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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An "Entertaining Stroll" through 100 Countries.
I must say that I really enjoyed reading through this book, browsing and picking out ideas, comparing countries and looking at the great photos.

Of course you can't do justice to the whole world in a book like this - but as the forward says - where do you start? We have so much information on the internet today, that it's overwhelming - you can't necessarily...
Published on 26 Jun. 2011 by Bruce

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The sort of information you'd get in a school project!
I'm not hugely impressed with this book, but then admittedly it sets itself a very difficult task - to inform you about 100 different countries in less than 400 pages, with the apparent aim of encouraging the reader to visit them. The countries seem on average to get around 2 double pages each, though some are limited to one double page and some are granted 4 or more...
Published on 21 Feb. 2012 by Miss


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An "Entertaining Stroll" through 100 Countries., 26 Jun. 2011
By 
Bruce "from Brighton" (UK - England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: 100 Countries, 5,000 Ideas: Where to Go, When to Go, What to See, What to Do (National Geographic) (Paperback)
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I must say that I really enjoyed reading through this book, browsing and picking out ideas, comparing countries and looking at the great photos.

Of course you can't do justice to the whole world in a book like this - but as the forward says - where do you start? We have so much information on the internet today, that it's overwhelming - you can't necessarily make sense of it all.

But having this book in your hand, you can pick and choose - look at different countries you may not have thought of - avoid those with too many "cons". In fact I only found one country without any "cons" according to this book and that was Hungary! Well - no coastline, so I suppose you can't complain about it.

Of course this is not a serious attempt to find the best 100 places to visit - it's just an "entertaining stroll", as the author states at the outset. It's always going to be a subjective exercise and it is quite clearly biased towards UK and US tourists. So in the book, each country has travel times from New York/London and costs in £s and $s, as well as documents required for American and British citizens, amongst similar facts.

Given that I'm British, I approved of this bias and the US aspect, allowed some further comparisons. Of course a lot this is very familiar - but there are odd facts that strike you - like Greece having the highest percentage of fatal road accidents in Europe. I can quite believe this and it convinced me not to hire a car when I next go to Greece! Conversely, I didn't know that Burma was now called Myanmar and had never considered it as a tourist destination - but for Buddhist art, it looks a good bet.

I think this is a very nice book - a huge amount of great-looking colour photos - some on every page. Useful diagrams, maps and concise information provide a great stepping-off point to think about destinations you might not have considered. It's also got many indexes at the beginning and end, that allow you to sort through in different ways - like best times to visit, where to see wildlife, sustainable tourism, etc.

All in all - great fun, nicely presented and a useful if broad-brush, guide.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent whistle-stop tour of the world, 24 Jun. 2011
By 
Maxine Clarke "Maxine of Petrona" (Kingston upon Thames, Surrey United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 100 Countries, 5,000 Ideas: Where to Go, When to Go, What to See, What to Do (National Geographic) (Paperback)
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This is a really beautiful and useful book. It covers virtually every country in the world, usually as a double-page spread although some countries, such as China and Spain, are allowed more pages. There's a standard format for each country, consisting of a brief table of key facts (currencies and so on) as well as the main tourist attractions and travel advice. As might be expected from National Geographic, the publisher, the whole book is full of beautiful photographs and arresting page designs. There isn't enough detail about any country to provide much depth, but if you are undecided about where to travel next, this book is the perfect introduction to anywhere, whereupon you can use the internet or more detailed specialist travel guides to find out more details of your chosen region.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The sort of information you'd get in a school project!, 21 Feb. 2012
By 
Miss "crazyminx" (Coventry) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 100 Countries, 5,000 Ideas: Where to Go, When to Go, What to See, What to Do (National Geographic) (Paperback)
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I'm not hugely impressed with this book, but then admittedly it sets itself a very difficult task - to inform you about 100 different countries in less than 400 pages, with the apparent aim of encouraging the reader to visit them. The countries seem on average to get around 2 double pages each, though some are limited to one double page and some are granted 4 or more double spreads. At least one of the pages in most sections is completely taken up with a photograph, and there are other smaller photographs, along with maps and small charts, so the amount of written information is actually quite small, especially when added to the fact that the book is not particularly large, and the type is not particularly small! As a result of these limits, I found that the information for most countries was no more impressive than the type you would get in a child's school project, and if you looked the country up on Wikipedia you would get the same information for free, and probably more of it!

I suppose it is nice to have the information in book form to flick through rather than having to look it up online, and of course it includes countries you may never think to look up online in the first place, but if you are going to go to the trouble of compiling a book with 100 countries, why not make it a little bigger and include all 195(ish) countries? A more coffee-table size book with every country in rather than these randomly selected countries would at least serve the purpose of letting you look through all the countries and educate yourself as to them all. At its current size this book is not impressive enough to make you want to show it off the way some travel books are, and it is not small enough to pop alongside novels on your bookcase, so I can't really understand why they produced it in this format.

