In the past 2 years I have been on the road for over 1 year. Most recently returning from a 7 month trip which included Australia, Thailand, Indonesia, Japan, India, Nepal, UAE, and Qatar among others.
I used this guide as a general planning tool. Such as correlating the maps with the weather charts provided. As well as utilizing the helpful regional travel tips and anecdotes provided. One of them I read while in India gave me a good laugh and perspective when I needed it most! Every region has its own idiosyncracies - once mastered or "internalized," travel only gets easier - it is nice to have alot of them described in one place.
While certainly not a detailed guide (No specific lodging, food, or city maps) it provided me just the right level of information to help me determine where I wanted to go, how to get to and from those points (quick border info) and roughly how much time I wanted to spend there via the sample itineraries. The maps are colorful and excellent, they include different colors showing the sample itineraries which are based on trips of different time lengths (1 week, 2 weeks, 1 month, etc...) and little flags indicating land border checkpoints. Paper quality is also nice and glossy.
I will return to this region again. Next time I will travel with few if any pre-bought air tickets (I was on a One World world trip ticket). This guide should be even more useful then. I generally don't like the huge regional guides (Like Shoestring), instead opting for specific country guidebooks. (Although I will note that Southeast Asia by Mark Elliott for Trailblazer Publications is an excellent guidebook using a very innovative map system instead of text)
While I used specific guidebooks for most of these countries (Not all LP I'll add), as a "1 stop shop/read" in a compact format the LP RTF series is unbeatable in my opinion. Like taking it to a cafe to high level plan the next few weeks of travel! Also using it before one might have the opportunity to buy a guidebook for the next country (Especially applicable for longer term travelers).
Another useful feature of the book is the chart showing all the countries listed in the region and whether a visa is required (For US, UK, Aus citizens) and the length of stay allowed.
For the real adventurous this might be the only guide one needs to BRING TO the region. Confidence in travelling "lite and harder" and/or picking up guidebooks / tourist pamphlets / searching out internet sites on the way would be recommended.
Great book, if used the right way. If you are only planning on going to a single country, then I wouldn't bother with this book. But, if you are planning a multi-country trip (And don't care for the big, thick, small print regional guides), or just need a better idea of where to spend your time in the region - this could be a book for you. Useful as a pre-trip planner that stays at home when you leave, or used during a long multi-month trip.