Cummings explores Thailand's key attractions, providing detailed descriptionsand over 130 color maps.
As always there is detailed information about the culture and history of Thailand. However, for many the focus is on the practicalities of finding accommodation and getting where you're going (once you have used the handy maps to figure out where you are). Particularly useful are the suggested itineraries which give an idea of what you can fit in whether you are staying for a couple of weeks or several months. For those wanting to concentrate their stay on the main attractions of Bangkok and Thailand's coastal regions, Lonely Planet: Thailand's Islands and Beaches is perhaps a better bet. However, if you fancy being a little more adventurous and seeing more of Thailand, Lonely Planet: Thailand is certainly a good place to start. --Caroline Butler
Mr. Cummings, the author, can read and write fluent Thai (Kudos to him) but does not appreciate that most of those using his book neither have the time or inclination to study the language effectively. A number of places he recommends for either shopping or eating are only of use if one can speak Thai, as he mentions that there is no English spoken, nor any English menus etc. Furthermore he will recommend places that do not have English signs, yet fails to put the Thai name in the book, making even finding some of these places extremely difficult. One might try to argue that the phrasebook part of the book would make up for this inadequacy, but far from it. It adds to the confusion. Mr. Cummings decided to use the most bizarre method of transliteration known to man. It requires a doctorate in cryptoanalysis to try and work out how he has used those characters in the Latin script to resemble the sound in question. For example a hundred in Thai would be transliterated Loy or Loi by most people, yet somehow Mr. Cummings thinks Rawy is the easiest way to write it, where did he learn English?
The maps in this guidebook are also absolutely horrendous. Their inaccuracies are so bad that one must wonder whether Mr. Cummings even visited the places. The scales are often so wildly out that six kilometres appears as one kilometre on the map for a small town that maybe only measures about six kilometres from one end to another.
The only good thing about this book is that its inadequacies prompted me to learn basic spoken and written Thai. The paper in this book is not even very absorbent, so it missed its true calling.
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