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12 Comments

  1. Excellent review, Kat! I didn’t know that the guide included information about charity-run places. Is this something LP does standard in their guides? It’s a huge selling point for me.

  2. I think I am the only person who prefers to search on the net rather than read books!

    I find that the content of these books to be quite old and often there are better joints in town or newer ones have opened up since the last edition of the book got published. These books are typically published 2 years ago & the content is not up to date.

    But that is my 2 cents!

  3. @Carla – Good question. We’ll try and get in touch with someone at Lonely Planet and find out.

    @Inn – In part you’re right. Paper guidebooks have very long lead times and are published long after they are researched. However, they do bring a lot of trusted information together in one place and allow you starting point for planning.

    We’re keen to know how you start researching a place you’ve never visited: A google search? or do you have some favourite sites which give you an overview of the destination and also include things to do and places to stay?

  4. @Craig & Linda – “Travel Guidebooks = old information”. Of all the places & holidays I have booked, i have not yet read a travel guide and we travel a lot.

    I use google, Yahoo & Bing (latest) to search for places to see, unique places to stay etc.

    There is plethora of information available online & good places esp. new ones are not listed in these guidebooks.

    If you were to take New Delhi B&B’s (for eg) – you will find that the guidebooks are aptly clueless – while online, it is a different story all together.

    Go on do a Google,yahoo or Bing or for that matter Twitter search for New Delhi B&B’s or some other New Delhi bed and breakfast term and then search for them in any of the travel books & you will see what i mean!

    1. Just heard back from Lonely Planet:

      In answer to the question, I consulted our Commissioning Editor for Southeast Asia:

      ‘We do, as standard, ask authors to seek out voluntourism stuff and any good not-for-profit organisations that help to support the community socially or finanically for the guidebooks. It just depends on what they find in the destination as to what is included.  Most of our Southeast Asia titles do. ‘Dining for a Cause’,  ‘Good Cause Dining’ etc… have been features in a number of our editions in Southeast Asia titles.’

  5. Sorry for the delay in response, I just got to South Africa a couple of days ago and I’m in sort of a remote area where the internet connections are… less than reliable. 🙂 However, SA is beautiful and I can’t wait to start writing about it. Meanwhile, it seems like Craig & Linda have answered all of your Q’s, thanks so much you two!!

  6. After travelling a lot of South East Asia a few years ago I must admit that this book helped me a lot and Kat has done a great job describing the best parts.

    The most useful thing for me was finding good affordable places to stay when arriving alone in a new town. It helped me get settled and get my bearings without panicking about safety and costs.

  7. The Lonely Planet Guides are legendary must have in your library of travel books. These publications are referenced and used to dream of far away places when planning your get-away and as a source whilst on your travels.

    The comments that the publications are often lagging behind in content, is true, however it is designed to guide you! It encourages thinking and in conjunction with personal computers will most likely get you to the place you did not know you were looking for. Isn’t this what travel is all about? Experiencing the unexpected, however feeling safe in the knowledge that you have some reference and boundary albeit sometimes a bit behind the time. It is pointing you in the general direction! I personally would go to the Lonely Planet website as a final check for the information I have sourced is in fact relevant and current.

  8. I am about to go to South Est Asia for a few months and wasn’t sure if this was the righr guide. I had the one of Central America and it was pretty good but about this one I read a few bad reviews.
    After reading this I think I will buy it. Thanks

  9. Thank you. I saw that they published the new one in 2010 so it should be updated and I usually have a look in the internet for hostels. Never book in advance but at least I like to know where I am going and what to expect. Restaurants..I usually find them walking in the street.
    I need a guide with allo these countries in order to plan my route, decide where to go and what to see.
    I’m about to do the world trip and don’t have lot of space (6 Continents and can’t buy a guide for each country). Have you any idea about the Rough guide South Est Asia on a budget?

  10. I think that’s the perfect way to use these books: route planning and an idea of what to see and do in each location. They also come in handy for emergency fall-back plans re: hostels or restaurants, and for squashing all manner of SE Asian bugs.

    We looked through the Rough Guide and the LP when we were travelling in SE Asia, and they were quite similar. Rough Guides tend to give more of a culture perspective, and LP more of a backpacker-with-cash perspective, but both cover similar things in this region. I honestly couldn’t pick one, but Asia is Lonely Planet’s starting ground and speciality.

    We found dozens of photocopied and bound guidebook knock-offs throughout Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos … I’m sure they’re in other places too, and they were all US$10 or under – maybe as low as $5.