I also wonder about some of the information provided. Of course we all like different things, but when you look at a write up of a country you've been to and think 'hmm... I could do a much better write-up and include much more interesting suggestions' then it doesn't bode well.

Basically this is a vaguely interesting book that tells you a little bit about half the world's countries, and has some nice (though rarely jaw-dropping) photos in it. The sections are barely enough to whet your appetite enough to make you want to travel to the countries described, but if you have never travelled before and really don't know where to start then you may find it useful. I just found it a bit pointless.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Confusing product., 11 Aug. 2011
By 
Clashcity Rocker "Clashcity Rocker" (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: 100 Countries, 5,000 Ideas: Where to Go, When to Go, What to See, What to Do (National Geographic) (Paperback)
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I'm really having trouble trying to review this book, as it does not really know what it wants to be. It covers alot of countries very briefly, some of them so briefly that sometimes you feel you may as well have not bothered reading.

On the upside, there is some really nice photography in there, something you would expect from National Geographic. I also felt alot of the book to be very US-centric and dumbed down, stating things that would be blatantly obvious to all but the "never travelled before", who I am guessing wouldn't be likely to be visiting some of the ambitious far-flung destinations.

When all is said and done, it's a very nice book to stroll through, it's inexpensive and shouldn't really be taken for a proper travel book. You almost feel they may have just been better off making it a lavish global photo album of National Geographic photography.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a bad place to start., 22 Jun. 2011
By 
Duncurin (Manchester) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: 100 Countries, 5,000 Ideas: Where to Go, When to Go, What to See, What to Do (National Geographic) (Paperback)
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How does one choose a holiday destination? For some years now one or two simple methods have worked well for me. Simply looking where I can fly to directly from Manchester is one of my favourite. Cost also works - last year I discovered that two weeks half-board in Kenya was only slightly more than a week B&B at a hotel in Sicily. This book is not a bad starting point for those who require a much more objective means of analysis. It will give you a summary of salient points, tell you where you are going, when to go, what sort of costs would be involved and (if flying out of London or NY) give some idea of how long it will take to get there. I suspect if aliens landed on Earth then this book would get them up to speed quickly. There are numerous, beautiful pictures that make the book a delight - even to those who can't afford a holiday this year.

One could argue that this book falls between a number of stools. It isn't detailed enough for serious planning and it isn't large enough for the coffee table 'wow' book. The information it offers is useful but probably not tantalising or detailed enough to draw you into a holiday. Looking at a destination that I knew very little about for instance - China - left me still with many unanswered questions and looking at areas that I knew or had travelled to - I would hope I could offer better suggestions.
My instinct would be to make the format a little larger to bring out some of those wonderful pictures and with the extra space liberated for text, invite submissions from travellers to spice up future editions.

So for Manchester may I suggest :-
Rebuilt and re-invigorated since the IRA bomb. Wonderful hotels, shopping, restaurants and nightlife. Have a walk along Deansgate, take afternoon tea in the Cloud 23 bar or a cruise along canals made famous by the Industrial Revolution. See the birthplace of railways that have spanned the world. If there is time don't miss Salford Quays.
So 4 stars, just , with many thanks.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars World travel primer AND handy reference guide, 27 July 2011
By 
Paul Fillery (Worcester, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 100 Countries, 5,000 Ideas: Where to Go, When to Go, What to See, What to Do (National Geographic) (Paperback)
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This is a beautifully presented book - but then I'd expect nothing less from the National Geographic. Lavishly illustrated with maps and full-colour pictures which give a real flavour of the countries described. Lots of charts and tables with handy info on each country, plus tables as an appendix rating the countries of the world in terms of climate, ease of travel, cost, beauty of landscape, historical interest, etc. This book is designed as a starting-point for the world traveller, and thus contains plenty of travel advice, pros and cons, places of interest, etc. But it's also useful as a coffee-table reference guide to the world. A fabulous book, highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 1st Stop for Travel Ideas, 27 July 2011
By 
Happyfamily (Essex) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: 100 Countries, 5,000 Ideas: Where to Go, When to Go, What to See, What to Do (National Geographic) (Paperback)
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This is a beautifully presented book full of useful information and top quality photographs of the 100 countries featured.The cover is designed to enable the inner flaps to be used as bookmarks and printed on the front flap are a useful metric conversion guide and a temperature conversion chart.This is an American publication but travel times to each country are given from New York and London so UK readers have been catered for.
Anyone who is thinking of making a trip abroad can browse the 400 pages to obtain basic info for each country and then research any likely locations more fully online or in the local library.
A very useful book well worthy of 5 stars.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent addition to your travel library, 13 Jan. 2014
This review is from: 100 Countries, 5,000 Ideas: Where to Go, When to Go, What to See, What to Do (National Geographic) (Paperback)
This book was bought for me while I was spending some time away in hospital. I am so glad this was given to me, as it kept me entertained for hours.

