is actually really good is in its descriptions of sites and the LP way of packing a lot of historical information into a few pages concisley remains. But this is not going to stop me switching to Rough Guide because I reckon LP have lost their way if not the plot...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Spliid on 17 Aug. 2010
Format: Paperback
I travelled around Lebanon and Syria for approximately one week. For that time, the book was fine, although the descriptions for each place were rather short. I probably would have preferred the book were divided into two books (i.e. separating Lebanon and Syria to have a book on their own). There is lots to see in these two countries, and only some of the sights and things to do were mentioned in the book. It should have been more extensive.

That being said, however, if you're only going for a short while, the book is fine, since it covers the most important topics.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rich Slater on 7 Nov. 2011
Format: Paperback
This is a good effort by the LP, and in terms of practical information, it is a worthwhile travelling companion. However, some of the maps are not correct, or plain hard to read, and the inflation which has occurred in these countries since the book was published means that the prices are now much higher than stated. The accommodation choice, particularly in the top end of the market, has grown significantly in recent years, particularly in Aleppo and Damascus. How these hotels and restaurants have been affected by the months of turmoil remains to be seen, I suspect many of them will not have survived the dearth of tourists.

The major drawback of the book is the relative lack of information given about the historical sites. These compromises were made to keep the book readable, however if you find yourself exploring Afamia or Baalbek (to name but two sites) with just this book for company, you will likely decide that hiring a guide is well worth your while. The ideal complement to this book is the Bradt guide, which gives scant information about logistics but pretty detailed information on ruins.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Know-all on 10 April 2009
Format: Paperback
I bought this guide because I sometimes buy LP guides when I travel to new areas. Unfortunately, this guide does not measure up to LP standards. The fact that the authors have written their own review, and gave themselves 4 out of 5 stars really does reveal something about this book; it is quite evident that they are at panic stations, since the book is so poorly written

For a start, the maps are simply incorrect. Two examples: 1) the British Council was nowhere near where the LP said it was, I spent 2 hours asking people in order to get to it; 2) The Passport and Immigration Office, one of the most crucial locations to know if you're visiting Syria, was in the wrong place. The sheer clumsiness of this book is breathtaking

Anglophone Syrians have often come up to me and complained how their culture wrongfully portayed. In one page, women are advised to wear a ring on their finger, in order to stave off potential wedding proposals. Surely, Arabs and non-Arabs are allowed to marry -- unless, that is, LP has an issue with that. Another gaffe is highlighting religious hadith from the Prophet Mohammad about entering Damascus, ignoring the fact that the Syrian Arab Republic is a secular state. Thankfully though, the sentence equating Sayidditna Ruqayya shrine with Las Vegas was removed from this new edition

Never mind the ill-judged statements which portray Arabic cultures inaccurately (and insensitively), there is little useful information / insider knowledge in this book for travelers.

In fact, there is the bare minimum. It seems that the authors, as expected, used the standard template of LP guides, but only went to the trouble of filling in the responses to the subheadings in the fashion that people fill in questionnaires.
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