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$42.34 list($23.25)
21. Sailing Through China
$19.79 $19.63 list($29.99)
22. Lonely Planet Central Asia (Lonely
$13.60 $13.09 list($20.00)
23. Moscow (Eyewitness Travel Guides)
$12.23 $11.48 list($17.99)
24. Lonely Planet Hong Kong &
$10.87 $9.56 list($15.99)
25. Suzy Gershman's Born to Shop Hong
$17.15 $17.14 list($25.99)
26. Lonely Planet Taiwan (Lonely Planet
$12.89 $12.68 list($18.95)
27. Japan by Rail: Includes Rail Route
$7.19 $5.16 list($7.99)
28. Lonely Planet Korean Phrasebook
$12.23 $11.81 list($17.99)
29. Lonely Planet Cambodia (Lonely
$14.25 $14.03 list($20.95)
30. The Rough Guide to Vietnam (Rough
$16.49 $16.44 list($24.99)
31. Lonely Planet Estonia Latvia &
$9.00 $3.95 list($12.00)
32. Iron and Silk (Vintage Departures)
$62.70 $57.00 list($95.00)
33. Angkor: Celestial Temples of the
$7.19 $4.95 list($7.99)
34. Lonely Planet Mandarin Phrasebook
$16.50 $16.42 list($25.00)
35. Dk Eyewitness Travel Guides Thailand
$10.46 $1.90 list($13.95)
36. Learning to Bow : Inside the Heart
$19.79 $19.43 list($29.99)
37. Lonely Planet Indonesia, Seventh
$18.87 list($29.95)
38. Afghanistan: Crosslines Essential
$19.11 $19.06 list($28.95)
39. China (Rough Guide China)
$13.60 $12.94 list($20.00)
40. Fodor's Moscow and St. Petersburg,

21. Sailing Through China
by Paul Theroux
list price: $23.25
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0395348366
Catlog: Book (1984-01-01)
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin (T)
Sales Rank: 182218
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Yangtze thru the eyes of millions
A funny account of one man's cruise down the Yangtze with a group of American millionaires... Insightful, biting humor.An accurate description of tour-isms. ... Read more


22. Lonely Planet Central Asia (Lonely Planet Central Asia)
by Bradley Mayhew, Paul Clammer, Michael Kohn
list price: $29.99
our price: $19.79
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1864502967
Catlog: Book (2004-07-01)
Publisher: Lonely Planet Publications
Sales Rank: 37781
Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Wander through history in Uzbekistan's Silk Road towns, taste the nomad's life in a Kyrgyz yurtstay, be astonished by the bizarre personality cult of Turkmenistan's president, experience cutting-edge adventure on Tajikistan's soaring peaks and lose yourself in the desertscapes of Kazakhstan.Surreal, fascinating and addictive - discover the 'stans with this insightful and comprehensive guide.

• GET THERE FIRST - brand-new coverage of Afghanistan, open to travellers for the first time in 25 years
• GET AROUND with the help of 80 detailed maps and thorough transport information
• WORK THE BUREAUCRACY like an old hand with our tips on getting visas, crossing borders and handling officials
• HANG WITH THE LOCALS - details on how to access the unique community based tourism network
• GET THE BACKGROUND on the region's intriguing history, politics and culture ... Read more

Reviews (5)

3-0 out of 5 stars a mixed bag
I found that the East Turkistan (Xinjiang) section of this book was much more helpful when I actually traveled there than the Cadogan "China: the Silk Routes" guide, which is much bigger and much lesse useful. For Uzbekistan, though, this book is useless compared to the Odyssey guide.
If you don't care to deeply know the history of the places you are visiting, then maybe this book is for you.

4-0 out of 5 stars Essential guide for anyone coming to Central Asia
Take it from an American expat living in Uzbekistan and traveling throughout the region - this is by far the best guide to any place in Central Asia. The authors do a great job of covering all the countries, and they have practical advice on necessary precautions. The general information about the area is solid. Every expat who lives here has a copy, and we all rely on it for advice on where to go and what to see. Also, the historical review is thorough without being tedious, and the practical information on things like climate and local customs is generally dead on.

Nevertheless, you can't rely on this book (or any other) for specifics like suggested hotels and restaurants or things like visa fees. These all change so frequently in the CAR that everything is out of date before it's hit the printers. Use this as a guide to the area, but don't rely on it for planning the details about where to stay and where to eat.

3-0 out of 5 stars Okay, but...
This is a decent overview of the area. I found, however, that when it came to actually visiting the areas mentioned, there was little for the traveler that wasn't easily obtained simply by DOING it rather than reading about it here.

