Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Lonely Planet Central Asia (Travel Guide) Paperback – October 1, 2010

See all formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
"Please retry"
$24.30 $2.90

There is a newer edition of this item:


Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Series: Travel Guide
  • Paperback: 564 pages
  • Publisher: Lonely Planet; 5 edition (October 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1741791480
  • ISBN-13: 978-1741791488
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.5 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #636,305 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Bradley Mayhew was born in Sevenoaks, Kent in 1970 and currently lives in Yellowstone County, Montana. A degree in Oriental Studies (Chinese) at Oxford University kickstarted 20 years of independent travel in the remoter corners of Asia and a career writing guidebooks. With his classmate, he wrote the Odyssey Guide to Uzbekistan, the first guidebook to the country, in 1995. He has since written over 25 guides for Lonely Planet, specialising in Central Asia, Tibet, Bhutan, Nepal, China and Yellowstone National Park.

In the course of his research trips he's been arrested in the Tajikistan Pamirs, forced to make a self-criticism in Tibet, slept in a cupboard in Nicaragua and spent way too much time eating mutton kebabs across inner Asia. Bradley has also written for Insight guides and Rough Guides and has lectured on Central Asia to the Royal Geographical Society. He was recently seen retracing the route of Marco Polo for a five-hour German TV documentary (Arte/SWR), airing in 2011.

Follow his blog at www.bradleymayhew.blogspot.com.

Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By EricaKH on June 30, 2011
Format: Paperback
I have no doubt that Lonely Planet did excellent research when it comes to easily traversable, popular destinations in places Kazakhstan and possibly even Uzbekistan. A week in Turkmenistan, however, made it painfully obvious that it's writers did not take the time to actually visit the country about which they were writing. Or if they did visit, they were blessed with a local "fixer" who made their life simple and prevented problems. The bottom line is that the information contained on Turkmenistan is woefully inaccurate and / or outdated. For example, the 350 km drive between Ashgabat and Mary is advertised as taking 3.5 hours. Lonely Planet probably arrived at this by looking at the map, saying "Oh, that's a highway! Call it 100 km / hour and it should take 3.5 hours." The actual trip takes over 6 hours due to the poor quality of Turkmenistan's roads. We experienced the same frustration a second time while driving to the border with Uzbekistan from Mary when the "2.5 hour drive" turned out to be 4.5. Furthermore, of the 4 travel agencies listed in the 2007 edition, 3 are closed, and the lone survivor complained vociferously about Lonely Planet ignoring their pleas for accurate updates. Although not as egregious as the Turkmenistan section, the rest of the book is full of errors as well. Estimated prices and travel times are way off and local maps not only are poorly scaled, but often fail to show the city's main attractions, instead opting to provide the reader with a meaningless map of city streets. In the end, this book is best utilized as a source of background knowledge that can help you determine an itinerary and means of travel, but it is incapable of helping you plan down to the fine details. The bottom line is that Lonely Planet Central Asia fails to meet the high expectations of its brand name; it is best read before commencing travel, and then left at home.
3 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on June 15, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Lonely Planet Central Asia Guide is simply the best guidebook out there covering all of the five "Stans" making up the former Soviet republics. They even throw a section on Afghanistan in for good measure, though the authors acknowledge they did not actually travel to Afghanistan for researching the book - which is understandable. That said, this guidebook is pretty much the only one out there covering this little travelled region as a whole. It covers some of the major tourist destinations quite well - such as Almaty, Kazakhstan; Samarkand, Uzbekistan; and Bukhara, Uzbekistan. However, it does start to show some weaknesses when the traveler begins venturing from the major transportation centers.

One particularly glaring error is the amount of time the authors of the guidebook suggest it takes to travel in the region via automobile. For example, I had to travel from Bukhara to the border crossing with Tajikistan at Denau, which according to the guidebook would take 5 ½ hours. In reality, the road venture took more than 12 full hours to cover over sometimes very bad roads and through multiple police checkpoints. While this region is probably one of the more difficult to cover for travel guidebook writers, errors such as this makes you wonder how much of their recommendations they've actually experienced themselves.

Bottom line: if you are travelling to the region, you really must have this guidebook to accompany you. Virtually every single tourist we met in the region had their own copy of it. That said, considering where you are traveling, you need to accompany this guidebook with a lot of other work to really understand what you are doing. There are lots of good travel blogs to help you plan your trip, and even Tripadvisor has some good hotel and restaurant picks for Central Asia to consider beyond what Lonely Planet offers. Get the Lonely Planet guide, but plan of doing some reading and planning beyond what it has to offer.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By brh1976 on January 21, 2013
Format: Paperback
This is a review of the 2010 edition of the Central Asia LP, which has a picture of the Shrine of Hazrat Ali, in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan, on the cover. Many of the reviews for this book are from (much) older versions. Also note that the current version does not include the Xinjiang region in China, which some earlier editions did.

I used this guidebook in conjunction with the Silk Road (Insight Guides) guidebook (2013 edition: Silk Road (Insight Guides)). In my experience, these two books work well together, especially if your primary area of interest is in exploring the Silk Road (if you are interested mainly in mountaineering or hiking, then the Silk Road guide is obviously less useful): the Silk Road Guide is a far superior guide to actual attractions, and is the best resource for actually deciding what to see and where to spend your time; the LP is best for figuring out the nuts-and-bolts logistics of how to get to these places and where to stay, but is otherwise inconsistent.

The difference in quality is a little surprising, as Bradley Mayhew wrote the Silk Road guide and is also the coordinating author of the LP Central Asia guide being reviewed here. But perhaps it's not a surprise that the Silk Road guide, written entirely by Mr. Mayhew, shows much tighter editorial control and consistency, while the multi-author LP is much less coordinated and more inconsistent. This lack of consistency, combined with the typical LP style of over-hyping all attractions/destinations, makes it very difficult to use this Lonely Planet to chose between different destinations...
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?