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Vietnam (Lonely Planet Country Guides) Paperback – 1 Feb 2005
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The Lonely Planet Country Guides are the complete country guides for independent travellers. They feature inspirational colour highlights sections, easy-to-use grid-referenced maps and insightful history, culture, food and environment chapters by specialised contributors.
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The book is easily readable on the device and using the built in search is considerably better than an index in a traditional guidebook (and if you are touring its likely a fair bit lighter too); the excellent bookmarks mean i can easily tag places and things of interest easily.
The guide itself is quite dry but very informative. Guidebooks seem to come in two styles all the detail you could possibly want or a few words and photos of all the places you might want to visit with little detail; im not sure which is better and often go for both reading the detailed guidebook in advance for the places i thought i wanted to go and then looking at the pretty photos to find places that i wasnt aware of then using the detailed guide for planning and the photo guide to suggest things to do.
Maps are clear and detailed, glossery and language section are super useful. Easy to read, informative with the odd lovely photo illustration.
What lets this book down though is that in such a rapidly changing country as Vietnam, it just won't do to publish information last updated in 2009 as "current". We had been warned about this so didn't use the book for restaurants, bars or hotel guidence.....which in a way defeats the purpose of a travel guide.
However, having looked into this, as it turns out both Rough Guides and Footprints Vietnam books were also last updated in 2009, with new versions due 2012.We are therefore in an up-to-date info limbo until the new versions come out.
The only minor negative was that I was slightly concerned on reading the book about the high volume of theft etc that the book seemed to portray in Ho Chi Minh. However when I got there I felt completely safe wandering around the city by myself. Still that is a very minor point as best to be prepared for it and take all necessary precautions rather than have a nasty surprise.
I am a big fan of Lonely Guide books in general and I can only comment on the chapter on Ho Chi Minh City but this is definitely a good buy!
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