4-0 out of 5 stars A warning guide.
As with all countries in the far east, one has to use a guide as simply a guide and not a bible. Lonely planet is great in giving travel warnings without preaching. This style leaves it with a laid back approach to traveling. Unfortunately in Central Asia where things do change often, where situations can be increadibly dangerouse or unbelievably gloriouse, no guide can stay so up to date. This guide is nessasary in Central Asia. There are few in between which can cover the scope which Lonely Planet Manages, however I can't stress any more how important it is to do research on all five-stan republics. Pay attention to travel stories, keep a positive additude and enjoy the wonderouse Rejistan, Karokarum and charming turk peoples. A deffinate and more concise version to the first, there is still less coverage on visas and dealing with officials then is needed for the westen traveler. And as usual there should be much great getting there and away information. Four Stars

5-0 out of 5 stars Truly a travel survival tool in this magnificent region
The first edition of Lonely Planet's Central Asia guide was not up to their usual standard. Its data and advice was incomplete and even wrong, but more than anything, it was out-of-date beforen it was published: things had changed a great deal in Central Asia, between 1991 when the countries became independent, and 1996 when the guide was published. But finally, this second recent edition of the book fully compensates for those lacks. Truly up-to-date, it offers all the advice, tips and information that travellers expect to get from Lonely Planet. And in this region, you'll need it ! Even if you speak Russian like myself, this is not an easy region to travel around. The people are nice and hospitable, the places are marvellous, but the first impact can be very negative and gloomy. It can be hard or impossible to get around - visas and other bureaucratic problems, flights and trains which may or may not run, hotels which may or may not exist... You won't know what to do or where to go, and once you do you may realize you should have done otherwise. With this guide, you won't be lost. It will truly be your companion during the whole journey, whether or not you are familiar with the region. And it will also provide excellent and very plesant reading with its sections on culture, history, politics, etc. Last but not least, this edition contains two new sections on Afghanistan and on China's Xinjiang province. Afghanistan will be hard to visit so far (but not impossible - ask me !), yet the information is invaluable and highly interesting. Xinjiang is a destination which, thanks to the information contained in this guidebook (and ONLY thanks to that information, which you won't find elsewhere !), you will be able to combine with your trip to the five former Soviet nations of Central Asia. Buy it now, and you will be on your way even sooner than you plan. ... Read more


23. Moscow (Eyewitness Travel Guides)
by Christopher Rice, Melanie Rice
list price: $20.00
our price: $13.60
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0789497263
Catlog: Book (2003-12)
Publisher: DK Publishing Inc
Sales Rank: 62612
Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Areas covered include: the Kremlin, Arbatskaya, Tverskaya, Red Square, Kitay Kirod, Zamoskvoreche, and sites jus beyond Moscow. ... Read more

Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars Pictures helped when you can't read russian!
Went to Moscow in December 2002 for 2 weeks for a funeral with my mother (I'm a hardened traveler in my 30s). I speak very little russian and read even less (i.e. none). I also took the Rough Guide book on Moscow. Didn't use the Rough guide after the 2nd day, stuck to the Eyewitness guide. Why? Because if you can't read russian your screwed - the cyrillic alphabet is like reading arabic; if you want to toodle around on the subway or walk the streets - nothing makes sense and it all looks the same. Pictures and maps (with the actual and phonetic spellings on them) are how you're going to make it work. Rough guide has no pictures - Eyewitness boatloads! I explored Moscow on my own - with no guide, no translator and no dictionary - only my eyewitness guide. I didn't get lost and I saw everything that I wanted to see. I didn't care that Eyewitness Moscow was published in 1998 - churches, museums and other places of interest do not move - prices change frequently anyway. It also cuts out a lot of the crap that other guides spend too much time on. This is a guide for seeing, doing and exploring. If you want a hotel guide, get a travel agent.

4-0 out of 5 stars Ideal for a short visit or for travel planning
If I was taking just one guide, 'Eyewitness Travel Guide to Moscow' would be my first choice. Although it is starting to age (published in 1998) it is a good visual and historic guide to Moscow, with enough color photographs to both inspire and guide you.

As other reviewers have noted, this book is ideal to use to review with a tour guide the sights and areas that you want to see because of its diagrams, pictures and suggested itineraries.

The history and art sections are reasonably good for a guide book.

The restaurant and hotel suggestions are a bit stale, and the pricing is out of date (although the range of pricing is still reasonably accurate).

5-0 out of 5 stars Just a Great Book
For background information I have travelled to Moscow (in a cold October) and I own 20 Eyewitness books. I confess up front. I love these books. I really like the Paris book, Rome, and the one for Prague, and Stockholm, and South Africa, and .... You get all the detailed material similar to other great travel books plus you get great visuals.

