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Lonely Planet Vietnam (5th ed) Paperback – April, 1999

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

From Antarctica to Zimbabwe, if you're going there chances are Lonely Planet has been there first. With a pithy and matter-of-fact writing style, these guides are guaranteed to calm the nerves of first-time world travelers, while still listing off-the-beaten-path finds sure to thrill even the most jaded globetrotters. Lonely Planet has been perfecting its guidebooks for nearly 30 years, and as a result has experience and know-how similar to an older sibling's "been there" advice. The original backpacker's bible, the LP series has recently widened its reach. While still giving insights for the low-budget traveler, the books now list a wide range of accommodations and itineraries for those with less time than money.

Lonely Planet offers a fully updated guide to the natural and cultural wonders of a country of sublime beauty. This book will help you discover Vietnam's pristine beaches, lush rainforests, best highland treks, as well as the colorful nightlife of Saigon. It also includes places to stay and eat for a wide range of budgets. Highlights include special sections on visiting hill tribes and language. --Kathryn True

Review

For reliable and authoritative travel information reach for your Lonely Planet guide-- The Times --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: 5th ed
  • Paperback: 568 pages
  • Publisher: Lonely Planet; 5th edition (April 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0864426380
  • ISBN-13: 978-0864426383
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 4.8 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,885,996 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Doug M on February 10, 2002
Format: Paperback
I spent this summer studying in Vietnam, and it became clear that the Vietnam in the LP is quite different than the real Vietnam I saw with my own eyes.
I think the book was intended for travelling businessmen who only plan on staying in Vietnam for a few days, and have plenty of money to spend for plush hotels. This is regrettable since there is so much more to Vietnam than tourist traps, tourist-oriented restaraunts, and hotels.
For example, in my first couple weeks in Hanoi, Vietnam, I followed the book's suggestions for restaraunts, only to realize they were severely overpriced, and not nearly as tasty (or exotic) as the more "local" restaraunts. Before long, I stopped going to the LP's preferred restaraunts altogether. Only when I stopped following the LP altogether did I really start to delve into Vietnamese culture, both the good and bad.
Also, the LP tends to whitewash the more unpleasant aspects of Vietnam, such as being harassed by people on the street, who are more than eager to rip you off, and the grueling poverty. If one really wants to appreciate Vietnam, these less pleasant factors have to be taken into account.
If you plan on just "visiting", but don't really plan on getting to know the culture, this book may be enough. However, to truly appreciate both the good and bad of Vietnam, I suggest avoiding this book, or at least not relying on it too much.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 24, 2001
Format: Paperback
I make regular trips to Vietnam and I've used both the Rough Guide and Lonely Planet. Having seen the two latest editions, page by page, Lonely Planet is, simply, better. LP provides far more detail, more maps (all of which are much more user friendly and accurate), is loaded with contemporary information (NGOs, motor-biking etc), has better photographs, good illustrations, and entertaining side-bars. The book introduces us to the personalities and characters who run guest houses, restaurants, bars, boutiques, and so forth, and it really makes you feel like a local. The "reader from France" seems to have a personal animus against the writers and Lonely Planet. But otherwise, what could be the problem? I found this guide well researched, consistently useful, and fun to read - that's what I want when I'm on the road.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 20, 1999
Format: Paperback
I travelled to Vietnam in Sept/99 and unfortunately was loaned this LP handbook so thought I would take advantage and use it. I was as usual disappointed with the type and presentation of the information provided. I grew tired of all the commentary in the book and so much so that it is difficult to select the facts. For example, instead of providing factual information on transport, hotels, etc., the book is filled with tidbits which are essentially useless for everyday travelling and end up being conversation between a bunch of backpackers in the travel cafe. This LP handbook has managed to dominate the minds of all travellers to Vietnam and, as in my case, I found everyone reading it and complaining, but they had no other option. I hope travellers to Vietnam can find some other guidebook so they do not follow the all to well beaten track through Vietnam as so many other backpackers do and perhaps may discover some things on their own.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 25, 1999
Format: Paperback
Vietnam is changing so quickly that it must be very difficult for the guide books to keep up. In general, Lonely Planet did a good job, but I often felt that they wasted precious space in an effort to be cute. Some of the little anecdotes were so dumb, and it is frustrating to think about what information they left out in order to print them. Also, the book was a little misleading about the tourist track in Vietnam. It is MUCH more difficult than the book says to get around on your own. You have to book practically everything through travel cafes. Also, EVERYONE uses the Lonely Planet guide, so everyone goes to the same places. I didn't look at the Rough Guide, but one by Ian Flemming looked very good. A little competition is needed because Lonely Planet is getting a monopoly on the tourist industry!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Doreen Bierbrier on December 21, 1999
Format: Paperback
I travelled to Vietnam earlier this year with this guidebook, having been very favorably impressed with the Lonely Planet Guides to China and Turkey. This time, though, I found that I couldn't trust the information given on places to eat or places to stay. Eateries that were given excellent reviews turned out to be mediocre; some hotels which were barely mentioned turned out to be excellent, while others that were given very good reviews were non-descript. I wound up trusting the advice of the xi-clo drivers rather than relying on the book.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By "freckled-girl" on February 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
This guide book is the best out there for anybody traveling to Vietnam. Most of the information was current except for some of the out of date information on Saigon(aka Ho Chi Minh). The Vietnamese are more relaxed about tourists then the book lets on. The format is also excellent because you don't have to read the book cover to cover to find what you are looking for. Skip some of the other guides because they are just not as detailed and easy to read when you are traveling.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Gerrit Ruitinga on September 23, 2000
Format: Paperback
I have recently been on my third trip to Vietnam. This time I visited Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi and did some excursions around both cities like Gu Chi tunnels and the Perfume Pagoda, close to Hanoi.
On the trip my companion and I used to LP guide mainly as a source of planning ( where to stay, how to get there, where to eat) etc. The value of the guide for doing this is excellent. People critisizing should not forget that generally they pay a fortune in flight cost and other things to come to the country and than expect a full comprehensive view of the $ 15 investment.
Vietnam, of course, is a country with a lot of history, not in the least of recent times and to really enjoy your trips you have to read one or two books on the subject. The LP guide is not meant for that.
For going around the guide is excellent. Information is accurate and pretty comprehensive ( of course, the country changes rapidly one should not forget. The getting around sections are good, although it should be emphasized that it is not as easy as it looks to travel by yourself. If I have one critizism it is that I feel that perhaps they should extend the food recommendations. There are many, many excellent restaurants and in those recommended you see, virtually literary, the crowd sitting reading their LP's.
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