I used to use Nelles for Thailand and I noticed Ms WSC posted good things about one a fellow traveler had which named the village she'd visited, which wasn't listed elsewhere. At some point before next winter I'll probaly get thier new Vietnam/Laos/Cambodia one.
I used to use a Hildebrand for China which was much better than any of the province specific maps I could get, but I don't think they make one for SEAsia.
I like shading for contour, relative town size, river size, road,etc. Good map can be better than a guide, in that it shows a lot of towns not covered in the guide. Some parts of maps can be very wrong too. Like where every one shows a road Vieng Phouka to Long. (where you walked)
I think i am coming round to that view also; there were numerous times when all i really needed was a good map and not a guidebook.
Your first paragraph has confused me a little; was it a Nelles map that WSC mentioned? or another?
Yes you'd be fairly disappointed if you got on that road expect it to be vehicle worthy! we were all fairly amazed when this village guy managed to get his motorbike to our next stop. This involved crossing various obstacles that we struggled with on foot, letalone getting a scooter past...
here's her post
She's been blogging a lot, and she's either been coaxing some better photos out of her point and shoot or bought a new camera. Some real nice shots of Pakbeng here.
Fun text too.
Off on a tangent, I like reading blogs. Like maps for that matter. I like guidebooks if they are opinionated and give info I wouldn't get otherwise. No need for guest house, restaurant reviews, they're old before things go into print, and I can get a room/eat already.
I've actually read/seen both those posts just recently, i must have just skipped over the good map reference. Good blogging by the cat, as always.
I've found the Nelles Vietnam/Laos/Cambodia map. I think that will be on the list of purchases before i head off to pastures new
to clarify, recent posts are still material from Dec 2006 trip. just v far behind in writing (still 2007, 2008 & 2009 trips to go!). so the Nelles map of Laos mentioned in that post was the edition available back then.
it showed an inland village in an almost totally road-less district where a bunch of Lao friends come from, plus villages along the Mekong that the upriver slowboat stopped at to let locals on/off. couldn't find these on other maps, not even GT Rider (prob cos these villages have zero road access). since then, 'gold standard' for maps of Laos & Thailand = correct location of friends' villages.
not checked Nelles in terms of accuracy for roads though, only GT Rider. GT Rider shows roads that actually exist (though not exhaustive), & classifies them (e.g. dry season only), so great for those exploring with own wheels. think they'll prob be the first to reflect new roads like Pha Oudom-Pak Beng.
not found a good brand that covers entire SEAsia. for Thailand i like bilingual maps, easy to point & ask locals who can't read English for directions/correct bus (deciphering written Thai is a chore!).
Chiangrai province: rely on bilingual PN map. company website only in Thai (www.pnmap.com) but just click around. you'll find their maps in local bookstores. has contour shading, names of major intersections (useful thing in urban Thailand) & many landmarks that have been v useful in figuring out when to get off from buses 'in the middle of nowhere'.
Bangkok: Thinknet Bangkok City Atlas. bilingual, & detailed enough for me to track down old neighbourhoods from faded childhood memories. use it for exploring BKK by foot & hunting for specific food places, even has those walking paths along the smaller canals in the Rattanakosin area.
somsai: photos in recent posts still from old 3.2 mpix camera. new camera still a point & shoot, anythg more complex is beyond me. more impt is hardiness (no worries abt lending it to locals cos i like to see the photos they take from their point of view, or taking photos in rain & on super dusty roads) & size (tiny like mobile phone = less 'in your face', better for interaction with people).
thanks both for reading.