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on 13 August 2012
What an apalling buy! Kindle edition is just terrible. It looks as if somebody scanned the pages of the real book - and did an awful job! The tables are cut in half (with the second half missing) - so don't count on gaining any information about timetables, distances, etc, etc. It's hard to navigate the guide as well - you always have to start from the beginning to find that little detail you were interested in. Annoying hiperlinks to accomodation or restaurants will send you right off the page you're on if you touch them by mistake - that's on my Kindle Touch - (and there is a lot of them - they are hidden it the text as they are three times smaller than the rest of your font - you can't make them bigger. Same goes for maps - none of them was decipherable).

If you're counting on this guide because you don't want to carry four big books in your backpack (which was my motivation) - you're better off buying a second hand guidebook on your way. I understand Kindle is not an iPad but somebody could have done a better job editing it and selling for nine quid!!
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on 24 February 2012
I am a big LP fan (I definitely prefer them to Rough Guides) and this book is up to LP standards. AS with other LP multi-country guides (e.g. Guide to the Middle East) this book is great for starting off your country by country research, giving you an idea of the key places to visit, guide to costs, travel times/distances etc. I won't, however, be using this guide to help me travel whilst in the countries for the main reason that the "Getting to and from" sections that LP readers will be familiar with are either lacking in detail or just lacking all together! The information on more remote sites is also limited (major sites like Angkor Wat/major cities have plenty of detail).

I would definitely recommend this guide as a start to your travel research OR as a travel guide if you only intend to visit the major sites in each country and have your travel organised for you but I wouldn't recommend relying on this guide for more extensive travel once in V,C, L and NT. Invest in this book but also buy the single LP country guides, they will give you the detail you need to organise your travels once in the countries.
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on 8 November 2012
The guide is probably really good but impossible to use as an ebook where there is no real facility to search the book for places or use an index. There are no page numbers and you can't possibly search fast enough to find the places. Completely useless
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on 2 February 2013
I should have listened to the previous reviewer that said that this book is just the appropriate chapters from SE Asia shoestring boook... Wanted to use this book for upcoming trip.

I borrowed the SE Asia book from library and can make the following comparisons:

SE Asia book is only £2 more, covers far more countries, but is bigger as a result
Reviewed book has listings for more fancy places to stay and restaurants - hotels of no use to me as book online
Laos section on the reviewed book is slightly better than SE Asia with maybe a couple more lines about each sight, in Vang Vieng it has a paragraph extra abouut caves etc.
The info is much more current that 2010 Laos Lonely Planet as you'd expect, and it souunds like there have been many changes!

Thailand part of reviewed book is in less detail than SE Asia!! I am very disapointed in this as am going to Chiang Mai and Bangkok, I was not expecting it to be worse and I think this is a disgrace! However it does have extra maps about Silom and Siam Square, as backpackers are unlikely to be in these areas.. Chiang Mai map is better as shows slightly more of the city compared to SE Asia book.

I am not going to Vietnam nor Cambodia on this trip so did not compare.

The Laos section is usable on the road, but Thailand is too lacking which is a shame as the content in SE Asia would be enough. I wish I had looked at this book in a shop first to see just how lacking in info it is.

Do I regret buying this book, not sure as Laos is ok. Probably would have been better printing the Wikiguides and some Hobo Maps, and may do this rather than taking book..
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on 15 March 2012
I found the book, as with all the Lonely Planet guides, is just brilliant when planning our trips. It gives excellent ideas as to the best areas of the country to visit and an indication of length of time the tours will take. The book is laid out very clearly and it is easy to find the information you need, together with clear maps which we always use while travelling.
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on 17 July 2012
I bought the Kindle edition to use while I was away. I found it impossible to navigate my way around the text. To read as a book was fine, but to use to look things up, impossible. I therefore downloaded it onto my iPad which was an improvement but still awkward. Eventually I bought a hard copy in Cambodia for £5. The cheap price accounted for the fact that occasional pages were missing, but despite that the book was much more useful than the Kindle edition. Perhaps Lonely Planet guides do not suit Kindle, or maybe I am simply not adept enough at using this technology.
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on 11 January 2013
I found this book really useful while travelling through Vietnam, Cambodia and Northern Thailand (Not tested in Laos). The structure of the book means finding a destination is simple, and all the key (thus touristy) locations are marked.

Being a multi-country guide, the detail level is limited in some places, but with internet cafes in almost all locations, I used the guide as a starting point and then built and itinerary based on what I could find online - plus online is always more up-to-date.

The book is quite small, in fact half the thickness of the China Guide, which shows how condensed this book is, but as a lightweight traveller I could not afford the extra weight of 3 country-specific guides.

