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Lonely Planet Vietnam 11th Ed.: 11th edition Paperback – Feb 1 2012

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 552 pages
  • Publisher: Lonely Planet; 11th Revised edition edition (Feb. 1 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781741797152
  • ISBN-13: 978-1741797152
  • ASIN: 1741797152
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 2.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 91 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #84,887 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Iain Stewart first visited Vietnam in 1991 when he was one of the first wave of travellers to explore the country after the American War. At that time all foreigners were called Ling Xo (Soviets) by the locals, who only had contact with nationalities from the communist bloc. Times have changed but Vietnam remains as fascinating as ever. Iain's been a travel writer since 1997, writing guidebooks for several publishers and covering terrain as diverse as Ibiza and Indonesia.

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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Very interesting considering that we were travelling in Vietnam. It helped find nformation on the culture and restaurants and things to see.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having a map with the localisation of airports and distance from it would be grate.
Well devided, easy to consult.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
We are useing this book to prepair for our upcomming trip to S-E Asia. Lonely Planet is always a good choice for travel in new places.
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By raflanguay on March 7 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'd give 4.8/5 !
everything was perfect except a very slight damage on the front cover corner ... very minimal ...
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 87 reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Don't bother with Kindle version Jan. 8 2013
By Philip W - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
I am sure that the print version is great as usual, but the Kindle edition is quite poor:

- the table of contents is trivial (perhaps 10 items), which in an ebook of this size makes navigation almost impossible
- there is no index (I don't know if the print version has one)
- each city section has a set of links to sub-sections, but does not work well in the larger structure

Also, as someone else pointed out: what is Angkor Wat doing in this guide?

Overall, for a relatively modern, forward thinking publishing house appealing to a market that pretty much screams "eBook!", this is a very disappointing effort.
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Generally good all around guide March 28 2012
By Wayne - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Vietnam is a fast changing place. Since the time that they first opened up the country to visitors from the US, cities like Saigon have undergone so much construction that a guide book from just a few years ago is sure to be outdated. This one covers things from the old to the new. It's the result of about six months of research from people who visited the area, and covers a lot of ground.

The primary emphasis of any guide book should be to familiarize readers with the country, its regions, what parts to visit and what to expect there. This book does a good job of that, giving lots of details about everything from historical landmarks to beach resorts, and full color photos.

The book also gives you background about the country, its history, politics, and how things developed into what they are now. Understanding the background and culture is important for the enjoyment of any trip.

This book covers the major regions, cities, towns, and just about all the places that a tourist would be likely to go. It won't cover every little town, and in some cases, resort areas are covered well but the surrounding towns are hardly mentioned. If a place warrants a few paragraphs, it would not hurt to mention when it also has a world class resort rather than making sure to list 25 hotels in the city next to it.

On the other hand, there are far more places mentioned than a person could reasonably expect to cover in a several trips, and most hotels mentioned also have their websites or email address listed, making it easy to visit those, and visit travel websites for more specifics.

There's a lot of information on different ethnic groups, how different areas compare to each other, and even a crash course on the Vietnamese language and even a few phrases in some regional languages. It's tougher to cover a language like Vietnamese, and this book tends to emphasize northern pronunciations (it doesn't tell you that.) It also uses some phrases that should be worded differently depending on whether you are talking to a man or woman, somebody older or younger, etc. but it doesn't tell you that part either.

Nevertheless, you should have no problem getting around Vietnam when using this book as a starting point. You'll want to use it to research your trip, and use it as a hands on guide once you get to Vietnam. I've been to Vietnam four times in the last 15 years or so, and would have found this book very helpful. It doesn't cover every place I've been, but points out a lot of places I missed.
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Very good guide! March 26 2012
By Foxx - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I believe the fellow from the other post missed the fact that Lonely Planet's Travel Guides are not written by a sole author, but rather by a team of several people.

This information easily undoes the math according to which it is not possible to go (or gather information) on all the places indicated in the Guide.

That being said, the Vietnam, together with the Myanmar, Cambodia and Korea Guides, was my first experience in travelling with Lonely Planet and, in the end, I was quite satisfed with it.

LP's guides contain a lot of interesting historical information and have very nice hotel and restaurant hints.

Bear in mind, however, that the publisher is much more interested in lower income countries and less expensive options.

Therefore, while the Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam guides were amazing, the Korea one was very disappointing. Furthermore, LP guides lack information on most luxurious tourism options.

If that is your intention, you should go to Frommer's (that, for instance, has a much better Korea guide.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Perfect for planning a Vietnam itinerary June 7 2012
By Kcorn - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Lonely Planet Guides are usually quite informative and the newest Vietnam guide is no exception. Updated info and new sections make this one worth purchasing even if you have earlier editions. Everything I'd expect to find is here - pull-out maps, lists of hotels, planning tools, restaurants, bars, tourist attractions as well as areas worth visiting which are off the beaten track. But it is the unique details that keep Lonely Planet's Vietnam guide from being generic and bland. Want to take classes at a cooking school and learn to prepare exotic specialties? Or perhaps you want to visit a historic old home while passing through Hoi An in Central Vietnam (a bonus is that this attraction is free).

