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The Rough Guide to Vietnam 4 (Rough Guide Travel Guides) Paperback – December 22, 2003
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"The Rough Guide to Vietnam is strongly recommended" The Daily Telegraph
About the Author
Jan Dodd is co-author of the award-winning Rough Guide to Japan and has spent many years exploring this region since the late 1980's. In 1989 Mark Lewis spent the year teaching in Singapore, since then he has travelled throughout Southeast Asia and co-written the Rough Guide to Malaysia, Singapore & Brunei.
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Top Customer Reviews
The Rough Guide is the best guidebook around for the country. It is superior to the Lonely Planet guide in the breadth and depth of coverage and especially its accuracy. I liked LP for other countries but here they did a very poor job.
I have not found even one instance where Lonely Planet provided information that Rough did not have. If you are traveling to the north, you may want to consider reading Footprint before you leave -- it has some interesting information.
Also, all hotels -- even the top ones -- can be negotiated down in price. Send them an e-mail and ask for special rates, corporate rates, etc. You can stay at the Metropole in Hanoi for less than half their rack rate.
Rough Guide prints in an easy to follow manner; I like them as a travel guide more than their more popular competitor. They are also better in the sense that EVERYBODY seems to use their competitor's travel guides, so those recommended places are always full.
My primary issue with the book is that it gives little sense of relativity within the different topics. It speaks about $4 burger joints and $25 formal restaurants sequentially on a page and without going to them you would not know they are so vastly different. Everything is given a cursory overview. I'd prefer to know what places have better food, service, ambiance, relative pricing, etc. Prices are only mentioned on the pages regarding hotels. Once you are here, it feels like the writer just walked down a few streets in HCMC, wrote down names and addresses and a one sentence blurb from looking through the window.
I prefer a book that gives me a sense for places I don't want to miss and places I definitely should. If that is what you are looking for, this is not it.
The bad things about the book: 1. I believe the authors are Australian and some of the word choices were difficult for an American like me to understand. Some sentences were difficult for me to "translate" into American English. 2. The book states that there are no gay outlets in Vietnam. This is simply not true. There are several places (nightclubs and hotels) in Saigon and Hanoi that are gay tolerant/friendly. There are even gay tours of Vietnam. While it is best to be discreet in Vietnam, one can find ways to meet other gay travelers and locals.