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Indonesia Slimmed Down! :-(
on 3 September 2013
I had for editions given Lonely Planet's Indonesia guide 4 stars despite all its errors and shortcomings just because it remained the only practical guide covering the whole country, but this new edition is so much poorer than the previous one that it no longer deserves the same rating.
For a start, it suffers from the same shortcomings plaguing all new LP editions: far fewer accommodation options which are no longer listed ordered by price, maps less detailed, color pages on poorer quality paper, etc.
But the major step back is that content has been cut back seriously. This edition is 100 pages shorter than the previous one, and it shows. Entire islands and even archipelagos have vanished from the book, especially in the Maluku region, but also in Nusa Tenggara, Sulawesi and Sumatra. Very little in the way of new destinations has been added to compensate for those losses. Editing has also changed in a curious way: The regions themselves, once listed in a logical largely west-to-east order are now listed in a completely random order, with the furthest and least visited region of Papua now in the middle of the book, before the much more visited and accessible western and central regions of Sumatra and Sulawesi. Oh, and it's full of badly misspellt Indonesian place names, too.
After all these complaints, do I have anything good to say?
Well, if this will be your first trip to the country, and you are happy to visit only the more touristy areas, you will probably find that this book still gives enough information for you - and definitely more than any other guide to the country. It does still cover all the popular places first-timers are likely to want to go to, and it does still give actual (though changing!) prices for accommodation and transport.
But if you are a regular visitor to Indonesia and already have the previous edition(s), no need to get this new one.