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on October 8, 2012
I'm normally a great fan of the Lonely Planet guides -- I even check out random ones from the library for fun for armchair travel -- but this one is very disappointing. The contrast is especially great with the earlier (2001?) edition of the South India guide, which was excellent. I used the earlier edition a lot when traveling in South India. It was useful, well-written, and informative. I even had a nice chat with a local on a train who pointed out that he had the book also, and that it was his 'bible' for regional travel information!. I purchased this edition to have more up-to-date information for an upcoming trip. It's much thinner, has far less description of sights and transit (adding lots of restaurant listings instead), and is written in a superficial tone (as others have commented). Even the title is annoying -- "South India and Kerala" is as nonsensical as "Southern California and Los Angeles" -- Kerala is *in* South India. South India deserves (and used to have) a far better book than this one.
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on March 5, 2012
I just got back from India, and used this guide to travel to several cities in the south. The information seemed a bit outdated, especially pricing for autorickshaw rides and hotel fares, which was in most cases higher than listed in the guide. But the contact and sightseeing information was great!
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on January 5, 2012
LP has been my favorite travel companion for many years. This was the first book that truly disappointed me. Especially poor were the descriptions of the hotels. This is a very recent book - i expected much, more more.
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on October 16, 2013
I only used the Kerala section. I thought the book was quite uninformative and the maps were too small to be useful. The Rough Guide's Kerala book is MUCH MUCH better: lots more information, better maps. There is no reason to get this book.
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on June 24, 2012
I'm what's known in the biz as a saipa, but have been spending long stretches of time in Kerala and Tamil Nadu since I was a young child in the early 1980s. I've watched from afar as South India has been transformed into a major notch on the India tourism belt. Returning this summer after a long absence, I downloaded these two chapters as a helpful reference for transportation and other basic info on my travels. While Lonely Planet is always the best option for finding a train station or post office (hence the two stars), I was disgusted by the condescending and self-important tone of the writing in this edition.

The Kerala chapter starts by noting that the State is "emerging as one of India's most popular new tourist hot spots. So, thanks for coming, and congratulations on being a part of the solution." Yes, rich Western tourists really need a pat on the back for taking a vacation. I'm not anti-tourism by any stretch, but let's not imagine that we're making Kerala a better place merely by our sainted presence. In fact, the author is soon acknowledging tourism's double-edged sword, bemoaning the fact that "in the high season you're likely to get caught in backwater-gridlock" on Kerala's inland waterways. Too bad for the Keralans who might need to use the waterways to eke out a living or to get from one place to another.

Writing about the Chinese fishing nets long used in and around Kochi, the chapter notes spectacularly that: "unfortunately, modern fishing techniques are making these labour-intensive methods less and less profitable." God forbid that poor fishermen make their lives slightly less difficult by adopting new technology! That would limit the number of identical tourist photographs that can be taken of the sun setting behind a web of giant nets.

Sadly for the author, the Tamil Nadu chapter tips his/her hand. A lavish hotel in Puducherry is described as "a restored colonial mansion with rooms that appeal to your inner pith-helmeted aristocrat." So yes, if recalling the halcyon days of British colonialism appeals to your unexamined white privilege, by all means, buy this book. Western tourists have been carrying this attitude around India for decades. What surprised me is that one of them was paid to write and publish these chapters. Trust me, all the train station and post office information you need is available for free on this thing that you're using right now called the internet.
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on January 1, 2013
Each person who is traveling to Kerala or dreaming of making the journey someday must own this book. I put it on my Kindle so I always may refer to anything at hand,for our trip and of course have/had hundreds of questions answered-great for grown children as well,on the plane for 24 hours,or on the ground.
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on June 5, 2013
I bought this book for my Kindle super excited to use for it's electronic cababilities. I have purchased Lonely Planet books before, but this was one had SO few images and pictures of the country, it was SOOOO disappointing! I was expecting even MORE pics than usual. And considering that this is a digital book, I was astonished that the map had no zoom capability. So the maps are all useless, because you can barely read anything. If purchasing the paperback, I would say decent. But by e-reader? Stay away!
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on October 18, 2012
I'm a bit disappointed as for the state of Kerala there is just one little paragraph on each town. Lots on eating and sleeping, but not as much on what to do or unique things to see.
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on March 12, 2013
although there was some good background info, it was very difficult to use in this format. definately need a hard copy. kindle format is wrong for any travel guide.
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on November 22, 2011
You cannot go wrong with Lonely Planet or Rough guide I bought this one because it was newer. I think Rough Guide has better maps. Rough Guide has a code system of circles to indicate price Lonely Planet published the range in numbers. But of course the prices either way are sometimes not accurate.
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