This was an essential book to carry for a backpacking trip to Vietnam. The details were surprising still up to date, and generally the prices listed for places to stay and tours were accurate. Vietnam has become quite slick for travellers, so it's possible to travel without a book if you are short on space, but it was definitely nice to have a reference when talking to the "touts." Unfortunately, every traveller and their dog also uses this book, so late arrivals may mean difficulty finding a place to stay. In retrospect, there are really great online travel guides for SouthEast Asia that offer many more options for accomadation and I would highly recommend checking those out instead if looking for a bed! Otherwise, this book is complete and really helpful.
Just back from a month in Vietnam, found this guidebook excellent. Very useful, and at the same time entertaining and educational. A lot of extra work went into this over the years, the extra notes in the boxed sections are especially enlightening. Can tell the authors like the country but at the same time are aware of its foibles and have useful tips on how to deal with them.
Unfortunately this is less of a guidebook and more of an anti-American rant. Perhaps this is self-censorship to ensure Lonely Planet and its authors are welcome in Vietnam. If you can get past the insipid soap boxing of the authors, there is some good information to be gleaned. Unfortunately this book made me roll my eyes so often I got a headache. And I'm not even American.