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Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei (Lonely Planet Country Guides) Paperback – 1 Jan 2004
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For sheer global reach and dogged research, attention must be paid to Lonely Planet...' --Los Angeles Times, February 2, 2003 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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That said, if you do want a guide, this is probably the most reliable one for practical details. The 10th edition, published in January 2007, actually seems to have been more thoroughly updated than some previous ones, with some new attractions and accomodation options added - unlike in certain other LP guides, where only prices are changed from edition to edition. Of course practical details may change even by the time the book is published (remember it was researched in early 2006), but in general these 3 countries are pretty stable and inflation is low. Sure, the odd errorous/outdated info did slip in, but is far outweighed by all the useful stuff.
My only complaint about this book might be that it still pretty much concentrates on established, popular tourist attractions and major cities/towns. Don't expect to find many tips on locating hidden gems or exploring remote corners of the country, particularly Borneo. For that kind of info, I found the Rough Guide to these countries better than LP, though RG's practical info is often more dated. Decide what's more important to you!
If you are going to these countries for the first time, and only have a few weeks on hand to spend there, you will probably find the information provided by this guide both sufficient and largely accurate.
One piece of advice: space allowing, if I'm going to one country only I've benefitted greatly from taking both the Rough Guide and the the Lonely Planet. Malaysia is one of the countries where having both books allows you make better decisions by allowing you to compare and contrast what's written in both (which often differs somewhat), and the increase in weight is more than made up for by the increase in knowledge. If you're that desperate on space I'd recommend buying both and using a knife to 'cut out' the sections of places you're not going to (as you bought the book to use, not show to your friends on your book shelf, right?), taping it back together down the spine to make your ultimate boodle book. This technique works well with other bulky Lonely planet books - such as Thailand and Australia - where you're many of the readers will only be visiting small sections of the country and not need all the book, and who wants to carry dead weight?
It does make me smile a little, however, when people write unfavourable reviews of Lonely Planet for being slightly inaccurate with pricing, or 'not providing enough detail' about places to stay, for example. The very essence of Lonely Planet is the idea that you should go and explore - the guide is exactly that: a guide. It's not supposed to be a completely comprehensive overview of every single place to stay, every place one can possibly eat, or every market, shop or watering hole. For me, the whole point of going travelling is to explore; it's fantastic to have recommendations as a starting point from someone trusted who has been there before and that's what I use Lonely Planet guidebooks for. Anyway, straying off the point somewhat... If you want to travel rather than go on holiday, buy.
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It's quite heavy and in poorly lit hotel rooms the print is not that easy to read.