We've just added a book review for Lonely Planet's Vietnam 9th edition. If you're planning on going to Vietnam and are looking for a guide, despite some shortfalls, this is probably the best guide available.
You can read the full review of Vietnam 9 here.
If you've an opinion on the latest edition, please feel free to add it in here.
Given LPs history of serial inaccuracies - like the train between Lao Cai and KunMing that ran for 4 years, in LP, after a landslide knocked the line out - you will be just as well off as buying an earlier edition. Also forgetting the Philippines hotel they pimped for years after it was destroyed by fire!
As with any publication that promo's restaurants, the named selections will undoubtedly be overfilled and likely disappointing. I find it unbelievable to see people diligently seeking out recommended restaurants when ordinarily, in their home country, they would simply approach a restaurant and make a judgement on the spot.
Hoi An and Hue are filled with restaurants proclaiming they were 'featured' in LP - most are forgettable.
Granted, VietNam is a difficult country to write about as before even the notes have changed into draft much of the information is dated.
Maybe I'll grab a copy at trade and give it to the copy printer in HCMC so it will be available at a realistic price in VN.
The Roughguide is, IMHO, better (just released) and a proof copy of one to be released 2008 Q1 which I have read are better for Travellers.
#2 CatBa has been a member since 5/3/2007. Posts: 349
They're fair comments CatBa -- thanks. All guidebooks are out of date before they even go to the press -- but given they're all affected by that, it seemed a little unfair for me to call out LP in particular in that regard.
I'd say this is their best attempt yet -- but they have had 15 odd years and nine editions to try to get it right!
As I said in the review, the more serious issues -- unreadable maps, disjointed copy are not so much the fault of the authors as the style police who seem to be running the show there at the moment -- perhaps they should be sent out on a few trips so they can get a better idea of what a usable book needs.