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Middle East (Lonely Planet) Paperback – 1 Jan 2003
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As usual the guidebook standard is set by Lonely Planet-- Outside
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
you can have a full trip in the Middle East. What's more, contrary to popular opinion, there is a great variety of terrains and cultures in the Middle East, which this book helps clariy and explain. Great value!
I thoroughly recommend buying the Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait guide in conjunction with this book as the Middle East guide does not contain much information about these countries. Also, if you are not planning on traveling to many countries in the Middle East, you may want to look into a smaller book as the Middle East guide is thick and heavy. The Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain guide is 1/5 of the size - much more maneagable for backpacking with.
The Middle East guide is useful for information on visas etc..and provides loads of contact information for planning your travel. One of the most useful parts of the book was the back section on language and ettiquette. As a single female traveling to these parts I was appreciative to have some guidance in this area.
The Lonely Planet - Middle East is not 100% comprehensive, but is the most up to date source of information on the market - and is set out in an easy to follow format. Some of the restaurants recommended were definitely not the best. I even wondered some of the time if the reviewer went into them to eat?! (For eating in Kuwait, you HAVE to go to Greenlands Vegetarian Indian house in the inner city. Also, Alganims on the Gulf Road - these places are 5 star+++, but very cheap!).
For the first two, in general this edition is well to do. Its hard cramming in so much tourist information for so many countries on so few pages. The job is not what to say, but what to leave out. And in eneral the book is updated, usualy more so for prices than information.
However, some things still dont change. For instance, while Baalbek remains one of the most amazing sites to visit, it is paid lip service. While Tehran is a dynimic and changing sunny city, it is consistantly given a rather terrible review.
However, in the name of a good regional guide, it is the only one. The LetsGo guide is a joke...provided books for spoiled western kids to plow the same old tired route as beofre...as they usualy all are.
However, the getting there and away section for this new edition is as terrible as they always are. When people are planning trips they want to know all of their options and a general idea of the costs, its often the first thin readers look at are the costs, easy of getting around and time it takes. The authors of this guide have certainly not put in the hours of painstaking research required to provide this inormation. However, as usual, its the best guide, essential for a relatively short...budget trip, and hey...as always it has a nice glossy cover.
As for a guide to read, after visiting, its great nostalgia, though consistently irritating, far too much coverage is negative, far too many wonderful fun activities are left out. And while I am a budget backpacker, there are always business travelers who use the guide but find it far less useful than it can be. It should be as comprehensive as possible.