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Vietnam (Lonely Planet Vietnam) Paperback – February, 2003
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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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was an excellent guide book for a 2 week trip to Vietnam (Ha Noi, Ha Long Bay & Na Trang).
The book offered good details that were still relevant regarding places to eat... Read more
Great idea for a book but it really isn't needed. You can find most tourist stops on the internet now...and most people speak enough English you can get around okay.Published on April 23, 2011 by Chef D
I just got back from a three week trip to Viet Nam, and would have been lost without my trusty LP guidebook. Read morePublished on August 12, 2002 by Greg Ford
I bought the Vietnam LP on advice from my roomate who never travels to a new place without one. The Vietnam LP soon became my bible in Vietnam, not to mention every other travelers... Read morePublished on July 27, 2002 by kerry petersen
LP Vietnam, as several others have mentioned, is misleading and out of date. But even worst, is that it tries to scare most travelers into following its suggested itinerary instead... Read morePublished on June 10, 2002 by Dag
I recently spent about 3 weeks in Vietnam. It was a great trip and I highly recommend visiting Vietnam to anyone who enjoys travelling in Asia. Read morePublished on August 11, 2001 by wutanglen
LP Vietnam is an O.K. book if you just want to know how to get around, basic accomodations, etc. There are some good information in the book, but not enough. Read morePublished on June 8, 2001 by saigonese
In comparision with the older versions of the Lonely Planet Vietnam guides, the latest one (April 2001), does not add much. Bit of a lazy job if you ask me. Read morePublished on April 10, 2001