Thailand Guidebook Question
Replies: 23 - Last Post: Oct 17, 2012 4:39 AM Last Post By: bigal1
Oct 9, 2012 11:52 PM
Thailand Guidebook QuestionHi,
I can't stand the new Lonely Planet format for guidebooks: the maps are terrible, and I think the focus is more and more on lazy travel, and less and less on intrepid, independent travel. I was in China recently and always used the older version of the Lonely Planet there. There were some issues: prices had risen considerably, many new hotels had sprang up (and old ones had disappeared), but I still found the old format (and maps) to be more useful than the newer information in the newer book.
Anyway, I'm going to head to Thailand soon and would like to get a guidebook. Does anyone think I'll have a problem using the older (I think it's 2009) Thailand Lonely Planet rather than the newer (2012) edition? Has Thailand changed considerably in the past couple of years, or is the newer guidebook perhaps still something you'd recommend?
Alternatively, can you suggest any other guidebooks for Thailand? The only alternative I've been able to find (I'm in Laos at the moment) so far is the Guide de Routard, and I can't say I think particularly highly of them, though I've never actually traveled with one of their guidebooks...
Oct 10, 2012 12:06 AM
1In some respects, the guides are out of date before they hit the shops. Hotels and cafes close down and new ones open, prices rise, bus fares change - but they haven't moved Kanchanaburi or the Chao Phraya, and the temples are still where they always were!
That's why they're called Guides - use with caution!
Oct 10, 2012 12:53 AM
2Guide books are always out of date - especially with prices, given publishing times, and inflation. Anyway ... guide books are dinosaurs really in this day and age of Internet. I quit using them years ago. Get a laptop, and a smart phone. Your phone will (unless its a new iPhone ;) have Google Maps on it ... those maps are bang on. Little flashing dot ... tells you where you are, etc. Trip Advisor and the like for Hotel reviews, restaurant reviews, Things to do ... etc ... it's all on the Internet.
SIM cards with data packages are SO cheap in Thailand ... Ditch the book, embrace the technology.
Oct 10, 2012 1:07 AM
Oct 10, 2012 1:44 AM
4And then there is always Wiki Travel ... chock full of the backgrounds, etc ... http://wikitravel.org/en/Main_Page
Oct 10, 2012 1:56 AM
Oct 10, 2012 2:34 AM
Oct 10, 2012 2:55 AM
7I have a Lonely Planet 1990 , then i also have a 2001 issue and a 1992 issue of South East Asia on a shoe string ..
I find that the 1992 issue of South East Asia on a Shoe string is still fine for things like directions to Train stations and Bus Stations in most Countries in South East Asia ..
As for capital City's i will normally go to a Tourist information Office and get a map of their local ( MTS ) Mass Transportation System and use that ..
But i find that with a mix of my old guide books and the online information i get by just fine ...
Oct 10, 2012 3:05 AM
8LP are moving their guide books up market this means they are not including many of the cheaper hotels - I would have no problem using an older version but worth checking the new one for any new "gems" and especialy check for new bus stations as that can really throw you when you arrive and have no idea where you are in relation to the town
Also check the travelfish site. Yes prices will change but cheap will still be cheap and expensive will still be expensive
Oct 10, 2012 5:20 AM
9If you want to travel intrepidly, just throw out the guidebook. Buy a map of Thailand, find a good source for bus and train routes, then go online and read about some destinations and see what you like... or just pick a place on the map and go. Figure out accommodation when you get there and have an adventure.
It's not very independent if you are relying on a guidebook or the internet to help you figure everything out.
Oct 10, 2012 5:45 AM
Oct 10, 2012 7:35 AM
11We have used various Lonely Planet books for the past 15 years for travel in SE Asia.
We do not like the new format of the latest Lonely Planet Thailand at all and will look for a different guide.
We use it mostly for planning routes and never for accomodation as when a facility becomes listed in Lonely Planet most often the service goes down, the price goes up and you are travelling with the crowd from somewhere else instead of locals.
Oct 10, 2012 7:39 AM
12I search info online more than anything.
"can't stand the new Lonely Planet format for guidebooks:"
Use online info or try another guidebook. Many other books on the market. You can also buy very good maps in Thailand which have lots of attractions listed and hotels. Even the budget car website has detailed maps and ideas for travel - check out their website. You can print out copies.
LP guidebooks are mainly for novices on their 1st or 2nd trip. Beyond that they aren't much use at all.
Oct 10, 2012 7:46 AM
Oct 11, 2012 1:06 AM
14LP new format stinks.
Former LP writer has a decent publication.
Ko ChangBook now
(3 star Hotel)
From US$51.49 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$57.24 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$69.43 per night