I particularly appreciate the icons which let readers know of green options, top recommendations, and places where no payment is required. These icons are easy to see and in boxes next to the title of each attraction, although I think they'd be more noticeable if they were in red print...maybe in the next edition. But this is a minor point considering the strengths of this book and the fact that those on budgets can find plenty of places that won't cost a cent.

When approaching any travel guide it helps to realize that it is nearly impossible to include the latest information for all hotels,etc. There will always be changes from the time the a guide is published to the present. But Lonely Planet's Vietnam volume contains the basic cultural and other information to keep a traveler in the know and ready to find new adventures along the way.

Safety is also a major focus, particularly helpful to wary or anxious travelers. They'll find reassuring tips here.

Examples: How to avoid hotel nightmares, disreputable taxi drivers, pushy tour guides, and more. Cultural differences include the long lunch hours (many businesses routinely shut down between 11:30 am and 2 pm). Travelers with disabilities need to find a good travel agency rather than assuming that there will automatically be accommodations such as ramps for wheelchairs.

A major benefit of this and other Lonely Planet guidebooks includes the inside information from a wealth of sources, including at least 600 writers and other staff (as noted at the back of the book). As is typical of new editions, this one has an updated look and information. There are full-color photos in the chapter on Vietnam's 20 top experiences, fascinating to view and vivid enough to have potential visitors excited about a visit to this unique part of the world. Other full-color section cover the hill tribes of Vietnam as well as distinctive architectural buildings and temples.

History is also not ignored and Lonely Planet writers don't gloss over the hard realities of either the past or present events in Vietnam - from current conflicts, large and small, with China (Lonely Planet travelers entering China from Vietnam may have their guidebooks confiscated) to the American War in Vietnam. If you need a refresher course or more there is enough information here to meet your needs, although you may want to do some follow- up research.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
On the Perfume River Feb. 19 2013
By Owl - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Who could resist reading about a land where the Perfume River flows, where you can even stay in rooms ranging from budget to more luxe right on the Perfume River? Or almost any hour of the night or day you can have a bap, a crusty French roll bursting with flavor, filled with julienne veggies and perhaps some pate? Or where you could spend weeks exploring the almost-Atlantis world of the Mekong Delta? And all this at prices many of us had not thought to see again in this life.

We are told, for example, that in Nha Trang, one can stay in "well-appointed rooms" in a French-managed hotel that has an "inviting roof-top restaurant" and a ice-cream bar at the reception area, for US $22-32 (Ha Van Hotel). Too pricey? Not pricey/luxe enough? The authors of this Vietnam Country Travel Guide suggest 25 other options, including those in the US $10 range.

This kind of detail distinguishes the Lonely Planet Vietnam Guide from others I have seen: depth of information. Other guides may list five places or so to stay, to eat, attractions to see, and so on. This Guide, one feels, was intended to be exhaustive and comprehensive in most cases: just about all available rooms, eateries adventures that meet the L-P's admirable standards of safety, cleanliness, comfort, and reasonable convenience.

As an aid to deciding whether or not to go at all, and for planning a trip, such detail can be worth flossier pictures or more history. The reasons to go are well & charmingly told but the downsides are not neglected. That's what I have found consistently true for L-P Guides and it is wholly so in this book

For example, one must be wary of kamikaze mosquitoes and kamikaze motorcyle drivers, tolerant of rough roads, and mindful of the horrific consequences such as landmines from the American War. The difficulties of connections and finding places to stay in the villages of the Mekong, the risks of malaria, the extensive need for vaccinations and health insurance, and other hazards are vividly discussed.

Thus, readers will have been enticed by the pleasures, challenged by the hiking and ocean adventures, and warned well of the hazards through this Lonely Planet "Vietnam: Country Travel Guide".

As a book, it is well-illustrated. It covers almost every hamlet, village, and city, dwelling splendidly on Hoi An and the lovely central area. It gives just about all the details one could hope for and then some in the historic and cultural discussions of the attractions in each area. This is, I think, the go-to Guide to Vietnam, particularly if you planning a sail on that Perfume River. The paper seems a bit flimsy but not enough to be a major points-off.

A slightly controversial aspect is inclusion of detailed information on crossing the border to Laos and Cambodia, including a lot about Angkor Wat and Siem Riep. I have been there (as I have not in Vietnam) and can attest to the "what you read about here is what you'll experience" value of this Guidebook. Given the long border and the opportunity to visit Angkor Wat, the addition of this material is a plus. You don't need to buy two guidebooks---this will do it----and the border crossing how tos (and how nots) is where it should be.

Haven't decided yet whether to head to Vietnam this year but my copy is already dog-eared, marked, and quite a few of the hotels checked out!

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