On a cold day back here in the USA (or Canada) or elsewhere, have a glass of wine and sit in a nice chair or in the garden on a warm day and read this book. For a moment you will be back in traveling. The photos are that good. These are the best all round travel books and are very good for cities.

As I said, the photos and descriptions and the cutaway drawings are excellent and more than make up for any lack of small detail. But there is lots of detail here. The book includes the history of the city and many details on the art, art galleries, parks, culture, historical figures, cutaway views of historical buildings, and many other things of interest. The history is summarized at the beginning of the book with historical time lines and cross referenced to the culture and political figures. A solid effort - lots of stuff to see and absorb.

It has the other things too such as maps, accommodations, transportation, and the rest.

You will be (very much) pleasantly surprised with the depth and quality of this book and it makes a nice souvenir to refresh your memory when you get home. Again just great colors and photos.

Jack in Toronto

4-0 out of 5 stars A good book, replaced by a newer edition.
Greetings,

This book has been replaced by a newer edition (published at a cheaper price!). Look up 0789497263. It is still a great guide for your journey of Discovering Russia.

4-0 out of 5 stars Extremely useful for getting around
I would like to second the other reviewers about the practicality of this guide. I've been to Moscow twice and know a little Russian. The maps and pictures in this book work really well. I was going to the Tretyakov art gallery for the first time. I came out of the metro stop found the well drawn landmarks and the street names and was able to find the gallery without taking a single wrong turn.

The other guidebooks have more scholarly information, but this one seems better for basic getting around. Although I highly recommend learning at least a little Russian; its not that hard. The Pimsleur method is my favorite for getting started on your own. You can learn the cyrillic alphabet very quickly. I also like the Rosetta Stone programs. Both of these are far more expensive than average - but their quality shows. ... Read more


24. Lonely Planet Hong Kong & Macau: City Guide (Lonely Planet Hong KongandMacau)
by Steve Fallon, Victoria Buntine, Phil Weymouth
list price: $17.99
our price: $12.23
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1740594487
Catlog: Book (2004-01-01)
Publisher: Lonely Planet Publications
Sales Rank: 10960
Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

52 Maps ... Read more

Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent Lonely Planet Guide
Steve Fallon is a perfect guide for walking tours, itinaries, transport (Octopus card), accomodation, eating and shopping in both ancient Western colonies.
He gives us also an excellent summary of their histories.
This guide has also a useful map section, although it was not possible to indicate all the street names.
With its wealth of practical, cultural and historical information, this guide is a necessary companion for all Hong Kong and Macau visitors. It served me every day during my stay in both Western enclaves. I found Hong Kong fascinating. I was there for the 2004 Film Festival which had an excellent program (especially the documentaries) and a perfect organization.
On the contrary, Macau was a big disappointment. It is still in shambles.

5-0 out of 5 stars Extremely Useful In Most Unexpected Ways!
I found this guide useful in all the usual practical ways (accomodation, eating, getting around, etc), and I visited the few tourist sites thanks to it, and I LOVED the hikes in the unspoilt New Territories countryside, but I have to say I was grateful for the way the guide alerted me to the unexpected side of Hong Kong - the huge, unruly, pushy-rude crowds, the unpleasant actions and attitudes of so many people, the frankly dreary-quality of much of the over-concreted urban areas (so different from Hong Kong's famous harbour setting, which only looks good from a ferry boat or a hilltop). The comments on why this all was so - the long, sad history of the Chinese refugee movement, pouring into Hong Kong when it was British, the subsequent (also sad) insecurity that resulted, helped me appreciate more the "effervesence" of the city which didn't seem so exhilherating after a few days, but, if anything, more fascinating.

It also led me to some fascinating books on the subject. I highly recommend Jan Morris's book Hong Kong, which gives great and moving detail on the whole refugee origins of modern Hong Kong and made me realise what an intense human story there lies behind the tourist bureau image of the place (there is much info on the interesting history on British days, too). The book also led me to some fascinating hill walks in the unspoilt north-east of the New Territories (Plover Cove - a world away from the jackhammers, noise and spitting).

Bo Yang's book The Ugly Chinaman gave me a Chinese account of where all this insecurity and unhappiness and rude behaviour comes from - the centuries of stagnation that went on inside China (he calls the process "the stagnat soy-vat barrel"), the insistance on imitating the past rather than looking forward - there's a lot more to China's story than Confucious and the poetry of Li Po, he insists (I thought Bo Yang's book much more helpful than the Culture Shock guide because it explains to western readers the Chinese actions that actually cause you culture shock; the Culture Shock books tend to just tell you to say "everything's great".)