The book is broken down into different countries in alphabetical order. On each page there is a map of the county, some facts and pros and cons. There is also info on the weather for the best time to visit for different activities.

I cannot actually do this book justice when writing a review as it is so fantastic you have to see for yourself. It has unusual destinations in here, which prompt inspiration and makes you think about these as new places to visit.

I particularly enjoyed reading about the travel guide, such as any medical you need, how long it takes to get there, time difference etc. This is also available on every page for each county. Some countries with greater interest have more than one page dedicated to them, such as China.

The photography in the book is excellent and captures unusual parts of the countries at times, this something from National Geographic you would come to expect.

This is a brilliant 'starting point' book, if you are looking for in depth amounts on each country then this may not be for you. However if you want a snapshot and an idea to give you inspiration, this book certainly will give you that. It makes an excellent addition to any travel library.

I would recommend this book to others, especially those keen on travelling and are perhaps thinking about making a journey that is less touristy. I will definitely be looking into others in the series of the National Geographic as I enjoyed this book so much. I personally shouldn't be allowed near these travel books, as it encourages me to think about my next trip... lets pay for the trip currently booked for first eh?
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3.0 out of 5 stars The Alien's Guide Book of the World, 12 July 2011
By 
Quicksilver (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: 100 Countries, 5,000 Ideas: Where to Go, When to Go, What to See, What to Do (National Geographic) (Paperback)
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This is a nice looking book, but I can't help but wonder who is it for? For travelling, I tend to find these general guide books almost useless; there is never enough detail. The better ones might a few entries that spark further investigation, but this isn't one of the better ones. Of the hundred countries covered, only one told me something new that made me want to add it to my travel list. And for me that is the main problem in this book - 100 hundred Countries 5000 ideas, not many of them new.

Admittedly some of the book's destinations are more far flung, which as I have a young family aren't suitable, but even the places suggested for children didn't really inspire me. Senegal was suggested as a family destination, but the picture was so woeful and the entry lacking inspiring detail, I have no idea why they suggested it. The Senegal picture aside, as you would expect from a National Geographic publication, most of the photos are very good, giving this a certain coffee table appeal, but its softback cover and small size, don't really do it any favours in this respect.

If this book was given to an alien, who had just landed on Earth with a few weeks to spare, this would be an ideal gift. It could work out easily which parts of the globe it was interested in and go from there. (It is rather tempting at this point out the it is an American publication, possibly explaining the 'just arrived on earth' feel of the book.) If however you have already been chomped by the travel bug, visitied a few countries, and have an idea of where you would like to go in future, there is little in this book that will shake those plans up. So to go full circle, it's a nice book, I'm just not sure you need it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Easy to criticise but lovely to look through, 20 Jun. 2011
By 
Paul (Pembrokeshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 100 Countries, 5,000 Ideas: Where to Go, When to Go, What to See, What to Do (National Geographic) (Paperback)
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If you want an in depth travel book this is not the book you are looking for. If you want a book that you can flick through for some very basic (and sometimes factually inaccurate) information then for just under £8 this might just do the trick.

To give an example of how the book works well and some of its failings I will narrow down on an area that I visit at least 12 times a year, Cornwall:

Cornwall forms part of the 8 text pages section based on the UK which is then subdivided into a main body of text and ready reckoner boxes that highlight what to expect in the main body of text;

Box:
What to see and do in the UK:
Cities and Monuments:
Tintagel
Page text: "King Arthur's legend provides an unusual itinerary that leads from Tintagel Castle in Cornwall, where the famous king was said to have been born, to a site in Glastonbury that is the location of his supposed tomb. The Holy Grail, the object of the search by the Knights of the Round Table, is also supposed to be hidden here." (sic)

Landscape:
Cornwall
"Cornwall, with its mild climate." (sic)

Page text:
Coasts:
Cornwall
"the Cornwall shoreline-where surfing is sometimes possible (Torquay)-are preferred by tourists who go as far as the Isles of Scilly to see puffins and seals."(sic)

Box:
Traveller's Notebook:
Generic UK information with nothing specific about Cornwall

Box:
When to go: UK Generic
Climate May - September
Flora May, June & September, October

Picture: of Mousehole Harbour in Cornwall - which looks like any small picture of a Cornish fishing village.

And there you have it; A very small snapshot of nothing in particular with some dubious detail (Newquay is the Crown holder of Cornish surfing not Torquay which is Devon. Surfing, in general is always a possibility.) I like the book for its ability to give me a very small insight into countries that I would possibly have not considered travelling to. As a coffee table point of interest to start conversation or to flick the pages and see where you might end up then this is nicely laid out, has some decent generic information and therefore provides a great starting point for anyone wanting some inspiration for travel ideas. It is a ready reckoner, treat it as such but be aware of its limitations.
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