I was in each country for 1 month and found that this book, in combination with online reading and other travellers recommendations, I always had enough information. In fact, in Asia you rarely need a guide book - there are so many people who can give you so much advice.
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on 24 July 2012
I picked up this guide for a trip to Southeast Asia later this year. However, I don't think that I'll be bringing it along. This guidebook is sadly lacking in just about every department.

My first complaint is the amount of detail, or, rather, the lack of detail. I expected this book to be somewhere between the 'Southeast Asia' guides and the individual country guides when it comes to the amount of information. I had not quite expected this to be three guidebooks merged into one (though that would have been entirely possible, the LP to Vietnam + Laos + Cambodia together have less pages than the LP to China by itself), but this is not even close. This book is simply the Southeast Asia guide chopped in half, repackaged, rebranded and then sold at full price. It's telling that this guidebook has less pages than the Lonely Planet to Vietnam alone! To me this is unacceptable. I guess it's fine if you plan to spend one week in each country but otherwise quite useless. The one area where you would expect it to have an advantage over individual country guides (border crossings, getting a visa to country x in country y) is also disappointing.

A general criticism of recent Lonely Planet guides is the new layout. Older editions had useful information on the inside of the cover, always at your fingertips, such as currency exchange rates, temperature / measurement conversions, phone numbers etc. The inside of the back cover used to have a map legend. The new one has a useless 'browsing guide' inside the front cover telling you where to find information (I thought we had the actual 'Content' for that) and shameless promotion for other LP guides inside the backcover. Yes, I know that LP also makes city guides, thank you. Inside the guides all is not well either. The climate graphs are completely unreadable (and so completely useless) for lack of horizontal rulers. Looking at them, I have no idea if it's going to be 15C or 25C. More valuable space is wasted with useless 'infographics' like "If Cambodia were a hundred people..." and then one hundred little men are drawn in different shades of blue to depict the ethnic distribution of the Cambodian people. Though that information is not really useful it might still be semi-interesting, but you don't need to fill pages and pages with graphical depictions when you can say the same in three sentences. Also new in some guides are 3D-like 'cutaways' of popular destinations. These are more commonly found in Eyewitness travel guides, and that is not a compliment. I've always regarded those guides as made for either armchair explorers or pensioned people who go on organised tours. Not that there's anything wrong with either -- it's just not what I expect when buying a Lonely Planet.

I'll have to buy individual Rough Guides instead of dragging this along.
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on 18 November 2012
This book is incredible! It's going to be with me every step of my journey! It's a must have! I'm moving to Vietnam in the new year and hope to travel into Cambodia and Laos at some point. I know this book is going to be invaluable to me when I get there and need to know how much to expect to pay for food, travel etc and when I want to plan weekend trips and holidays! They've even included lists of items to bring with you from home(really important when your moving long-term)! They have included fantastic maps and pictures which illustrate the cultural experiences you can expect and beautiful scenic views of some the most famous sites. Breathtaking! This book seems to have information on everything aside from destination guides to each country and a survival guide for each country (excellent detailed information and great travel tips). I absolutely love the layout of the book and style with which it is written. It provides excellent first hand practical advice combined with frank honest reviews and gives a good overall history of the countries (always good to know). It seems there is nothing that they haven't thought of including in this guide! I particularly love the travel itineries they set out depending on the time you have available and what you want to see. You can mix and match and set out your own itinery using the information given. Ideal if your going backpacking or wanting to travel for a few weeks. You can expect to find all the relevant information down to border crossing points,visas, cost, bus timetables etc. Actually, it's perfect also, if like me, your relocating and wanting to know a bit of everything about everything! Buy it! You won't be disappointed!
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on 8 January 2013
Unfortunately I have to agree with all the previous reviewers who have been extemely negative about this Kindle book. The reasons are exactly the same - hopeless table of contents, no interactive index, no clear way (well, no way full stop) of navigating to a particular venue, highlight, or for that matter even to a specific country. Given that there are over 16700 "locations" in the book - a location appearing to be the Kindle equivalant of an on-screen page - it is impossible to find your way around. The book itself would appear to have about 550 pages (we do not get page numbers), so it shows the size of the problem. I do not know whether it is just this book, or all travel guides, or just awful "transfer" of this book to Kindle, but it is of no use whatsoever for the purpose it was purchased which was quick reference to an up-coming highlight or advance reading of a particular region. I'm new to Kindle and this was my first purchase, both the Kindle and the book being for an upcoming holiday. I should have spent a tenth of the money on a hardback. What a dreadful start. Being "new" I did not realise that I had 7 days to acquire a refund. From now on I'll quickly scan any new purchase for similar problems.
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