Timothy Mo's novel, The Monkey King is a great read and a great description of many Hong Kong Chinese attitudes and actions I encountered on my trip - it centers around a fascinating, eccentric Chinese family living in 1950's Hong Kong but I was amazed at how much was still relevant.

Paul Theroux's novel, Kowloon Tong, set at the Handover, captures well the sleazy side of Hong Kong money-making and greed, focusing (democratically!) on British, Chinese and American characters living in the city. Really fine description here, and dark irony worthy of Saul Bellow and Gore Vidal.

And Austin Coates' classic Hong Kong book, Myself a Mandarin, will enrich any westerner's trip (it's the story of a British magistrate in 50's Hong Kong, and I found his stories of dealing with the Chinese, the clash of cultures, the insights he gained, fascinating, hilarious and, once again, oddly relevant and accurate for today's Hong Kong).

4-0 out of 5 stars A vast improvement over the Ninth Edition
Disregard Amazon's reader reviews that precede this one. The earlier comments aren't based on this book at all, but were simply ported to this page from the previous edition's. The well-deserved complaints about "Hong Kong, Macau and Guangzhou," Ninth Edition, do not apply to "Hong Kong and Macau," 10th Edition. Note that "Guangzhou" was dropped from the title.

I never go on vacation somewhere without first buying the Lonely Planet travel book on the destination. So it's been with some frustration that for the last three years, the Hong Kong book has been among the weakest of the series, at least among those I've bought. But the long-awaited update has some badly needed changes and updates.

The previous edition came out in January 1999, several months after Lonely Planet had released another, entirely different Hong Kong book titled simply "Hong Kong." The "Hong Kong" book was pretty skimpy, including a mere 10 pages or so on Macau. But it did have some helpful color maps at the back of the book.

When "Hong Kong, Macau and Guangzhou" came out, it included some badly needed material on Macau, as well as the Chinese border cities of Shenzhen and Zhuhai. Unfortunately, the book also lumped in about 90 pages on Guangzhou, and another eight-page supplement on "Hong Kong Film." For 99-plus percent of the people who are visiting the Hong Kong area, these pages were only dead weight. Virtually nobody visiting Hong Kong plans to visit Guangzhou, and why should they? It's a long trip, and by the book's own admission, there's nothing there for tourists anyway.

Even worse, this book was out of date from the moment it hit the streets. Both the "Hong Kong" and "Hong Kong, Macau and Guangzhou" books gave the location of the Hong Kong Museum of History as Kowloon Park. But the museum had already moved when I visited Hong Kong in November 1998, when the "Hong Kong" book had just came out. And so I was more than a little surprised that "Hong Kong, Macau and Guangzhou" repeated the same mistake in its January 1999 printing!

But what *really* annoyed me was that "Hong Kong, Macau and Guangzhou" didn't have the easy-to-read, easy-to-find color maps of the earlier "Hong Kong" book. Instead, the larger book had ugly, hard-to-read black-and-white maps scattered willy-nilly throughout.

This has changed under the book's all-new author, Steve Fallon. (Damian Harper does not get credit in this edition, despite what Amazon says.) Fallon has dropped the Guangzhou section and other useless padding, making the book a lot more portable. The Museum of History's current address is in there now. And the color maps from the slim "Hong Kong" book also are in the back of the new "Hong Kong and Macau." The new book still uses the hard-to-read, hard-to-find B&W maps for the border towns and Macau's islands, but that's a quibble I can live with. Other general information throughout also seems to be current.

I've been looking over the new book for several days now, and overall, it seems that while the worst parts disappeared, the best stuff carried over to the new edition. For instance, I was glad to see that the map of Shenzhen still has the names of landmarks and hotels in Chinese, as well as English. Showing the Shenzhen taxi drivers the Chinese name of where you want to go is usually the only way for non-Chinese-speaking tourists to communicate their intended destination.

While the new edition is a great improvement, it was at least a year overdue. Three years is a long time to have to wait for an update when so much has changed here, given the change in sovereignty in both Hong Kong and Macau. The ninth edition came out just a couple of months after the Hong Kong handover, and *before* the Macau handover, for crying out loud.

I don't know if I could have honestly recommended the ninth edition of "Hong Kong, Macau and Guangzhou," but I certainly can do so for the 10th edition of "Hong Kong and Macau." Even if you don't plan on visiting here in the immediate future, it's an interesting read.

3-0 out of 5 stars Certainly not the best
I generally love Lonely Planet guides, but this one is factually inaccurate in many of its addresses, locations, etc. The introductory sections, however, on history, language, and such are as good as they get in a travel guide.

