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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars simply brilliant,
By A Customer
This review is from: South-East Asia (Trailblazer) (Paperback)this guide book is almost too good to be true, where ever you are heading mark elliot has been there and drawn the map. its really like being given a set of hand drawn maps by a friend, and the best thing of all this guidebook is tiny compared to the weightier and weighteir tomes by lonely planet and rough guides.
basically each chapter deals with one of the south east asian countries giving you a few facts and then a compendium of hand drawn maps littered with useful symbols that once youve got used to them are quite simply amazing.
one of the great strengths of this book is the travel connections, detailed graphically its very easy to see how to get the bus/boat/train anywhere and even how to find the station or bus terminal, or indeed how to quickly get into town from there.
the book doesnt hold your hand to the degree the other books do, and so it gives you enough info on where to find a hostel, and a couple recomendations where needed, but things like finding food usually isnt too much of a challenge.
the guides to cambodia and laos are particuliarly strong, and in truth you just dont need another guide book for these areas, in fact following some of the maps here i ended up in much more out of the way and interesting places in both counties.
for thailand its useful to get another guidebook as really this is such a very big country with so much to do, this book is great for planning and transport, but is wel backed up by another guide, i personally found the rough guide thailand book a very good match. theres lots of tips in the graphic guide about what you need for thailand and the hows and wheres of aquiring extra guide books while on the road.
for malaysia again i used only this book, and found it suprisingly comprehensive, although here i followed again the books advice and used the various websites listed to get in depth knowledge for accomodation.
mr elliot uses a system of stars to highlight his highlights as it were, and on the whole id say i agreed with 2/3 of them which isnt bad as its all so very subjective, on occasion i would wonder quite what the attration was but each to their own.
an essential book for the independant traveller to se asia, and one which will endlessly enhance your trip, not to mention the fact it will slip in your pocket.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Book About SE Asia!!,
This review is from: South-East Asia (Trailblazer) (Paperback)After using LP and Footprint ... this book is a revelation as I found myself not needing to read reems of information to get to the one bit I needed as the maps and keys are simple and the info in there is spot-on.
As an example, when we'd come into a town I'd open the book, straight to the necessary map, know where I wanted to go and was away before most others had worked out what page, what map, what key and then read 4 pages to find out what they wanted to know.
If you have any independent streak in you ... buy this book and enjoy Asia in amuch less restrictive way.
Excellent work ... I just wish there were more in this style for more countries.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice for independent travellers,
This review is from: South-East Asia (Trailblazer) (Paperback)We found this book have all the maps you need to find where you are when arriving in a strange place and to find a guest house for cheap. Its not heavy to carry so you can buy other guide for the country where you are if you want more info. But travel is easy in many places in SEAsia so just knowing where is the info office and bus stations and traveller areas is useful. We compared with Lonely Planet Southeast Asia on shoestring. In the end the maps look more professional (computer) in LP and there are reviews of hotels etc in text. In the "Graphic Guide" Trailblazer book it only tells you (by an icon) where the hostel is and maybe gives a comment. Or even says "guest house area" (or something like that) so you know where to look. That seems more scary but often the places in LP were full anyway as everyone else has the LP too! So, in the end the extra detail was not always helpful anyway. For best idea use any book then ask locals or other travellers for more info. For smaller villages not covered in LP Shoestring the Trailblazer book often does have little maps which is useful as it was often those places where people don't speak English. We didn't use the book in every place but Laos, Thailand and Yunnan (South China) the info was good. Our trip is quite short, but we liked the style which, like it says, is a sort of "treasure map" style. The alphabets also useful.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wish there will be similar books for other areas!,
This review is from: South-East Asia (Trailblazer) (Paperback)This is a great book for "the basics": finding your way and finding a place to sleap and eat as well as finding the attractions. Actually for these things it is so much better than the Lonely Planets, that I was actually quite upset when I lost the book during my 5 month trip through SE-Asia last winter(fortunately near the end). If you prepare your trip well, and know where you want to go, then this is the only book you will need. However it is not (and I am sure not meant to be) a book which explains in great detail what you can see at the tourist attractions.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing new style map-guide,
This review is from: South-East Asia (Trailblazer) (Paperback)This is nothing like most guide books I've ever seen - it's completely packed with maps - maybe more maps than writing. That means it looks a bit confusing at first, but as you sit and work it out it looks like every microscopically detailed page has about 10 pages worth of information squashed in - sort of like a series of pirate treasure maps. Even some quirky stuff - "Here I saw working elephants" on one map. I haven't used it in SE Asia yet, so can't tell how accurate all the info is, but I bought apparently one of the first copies ever sold from a travel show in London where the author was doing a talk - he seemed to know his stuff. I got a copy a) because it is compact and light and I don't want to carry a lot of big fat guides and b) because it includes the south bit of China that I want to cut through to go from Vietnam round into Laos. Other SE Asia books didn't seem to have that. Aimed for longer trip backpackers. Has been good for route planning, lots of cheap hostels, not much in the way of restaurants or details of whats in museums or stuff like that. Maybe this style could give Lonely Planet a run for the budget crowd money, but probably more of a cult thing for people who like decyphering all the icons and notes. Fun.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For SE Asia this is the business,
This review is from: South-East Asia (Trailblazer) (Paperback)We used this book recently to get aroung a number of countries in SE Asia and to be quite honest was the best guide book we used on our whole round-the-world trip. The maps are easy to understand and point out the important things you need and its not bulked out with excess info that you probably won't read anyway.
As we forgot a China guide and couldn't find one for looking once inside Yunnan this saved us no end. If only these guides were available for other parts of the world!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars still up to date,
This review is from: South-East Asia (Trailblazer) (Paperback)still up to date when i was there end of 06. this is the future of guide books (i hope), i just wish they did more for other countries. instead of carting round hefty guide book with hundred of mini reviews of hostels and restuarants that are generally out of date anyway, this book is packed with user friendly maps, and points you in the direction of websites constantly updated by fellow travelers. Here you can get hold of the most up to date and relevant info.
i would recommend this book to all but the most inexperienced travelers if they are in search of a guild book to hold their hand around s.e asia.
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South-East Asia (Trailblazer) by Mark Elliott (Paperback - 1 Jun 2003)
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