Southeast Asia forum

Best guide book?

  • chicoelnino

    Click here to learn more about chicoelnino
    Joined Travelfish
    17th September, 2010
    Posts: 66

    Looking to pick up a good guide book about travel in SE Asia. Any recommendations on which one to get?

    Lonely planet I presume?

    #1 Posted: 18/9/2010 - 21:22

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  • busylizzy

    Joined Travelfish
    31st December, 2007
    Location New Zealand
    Posts: 2155
    Total reviews: 20
    Places visited:
    At least 107

    Travelfish, actually.

    If you have a iPhone or iTouch - check out here:
    (Full list of apps available so far is found in the box at the top of this page that says 'Buy a travelfish guide)

    If you don't have an iGadget, then get the PDF format eGuides here: Normally, TF charge for these, but they are currently free as they are no longer being updated in the current format (Some are dated 2009 so not so old). TF are putting out new version of the guides soon with the release of the redesigned website. Meanwhile, I 'd recommend these - I found them consistently more reliable than Lonely Planet, esp for accom reviews.. Personally, I like to print them out, then just toss out pages as I go (or leave them in a guest house somewhere).

    The TF guides don't cover all areas, but you can download 'eFish guides' in the Member Centre area for many other areas (follow the link at the very top). Scroll down until you find e-Fish section, then you can select the area and format that you required. These aren't as 'pretty' as the eGuides (no maps, pictures, etc) but the information is excellent.

    To clarify: The simplified eFish guides are always free; the prettier eGuides are normally chargeable, but free at the moment.

    I use a Lonely Planet book for areas not covered by TF (eg Indonesia).

    #2 Posted: 19/9/2010 - 03:57

  • chicoelnino

    Click here to learn more about chicoelnino
    Joined Travelfish
    17th September, 2010
    Posts: 66

    Thanks very much for the info. I'll download these and go from there. Have an iphone so will look up those apps as well!

    #3 Posted: 19/9/2010 - 04:33

  • idreamofdur-

    TF writer
    Click here to learn more about idreamofdurian
    Joined Travelfish
    5th September, 2008
    Location Singapore
    Posts: 576
    Total reviews: 4

    Though I'm a big Travelfish fan too, I've got to say that Lonely Planet's Southeast Asia on a Shoestring is *fabulous* for inspiration / pre-trip planning.

    However, it's such a huge, heavy book that it's more of a burden than a boon when you're on the road plus it includes a bunch of countries most people skip. That said, maybe check your local library for it.

    #4 Posted: 20/9/2010 - 00:56

  • Indoluso

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd December, 2009
    Posts: 133

    I prefer Rough Guide than Lonely Planet, but working as a complement to Travelfish. Especially regarding places to eat, Travelfish is the best, I was never disappointed with their suggestions! (Nola Cafe in Hanoi, great great place!!)

    #5 Posted: 20/9/2010 - 21:15

  • exacto

    Joined Travelfish
    12th February, 2006
    Location United States
    Posts: 2581
    Total reviews: 47
    Places visited:
    At least 98

    I use Travelfish when I'm on the road too because it is more current than other options and because of how we all interact to share ideas and information here. That, combined with feedback and suggestions from other travellers I encounter on the road is usually enough for me. The only downside of Travelfish is for those few times when something doesn't work out as planned (guesthouse full, etc.), and I haven't taken good notes, it can be a pain to find internet to check back on what I've read.

    I agree with the suggestion above about using guidebooks as well as TF to plan out trips. Plus, guidebooks have great maps and other types of info like telephone numbers, addresses, and opening/closing times that typically don't change much, which are handy to have at your fingertips. They can also make good reading about culture, language, etc. Find an older copy of a guidebook at a booksale or online or something like that and donate it to a guesthouse lending library or to a fellow traveller towards the end of your time in that country.

    As an example of why TF is such a great resource, here is their write up of the Cafe Nola in Hanoi as recommended by Indoluso. Sounds awesome. It says:

    Cafe Nola on Ma May is one of the best cafes in Hanoi, and it has a small but delicious menu that includes jambalaya, goat cheese salad and an eclectic mix of dishes and drinks -- it's one of the few places that proudly serves oatmeal. But really, come here for the atmosphere which is one of the best and most unique on the Hanoi cafe scene, tastefully furnished in a mostly old-time style. There's a piano here for guests to play if they like, and the top floors are decorated with a whimsical canopy of colourful umbrellas. It's a good place to get out your laptop and hang around all day.

    #6 Posted: 21/9/2010 - 09:37

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