1-0 out of 5 stars What a load of rubbish!
This really is one of the most inaccurate guides to HK I have ever seen. I have lived in HK for 5 years and when I first arrived I read the LP guide and thought it was OK. However this edition is almost exactly the same whereas HK has changed dramatically in this time. Some inaccuracies from 1994 are still here and sections like entertainment are terrible - there is more to life than the local Hard Rock cafe. It seems the only change is that the author has added 10% of so to prices and that really is insufficient reason to bring out a whole new book. ... Read more


25. Suzy Gershman's Born to Shop Hong Kong, Shanghai & Beijing, Second Edition
by SuzyGershman, AaronGershman, JennyMcCormick, Suzy Gershman
list price: $15.99
our price: $10.87
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0764525603
Catlog: Book (2003-07-01)
Publisher: Frommers
Sales Rank: 32718
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"Gershmans may be the best guide for novice and pro shoppers alike." —The Washington Post

For nearly twenty years, Suzy Gershman has been leading savvy shoppers to the worlds best finds. Now Born to Shop Hong Kong, Shanghai & Beijing is easier to use and packed with more up-to-date listings than ever before.

Inside youll find:

  • Whats hot in Hong Kong, from hip new fashions and designer labels to porcelain, jade, and colorful markets
  • The best of Shanghai, from the Old City to the exciting new Pudong area
  • Terrific buys in Beijing, from the Silk Market to the Pearl Market to the famous antiques street of Liulichang
  • A completely new section on Hanoi and its unique treasures such as contemporary art, sophisticated lacquer, and funky ethnic fashions
... Read more

Reviews (2)

3-0 out of 5 stars Good but could be better
Good solid tips on where to go for good shopping for the 1st time visitor, but it could be organized better as it tends to jump around and return to the same topic. For example, in Shanghai, the book mentions the Dong Tai Market under Bargaining, Old City, Antiques and Antiques Market when it could have been in one section.
Also, for Hong Kong, the book gives a plug for the Hong Tourism Agency (p.44). However, beware their "QTS" seal of approval for trustworthy stores. I got ripped off at one of their approved stores (Louvre Jewelry) and they said they could not help address the problem.

5-0 out of 5 stars Indispensible shopping guide for a China Trip
I just returned from a tour of China and this book was a tremendous resource and was the most popular book on the tour. We used it to have a fun shopping trip to the Pearl Market in Beijing and found it a useful resource for items to buy all over China. It had a good section on price bargaining and some helpful tips on transportation within the three cities. China had great prices and wonderful buys. This book is a must have for your trip to China. ... Read more


26. Lonely Planet Taiwan (Lonely Planet Taiwan)
by Andrew Bender, Julie Grundvig, Robert Kelly
list price: $25.99
our price: $17.15
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 174059360X
Catlog: Book (2004-11-15)
Publisher: Lonely Planet Publications
Sales Rank: 22898
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Book Description

Ilha Formosa, the 'beautiful isle', is a modern society steeped in Chinese heritage, a land of tropical islands and mountain retreats, neon-lit noodle bars and teeming night markets.Whatever you crave - a soak at a hot spring, a temple-hopping itinerary - this is the only guide that puts it all in one book.From the practical to the inspirational, let us connect you with Taiwan.

• BE INSPIRED by itineraries through old Taiwan, new Taipei and the East Coast • ESCAPE to idyllic mountains, tropical islands and coastal strips with our excursion ideas • FEAST LIKE AN EMPEROR - our expert-written Food & Drink chapter is at your service • CROSS THE LANGUAGE BARRIER - with our extensive Language chapter and loads of Chinese script • GET AROUND - with the help of 78 detailed maps ... Read more


27. Japan by Rail: Includes Rail Route Guide and 29 City Guides
by Ramsey Zarifeh
list price: $18.95
our price: $12.89
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1873756232
Catlog: Book (2002-02-12)
Publisher: Trailblazer Publications
Sales Rank: 60749
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Book Description

Japan is steeped in legend and myth, perhaps the greatest of which is the popular misconception that the country is simply too expensive to visit. The truth is that flights to Japan are cheaper than they've ever been, accommodation can be great value, while the warm hospitality which awaits every visitor costs nothing at all. The real secret to travelling around the country on a budget, however, is the Japan Rail Pass. With this pass you can travel on some of the fastest trains in the world as often as you like for as long as you please - and all for one bargain price. Use this comprehensive guide in conjunction with a rail pass to get the most out of your trip to Japan.* Practical information - planning your trip; what to take; getting to Japan from Europe, North America and Australasia* City guides and maps - where to stay (all budgets), where to eat, what to see in 29 towns and cities; historical and cultural background * Kilometre-by-kilometre route guides - covering train journeys from the coast into the mountains, from temple retreat to sprawling metropolis and from sulphurous volcano to windswept desert; 34 route maps* Railway timetables - Bullet trains and all routes in this guidebook* Plus - Customs, etiquette, Japanese phrases and 28 colour photos
... Read more

