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Lonely Planet Istanbul Encounter 3rd Ed.: 3rd Edition Paperback – Feb 1 2011

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Lonely Planet; 3rd edition edition (Feb. 1 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1741797195
  • ISBN-13: 978-1741797190
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 11.4 x 16.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 386 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #540,168 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"Bottom line: ... It's the lean, easy-to-use and fact-filled Lonely Planet ... that we'll slip into our carry-on next time." -- Washington Post

"The trusted companions for a generation of independent travellers." -- New York Times --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Virginia Maxwell knows exactly why Istanbul has been called the city of the world's desire, as she desires nothing more than to return and sample its manifold delights again and again. With her partner Peter and young son Max, she has tramped its cobbled streets, explored its bazaars and marvelled at the friendliness and good humour of its locals. With good friends Jill, Kate, Catherine, Dave and Janet she's checked out bars, relaxed in cay bahcesis (tea gardens) and eaten trayloads of meze; and with sister Elizabeth she's hopped on and off ferries, eaten lokum (Turkish delight) and watched dervises whirl.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 17 reviews
46 of 52 people found the following review helpful
Only a little helpful and the writing style could not be more annoying Sept. 21 2007
By N. Del Conte - Published on
Format: Paperback
I have always found Lonely Planet books to be helpful. This is by far the worst I have ever purchased. The maps were helpful but so were the maps we picked up at the airport. This book is inappropriate and overly effusive.

Most Lonely Planet books are written by people far more authoritative than this. They have either lived in those places or worked there for several months at a time. It seems like this writer just took a few trips to Istanbul with her friends and somehow landed a pretty sweet book deal. She barely touches the neighborhoods that are not the main tourist attractions.

As for the touristy areas, she may as well have been a writer for the Turkish Tourism Association. She gives very little history of the places she writes about and does not give a realistic take on them. For instance, she says that Topkapi Palace is so great that "tourist attractions rarely get better than this." What she fails to mention is that very little of the palace is left in its original state so you don't get a sense of palace life. The rooms are lined with shelves with old artifacts so it is essentially a museum in a palace. The Turkish government only let the palace become a tourist attraction bit by bit so this is to be expected. It is a great place but Maxwell hardly conveys that.

Also, she says that Ayasofya will take your breath away. This is the worst-maintained historical place I have ever seen. She fails to mention that there has been scaffolding in the dome for nearly 10 years.

Also, the ferry information she gives is wrong and we missed a trip to the Princes' Islands because of it.

Lastly, I don't think phrases like "wet dream" belong in a tourism book. What does that even mean anyway?

I am not saying Istanbul is not worthy of praise. It certainly is an amazing city in its fusion of East and West and I had hoped to be guided through it by someone who better understood that rather than a bubble gum fan. I honestly cannot understand how this book made it to publishing with its lack of detail and gushing style. I usually have far better Lonely Planet experiences. Hopefully the company will update this book with a new author soon who can give Istanbul the assessment it deserves.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Lonely Planet Istanbul Encounter second eidtion (2009) Nov. 11 2010
By Alessandra - Published on
Format: Paperback
I am fan of Lonely Planent Encounter guides as I travel a lot in cities around the world for work. Very often I get to stay there for three months and therefore I fing Encounter guides very useful for me with all the nice shops and bars/restaurants tips given by locals.

This book is full of outdated information even though is only from last year: many of the bars/cafes/restaurants mentioned are closed. Second, many addresses are wrong. Third and most important: all the shops, bars, cafes and restaurant mentioned are really REALLY tourist traps. I do not think the author is a local at all (if she is, she hanging with tourists all the time). Also, I did not find any value added in this guide book than any other Istanbul guide book.

When I buy encounter (I have London, Tokyo, Berlin, Rome and they are top notch) I expect a different level.
A new author (please a local this time....) should completely rewrite the entrie book.

This book is a loss of money and TIME (you will loose time looking for the shop/restaurant she mentions finding out is either a tourist trap or wrong address...)
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
AVOID Oct. 9 2011
By Nigel - Published on
Format: Paperback
Worthless...incorrect info abounds. I am still on my trip in Turkey and and am in an internet cafe urgently wanting to warn others who might buy this piece of useless and misleading and just wrong crap. This book has consistently provided misleading and incorrect information and has wasted 2 of my valuable vacation days. Do I sound angry. You bet I am!!!!!! Luckily I also have a copy of the Moon Handbook to Istanbul and Turkish Coast and this has proven to be ABSOLUTELY GREAT. No more of Istanbul Encounters. The trash can is too good for it, but it is too non-absorbant to put it to it's best use.

I will take a seemingly innocuous facet of the book---ferry recommendations. The schedule times are wrong. Imagine missing a once a day Bosprous ferry cruise. I made it aboard. I wanted to see the European side so sat where the book recommended only to discover I was seated on the Asian viewing side of the vessel with no way to change to the other side since the ferry was full. Then I noticed the author had misidentified which shore several landmarks were on. I could only conclude the author had never actually taken the cruise but had relied on second-hand, wrong info. She also suggests taking the ferries to various Golden Horn locales failing to mention that the ferries run sporadically if at all, leaving me stranded and cursing. If you use this book after reading this review, heaven help you.

It also directs the tourist to a couple of really abysmally dreary and to be avoided neighborhoods. The book devotes far too much space to recommending pathetic and often out of business restaurants.

In my 40 years of travel never have I encountered such a poorly researched and presented travel guide.

I can only conclude that unless they provide specific examples, the positive reviewers liked the format of the book but did not acutally attempt to use it--a plague among travel book reviews on Amazon.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
A favourite guide for a favourite city Feb. 10 2007
By saliero - Published on
Format: Paperback
I love Istanbul, having lived there in the early 1990s. In 2005 I made my first return visit since then, and although I feel confident I know the city well, much has changed. This guide contained information which locals I stayed with weren't aware of, particularly public transport info.

My main criticism of LP books is that the maps are pretty useless, and this is once again the case. You really need to get a separate map f you are going to venture beyond the really well trodden path. (There are a couple of bookshops on Istiklal Cadessi that sell good maps).

I found the tone of the book suited me - it is enthusiastic about an amazing city, and the author certainly knows the place well. I don;t usually follow guide book suggestions for places to eat, preferring to discover those on my own. I am gald I allowed Maxwell to lead me to a couple of cafes and bars, however, as they were excellent.

I recommend this book for both the novice and experienced traveller to the city (which I don;t with all LP City Guides - some, like Paris, I think reather too basic for the experienced visitor to that city).
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Functional Nov. 28 2006
By Jennie - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book is already annoyingly out of date, but is still the best guide to Istanbul out right now. The prices are off and for some reason given in Euros, even though most places only want Turkish Lira. Maxwell's opinions are loud, even for a Lonely Planet guide, and I found myself disagreeing with a lot of them. Still, a good size to fit in your coat pocket while running around and discovering Istanbul.

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