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My first lonely planet.. not very helpful in making decisions
on 20 March 2013
Hong Kong (Lonely Planet City Guides)
As stated in the title, it is the first time I'm almost totally relying on a lonely planet travel guide and I'm overwhelmed by the huge amount of information spread all over the book.
I must say I do not appreciate the list-approach through which all places and sights have been laid down, especially because there is really little way to tell what could be more or less important to see. For instance one thing i miss of my routard is the rating system they use to give readers a clue about how a place stands within a specific area - they rate "all sights" from 1 to 3 points.
Another frustrating thing is that all throughout the book there is no way to understand where one's going. Each chapter just begins with a list of things to see, eat, drink etc, but no notice is given about history and/or population of any neighbourhood or district whatsoever. There is a state-of-the art section at the end but it is of no use when you're approaching a specific area and what you crave for, as a tourist, is to know where you're gonna find yourself if you go there. You need to go through descriptions of bars, restaurants, markets etc to figure out what the main trends are, but no greater understanding is provided.
All along the guide authors keep suggesting a lot of planning, tours.. they even lay out a full 4-days program, but again, they give us so little background about this all that as tourists we're kind of asked to take a total leap of faith - not at all my thing.
I saw there is a smaller city guide of hong kong (former "encounters"), which costs half the price. Beside of Macau (i guess), I wonder what added value is there in a book that doesn't allow a longer vacationer to delve into the culture, the mood and the lifestyle of his surroundings.
Instead of all the cool designs, layouts and graphics I would definitely appreciate some knowledge that helped me sort out all of the lists in here.
Ps: if you felt pretty much the same, I later found the national geographic guide to provide everything LP was lacking of.