Reviews (6)

3-0 out of 5 stars Nice but limited guide to Japan
Another in a rather extensive list of rail-oriented books from UK's Trailblazer Guides series, this one centers around Japan, and budget travelers who use the Japan Rail Pass. While fairly complete, it has some obvious structural drawbacks that require supplementing with a more extensive guide. I'd give it 4 stars, with 1 star knocked off for the following deficits.

* It's pretty much exclusively centered on Japan Rail lines. Considering that Japan is criss-crossed with the so-called "private lines" (Japan Rail was once a government railroad), this leads to some obvious gaps in coverage.

* Very little food & dining information. Tokyo, for example, gets only a few paragraphs.

* NO kanji (Chinese characters) or kana (Japanese syllabary) versions of destination signs. This is perhaps its biggest sin, since English-language platform signs and maps are the exception rather than the rule outside of the Tokyo metropolitan area. Unless you can already read kana or kanji, you WILL be confused trying to work out the signs.

5-0 out of 5 stars Worth it
This book explains the ins and outs of travel by rail in Japan. It not only manages that but provides a good source of information for seeing the important sites. It gives the quick and easy way to get to the towns and how to get to the places you will want to see. It may need to be fleshed out with a more comprehensive guidebook but this should be a place to start.

5-0 out of 5 stars If You Buy a Japan Rail Pass, Buy This Book! I Wish I Had!
I was planning for my month in Japan - mainly in Tokyo but I knew I'd be doing some traveling so I bought a JR pass for 21 days. I went to every bookstore I could find and spent hours looking through the various guides - frommers, lonely planet, rough guide, insight guides, national geographic, and more.

Oh, how I wish those bookstores had stocked this book! I ended up buying a few of those books, but when I got to Japan, I found this in a bookstore and bought it immediately - for about 3 times the cost as what you'd pay in the States. The other guidebooks were retired and now this is the book I use. It helps me figure out where I should go to enjoy my time in Japan, given that I am travelling by rail. It gives hotel, attraction, and meal information, plus great itineraries and a sense of the best places to go on the rail lines. Just because there's a stop doesn't mean it worth going to, in terms of your precious travel days. This book helps you figure out where to go and why.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very comprehensive
This book is a must if you intend to make long-distance travelling using trains in Japan. Very comprehensive and practically written.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent guide book !
The best way to travel around Japan is by rail and this book has detail information about it.
This book include not only train information, but also accommodation, eating place and etc (these are quite useful).
If you are planning to travel Japan, I definitely recommend this one. ... Read more


28. Lonely Planet Korean Phrasebook (Lonely Planet Korean Phrasebook)
by Minkyoung Kim, J. D. Hilts
list price: $7.99
our price: $7.19
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1740591666
Catlog: Book (2002-05-01)
Publisher: Lonely Planet Publications
Sales Rank: 17612
Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Annyong haseyo! you say, and gently nod a greeting to your new, han-guk ch’in-gu, who comments on how well you speak Korean. You modestly reply chal mot’aeyo…

With this phrasebook, you can chat with your hosts in the minbak, let your hair down and sing along in a noraebang, or enjoy the stories of friendly farmers and mysterious monks as they guide you around. With a few words in the local language, you’ll be savouring Korea’s disarming hospitality at its best.

  • all the words and phrases for a great stay in Korea
  • a heaped serving of food terms ensures confident menu ordering
  • buy knick-knacks at the market in the local language
  • all there is to know about Korean etiquette and body language
  • easy to use phonetic transliterations of the Hangul script throughout
  • plenty of phrases to join in the friendly fun at soccer games
... Read more

Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars Clear, current, concise!
This is the second dictionary/phrasebook I've orded and this one stands heads above the other. The background explanation of the writing system, language, and grammar are really helpful and the phrases used are current (not archaic like the other book I had). I'm really thrilled to have this in my hands--everything is falling into place now! I strongly recommend it to anyone interested in speaking Korean without formal instruction.

5-0 out of 5 stars to the point
Living in Korea, I've seen and used several phrasebooks. In most respects, one is as good as another. But this one has the best elementary explanation of Korean grammar I've ever seen in a phrasebook; if you plan to be in Korea long enough to learn a little Korean, this will be the most helpful phrasebook that I know of.

