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Lonely Planet Vietnam (Travel Guide) Paperback – February 1, 2012
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1. search function is brain dead. Look up "Hanoi" and get hundreds of the occurrences of the word, most of them irrelevant. Good luck finding a section on Hanoi this way.
2. table of contents is worthless. Hidden behind pages of slow loading pictures, and uninformative.
3. off line maps require internet connection! Perhaps there is a way to preload them somehow...
4. Many words that should be clickable are not.
5. Index? have not found it yet...
My biggest qualm with this book is the electronic format. I found the search function to be difficult, the TOC incomplete and many of the internal hyper-links in the book referenced me to "non intuitive" locations (ie: clicking on the recommended restaurant in the "city in one day" feature returned me to the city map. I would have through it would have taken me to the restaurant overview).
I found it very hard to "flip" through this book and quickly find what I was looking for unless I specifically knew the name of the site/hotel/restaurant.
The language section looked like it had been scanned in and was not ORC'ed. I could not zoom in enough to tell the difference on some of the accent marks. (Not that we could articulate the tones anyway!) FYI -- Electronic reader was the Google nexus with Kindle app.
This is the first and last electronic travel guide I will purchase.
A better choice would be the hard cover Fodor's or Frommers.
We give this guide 4 stars instead of 5 because of our experience on Vietnam Railways. The guide simply says the system is old but reliable and that is VERY misleading. We traveled from Danang to Hue on the train and it was horrible. The trains are relics, the seating is uncomfortable, and the rail cars are filthy inside and out. While it is very cheap, its likely going to be unpalatable for the average traveler. The guide needs to be way more transparent about this method of travel and give alternatives like hiring a car or taking a taxi; you get to see the same wonderful scenery in a more pleasant and comfortable way.
As far as converting currency, we found that you get a slightly higher rate when you convert larger denominations of USD. Hotel rates seem to be the same as bank rates. We downloaded a currency conversion app and found it extremely useful throughout the trip.
Will definitely buy the Lonely Planet for our next trip.
I thought it's somewhat unorganized. Starts to talk about A, then moves on to B, then it's A again etc. They also should tell you WHERE to buy the tickets for bus, train etc. That's an issue in Vietnam and you might get ripped
off. Should have listed trustworthy places or simply said it's ok to buy it at the train station or something like that.
It also does not talk about any nightlife.
Could be a lot better.