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Customer Review

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enough to Pique My Curiosity Again, 28 Jun. 2012
This review is from: The Rough Guide to Istanbul (Paperback)
Two disclosures:
1. I have been to Istanbul twice as a tourist. I do not consider myself a fan of it.
2. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Rough Guides in order to review it.

LIKES:
- I love the full-color pages; they keep the book from being monotonous.
- I like the many detailed maps and diagrams of city areas and tourist sites.
- I like RG's "tell it like it is" philosophy, though some descriptions still seemed overly complimentary.
- I like the bolding of keywords and locations in the text for easier skimming.
- I like the section on Istanbul for kids. I don't have children, but now I can recommend relevant places to friends who have children.
- I found the Basics section on transport and travel essentials useful (wish I had something like that for the city I live in!).
- I liked reading the historical information and felt I learned something new.
- I thought the inclusion of nearby cities and their tour-worthy sights was a good idea.
- I thought there was a good variety of information. RG touched upon history, arts and culture, language, people, sports, shopping, and many types of entertainment. It is a little overwhelming and all mixed up, but I think prospective tourists can see that there is something for everyone in Istanbul.

DISLIKES:
- There are rampant typos/errors in the Turkish used throughout the book and in the language section at the end. It makes me think the book was not edited, so I am anxious about the accuracy of the other research. Normally, I am impressed with RG's language materials. Not sure what happened in this book!
- I wish the maps were removable from the book (some travel books on the market have this feature) because the RG maps seem quite detailed, but I wouldn't stumble around the city carrying the book around.
- I wish there were more photos and less text. Show me what things look like. If I'm on the go, I don't have time to pause and read descriptions.
- More spacing between restaurant/hotel listings to ease the strain on the eyes (I can't imagine that people actually read those parts -- I never have)
- I understand that travel guides are updated regularly, but I would just leave out some of the information that can become outdated quickly (especially in the very changeable country of Turkey), such as airline info, restaurant hours, bus routes, and the like. Prices were included, but those fluctuate too much for the book to stay reliable. The average traveler will need to double-check all those things online anyway.
- I thought the photos could be better. The raw journalistic style does not sell the location to me. Just looking at the photos, I'm not sure I'd be interested in visiting.
- I wish the book made use of its back and front covers for vital information (emergency information or most common phrases, for example).

OVERALL
Despite having toured Istanbul before, I discovered new places in this book that piqued my curiosity and made me feel more open to visiting again. (Since I live in Turkey, I am pretty much guaranteed to pass through Istanbul again, anyway.) However, this book did make me feel more enthusiastic about going back. I will certainly take this book (or at least its map pages) with me next time.

Obviously a lot of time and research goes into producing a book with so many pieces of information. While I normally expect higher quality out of Rough Guides, I think this book is probably about the same as other Istanbul tour books on the market. You could do worse.
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