The problem is that they created their own system of romanization and a few phrases in the book are presented in it but not in Korean. That is really annoying; the phrases are completely worthless unless you want to study LP's unique romanization.

4-0 out of 5 stars Could do better
The Lonely Planet(LP) Korean phrase book contains all the things you would expect from it. Unlike other phrase books the LP book has a great introduction to the language with a brief but useful grammar section. LP phrase books always seem to be much more than just a phrase book.

However the grammar section only contains the romanisation of Korean rather than using the Korean script, Hangul. I think this would be a simple but very effective addition to the book.

Also I must say that one of the most useful and often entertaining parts of other LP phrase books I own(German and Italian) has been the "dating and romance" section. This section of the Korean book is neither useful nor entertaining. It is simply far too conservative. I assume it has been kept in line with the old confusion traditions of the country, but Korean is now a modern westernised country and far more open and liberal than in the past. It would be nice for LP to reflect this in the subject matter of their phrase book.

5-0 out of 5 stars VERY AMAZING BOOK!
I am a French teacher, teaching students French language in Seoul. As a language teacher and a resident of Seoul, this is THE best phrasebook I've ever encountered.
If you are done skimming through this book, you can get by perfectly in Korea. The romanization system in this book is different (which I like the most!) but it's more accurate than any other system, so when you read the words out from the book to Koreans, they perfectly understand you. (This was never the case with other books. They NEVER understood me.) It's thrilling that people understand me when I simply read the romanization from the book.
The grammar section and the dictionary section are what I really needed, too. It's so easy to understand and tells you the things that you really needed to know!
Lastly, the book is so solidly made that it never falls in pieces even when you abuse the book so much like I do. (I wish the book was a little thinner, though.)
I LOVE THIS BOOK! I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT!

4-0 out of 5 stars Good and useful
This book is quite pleasant and useful to read and browse from..
However I missed the fact that the dictionary located at the end of the pocket-sized book only shows romanized korean (written Korean using English letters) and does not show Hangeul (the Korean letters). ... Read more


29. Lonely Planet Cambodia (Lonely Planet Cambodia)
by Nick Ray
list price: $17.99
our price: $12.23
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1740591119
Catlog: Book (2002-08-01)
Publisher: Lonely Planet Publications
Sales Rank: 11103
Average Customer Review: 4.86 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Go your own way in Cambodia with the most extensive guide to the kingdom: discover awe-inspiring temples, explore remote mountainous regions, laze on tranquil beaches or live it up in cosmopolitan Phnom Penh.

  • 57 detailed maps and temple plans
  • new, expanded coverage of the remote northern and eastern provinces
  • food and accommodation suggestions for every budget
  • includes Khmer script and invaluable language chapter
... Read more

Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars Maps and diagrams are outstanding.
Lonely Planet Guides are always the best sources of info for pre-trip planning and to take along, but the Cambodia LPG has an added feature that really impressed me, and that is the maps and diagrams of the temples and temple complexes, and the great details in the descriptions that go with them. I'm absolutely delighted to have this information to help me plan my photo sessions. In addition, LP has a service on their website where you can get updates to a guide between old and new publications. Also try the Thorntree feature to get questions answered or to contribute info for others. Lonely Planet has done it again. Best guidebooks and best services for travelers. Thanks LP!

5-0 out of 5 stars Must Have For Cambodia Trip
I decided to be a little different when I went to Southeast Asia. Instead of taking the Lonely Planet Books which I had done to past trips to China, and England I went with the Rough Guide. What a mistake. Such a mistake that about 1/2 through the trip, somewhere in Thailand I think, I threw the book out and picked up LP guides to Vietnam and Cambodia.

The Cambodia book is great. Great information, easy to follow guides to Angkor what else could you need. LP really tells it as it is. Cambodia is a place changing everyday. Fortunately for the last year or two its been relatively calm and tourist friendly. How long this will last is anyone's guess. I hope stablity have finally come to this country with such a tragic history.

Angkor is a unbelievable place and the LP book will get you through it and teach you a lot.

Get this book before you go!

4-0 out of 5 stars Bring this to Cambodia
This is the book I took to Cambodia. For me the important thing was that it had the phone numbers of the various guest houses and hotels. Only 4 stars because Anything other than Phnom Penh and Angkor was given skimpy coverage.

