Customer Review

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Typical quality of the Rough Guide series but can be outdated in places, 12 Feb. 2013
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This review is from: The Rough Guide to Sri Lanka (Rough Guide to...) (Kindle Edition)
I bought this eBook to read without the weight normally associated with Rough Guides (and, indeed, their Lonely Planet competitors). It was also significantly cheaper as a digital download.

The detail, depth of information and structure of the book is typical of the Rough Guide series. However, whilst I used to view them as the benchmark of tourist information guides I've become increasingly aware that these days they can get quickly out of date.

As an example that pertains to me, let's consider the train ride from Colombo to Kandy. Whilst the book describes this it doesn't mention that these days you can book a top notch luxurious carriage known as the Expo Rail that leave Colombo every day at 7:00am and arrives in Kandy at 9:30am (well, that's the advertised time, anyway). As this carriage is a fairly recent addition the train services I can understand how it would be missing from a *printed* book, but I had hoped the eBook would be more up-to-date with perhaps some (free) updates available for download now and again.

All in all, I've probably discovered more valuable information for my particular trip to Sri Lanka just by browsing the internet and watching relevant YouTube videos - all of which are up-to-date. The problem is that the Rough Guide covers too much of Sri Lanka so there are countless pages of no relevance to your particular visit. At least I'm not carrying all that superfluous weight!

So whilst this Rough Guide is OK (and, truth be told, better than OK if you want all the minutiae of details) I'm slowly going off this series and finding other, more timely publications.

I intend to read this on the plane flight out though so if I change my opinion I'll update this review in due course.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 19 Mar 2013 14:03:57 GMT
Last edited by the author on 19 Mar 2013 14:05:08 GMT
Gavin Thomas says:
Just wanted to point out that the Expo Rail train service the reviewer says is missing from the book is actually covered on page 30 of the print edition (and also cross-referenced from the Kandy section on p.220).

He also states, rather bizarrely it seems to me: "The problem is that the Rough Guide covers too much of Sri Lanka" -- how much of it does he think Rough Guides should cover?!? Isn't the point of a guidebook to Sri Lanka that it, erm, covers the whole of Sri Lanka???

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Mar 2013 14:33:14 GMT
Ralph Bacon says:
Thank you for pointing out that the Expo Rail information is included in the printed version; it's therefore probably in the e-version too but not where I expected to find it.

The point about the book covering too much of Sri Lanka should be read in context. If I were touring Sri Lanka (or any other country for that matter) then this book covers all the areas I could ever possibly want to visit.

As it happens though, I'm going for a two week holiday and therefore need about 10% of the book (even after allowing for the historical introduction section, interesting though that may be, it just adds weight).

It's not going to happen, but having a printed version of different areas of a country would be of more use; or, as I have, take the e-version so there's no weight penalty. That all said, it takes months to bring a book out and then it's already out of date; in the meantime the web has countless, timely articles from "enthusiasts", I suppose you'd call them, that can really give you the Real World view of a place.

I don't hate this book at all. It's just the whole concept of a weighty tome, that purports to cover all possible aspects of a country when most of that will be of little practical interest to the average holidaymaker, has become defunct. Hence the eBook, to a degree, I know. If only it were updated automatically by the publisher...

Finally some irony that you'll doubtless appreciate: in my suitcase right now are two other books on the flora and fauna of Sri Lanka. I couldn't get eBook versions and of course I don't suppose I'll encounter more than 10% of the inhabitants described either (I wish!).
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