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on March 24, 2004
I was really disappointed with the newest Thailand edition to the Lonely Planet series. This is a huge volume and is more a history lesson then a guidebook. Learning the history of your destination is great but that information is not necessary when carrying around a guide to find a place to eat. Many of the authors' recommendations are already outdated. The price ranges for places to eat or sleep are not accurate or sometimes not given at all. My main problem is the way this guide links the map to the text. In order to find out where a place is located, you must refer to several different pages when reading the map. Why can't the description of a restaurant also tell the map page and grid point without having to look on a separate index? Poorly designed and not easy to use when on the go. Keep this one on your bookshelf and take a smaller guidebook when traveling. I recommend the Time Out series as my favorite.
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on March 8, 2004
I enjoy writing, but this crummy book isn't even worth the effort. I noticed that removed the 9th edition book, and all the reviews that went with it, possibly to try to help Lonely Planet, which is truly a faint and sad shadow of it's former, ancient (1980's) self.
This book just repeats the same old info and "who cares?" attitude of the 9th edition.
What the heck ever happened to LP I don't know, but they have changed from an inspired company to a cynical company that appears to not care about anything much anymore.
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on December 20, 2003
I live and work in Bangkok, and when travelling to other parts of Thailand on holiday I always take along the Lonely Planet guide. I've tried Rough, Footprint and a few other lesser known publications, but LP tends to more informative, and considerably more accurate, in fact more so than all the others combined.
Another thing, I've been buying each new edition of the LP guide since the early 90s, and can't understand the amazon user reviews dated 1999 or 2002, etc, that identify this guide as the work of Joe Cummings alone. Since the late 90s it has been a team project (with Steven Martin initially, currently with a total of four authors), as any look at the title page or About the Authors page will reveal. So if you don't like the tone, blame the whole team (or more importantly the LP editors, who no doubt play a large role in determining how this book reads), not Cummings!
One thing I did notice about the 2003 edition is that it is considerably shorter than the last couple of editions. Gone are some of the more interesting out-of-the-way destinations in the various regions. I suppose LP felt it had to cut down on the size and weight but I would personally rather see them return to a more comprehensive scope.
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on October 26, 2003
What a vast book. But what lack of discernment.
We were directed to a whorehouse insetad of a nightclub, a number of cockroach and mould infested dives instead of 'clean' (a ubiquitous adjective in this book) budget hotels.
We also fell victimn to Joe Cummings's apparent hidden commercial agenda - he seems to want to appeal to all tourist tastes, dishing out very dubious information on the Thai sex industry, assuring us that it is no worse than the U.S or India whilst directing us to traditional massage places in Bangkok offering far more than massages. He also tries to make out that Pattaya is not merely a sex resort.
Worst of all is the tone. Much of the information is communicated in a pompous style that says as much about the author's high opinion of himself as it does about Thailand.
After a number of disappointments we have now switched to more considered guide book series from Cadogan or Footprint.
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on November 11, 2003
I was disappointed with this Lonely Planet book. I bought this guidebook because it was the most up-to-date. In general, I found the descriptions of hostels and hotels and restaurants to be so skimpy as to be completely unhelpful to the reader. The descriptions of the sights was less skimpy but still unsatisfying. I also brought along a Rough Guides guidebook. While it was a few years older than Lonely Planet, its descriptions were far superior. Buy the Rough Guides instead of the Lonely Planet.
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on November 13, 2003
I just returned from 2 weeks in Samui/Ko Tao and a few days in Bangkok, both my first visits to Thailand. I've used many different Lonely Planet books before and bought the latest Thailand edition at Amazon two weeks before I went. I thought this edition was particularly good, well researched and also very accurate about local culture, what to see, and most importantly, how to get away from the common touristy stuff. The maps were accurate, and most of the descriptions about entertainment and lodging were right on the money. I wouldn't bother with the "Where to Eat" sections, it's more fun to just fine your own and in Thailand you can eat well for very cheap. The suggestions about adventure sports were very well written, in particular for Ko Tao and Samui. The language section was quite helpful as not only did it give translations I actually learned to use, but also provided the text in Thai, which was very handy.
I thoroughly enjoyed my trip and using this edition. Highly recommended.
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on September 30, 2003
(By Edward Trimnell, author of "Why You Need a Foreign Language & How to Learn One," ISBN:1591133343)
Thailand is a complex country that most Westerners don't know much about. This book gives the neophyte to the Thai scene almost everything that he or she will need for a vacation or business trip. There is a wealth of information about Thai culture, and the rules of etiquette that seem counterintuitive from an American perspective.
Getting around in Thailand can be difficult, and sometimes dangerous. The authors have included detailed maps, and information about where to go depending on your tastes in accommodations. The language notes will also be helpful to those who aspire to proficiency in Thai.
This is a book that you will enjoy reading before, during, and after your trip. I recommend it heartily.
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