5-0 out of 5 stars You must have if travelling to Cambodia!!! Essential book!!!
Very practical and quite a useful book to have when travelling to Cambodia. I found it useful myself too with information regarding Cambodian history, past, present and maybe the future of the country's outcome having came out of the shadows of the Killing Fields. The book covers everything you need to know about travelling to Cambodia. The best place to eat and what are the popular sites to visit... in Phnom Penh and the famous jungle ruins of Angkor. This 3rd edition contains wonderful photos of the Khmer people in many aspects... Even though the country had been ravaged by war yet their souls are still proud like before much like their ancestors who built a wonderful civilization that ruled mainland Indo-China. Also there is a page for those who want to learn basic Khmer which is easy and enjoyable...

Now that Cambodia is opening up the outside world the book gets a little bit thicker which I find is interesting since now there are many areas to visit in Cambodia like the hill tribes living in east of Cambodia and also the temple of Preah Vihear in the north of Cambodia which sits on the Dangrek mountain range overlooking Thailand. Great book to have and I hope soon in the next edition more information will be added. Don't travel to Cambodia without one!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars A practical, invaluable guide
Nick Ray's Cambodia is a practical, invaluable guide for commercial or recreational travelers wanting to explore the sights and wonders of this exotic land. From the majesty of Angkor, to Phnom Penh nightlife, to the wild and remote Cambodian countryside, this reliable, detailed, and authoritative travel guide offers 30 "user friendly" maps; up-to-date health and security information; vital transport details (including river trips and overland travel); special features on the temples of Angkor; a useful chapter on the Khmer language; and much, much more. If you are planning a trip to Cambodia, begin with a thorough reading of Nick Ray's Cambodia! ... Read more


30. The Rough Guide to Vietnam (Rough Guide Vietnam)
by Jan Dodd, Mark Lewis
list price: $20.95
our price: $14.25
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1843530953
Catlog: Book (2004-03-01)
Publisher: Rough Guides Limited
Sales Rank: 16499
Average Customer Review: 4.29 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

INTRODUCTION

History weighs heavily on Vietnam. For more than a decade, reportage of the war that racked this slender country portrayed it as a netherworld of savagery and slaughter; and even after the American War ended it was further pigeon-holed by Hollywood’s seamless chain of combat movies. Yet, only twenty-odd years after the war’s end, this incredibly resilient nation is beginning to emerge from the shadows: access is now easier than ever, and the country has re-invented its old-style communist system as a free market economy that encourages contact. As the number of tourists finding their way here soars, the word is out that this is a land not of bomb craters and army ordnance, but of shimmering paddy fields and sugar-white beaches, full-tilt cities and venerable pagodas – often overwhelming in its sheer beauty.

The speed with which Vietnam’s population of some 77 million has been able to put the bitter events of its recent past behind it, and focus its gaze so steadfastly on the future, comes as a surprise to visitors expecting to encounter shell-shocked resentment of the West and war fatigue. It wasn’t always like this, however. The reunification of North and South Vietnam that ended twenty years of bloody civil war, in 1975, was followed by a decade or so of hardline centralist economic rule from which only the shake-up of doi moi, Vietnam’s equivalent of perestroika, could awaken the country. By lifting the lid off private enterprise, doi moi has, since its conception in 1986, signalled a renaissance for Vietnam, and today a high fever of commerce grips the nation, as citizens clamour to claim their slice of the pie while the good times roll. Needless to say, the shift to a market economy would have been only notional without accompanying shifts in international relations – in particular 1994’s ending of the US trade embargo, which released the log jam of foreign investment; and the diplomatic rehabilitation that ensued once Vietnamese forces were pulled out of Cambodia in 1989, culminating in the restoration of US-Vietnamese diplomatic relations in July 1995. From a tourist’s point of view, it’s a great time to come – thanks to an intoxicating sense of vitality and optimism, not to mention the chance to witness a country in profound flux. What’s more, after a decade and a half of isolation, there’s a huge warmth and curiosity shown toward visitors by the Vietnamese, who tend to pounce voraciously on any chance to interact with foreigners.

Inevitably, that’s not the whole story. Doi moi is an economic policy, not a magic spell, and life, for most of the population, remains hard. Indeed, doi moi has introduced its own problems, with the adoption of a market economy predictably polarizing the gap between rich and poor. Despite the numerous Japanese, Taiwanese and Korean assembly plants springing up, average monthly incomes for city dwellers remain at around US$50, while in the poorest provinces workers may scrape by on as little as US$15 a month – a difference that amply illustrates the growing gulf between urban and rural Vietnam.

As you might expect, the long-standing antipathy and deep psychological divide between the north and south endures. This was around long before the American War, and is engrained in the bedrock of Vietnamese culture. Northerners are typically considered reticent, dour, law-abiding, and lacking the dynamism and entrepreneurial know-how of their more worldly-wise southern compatriots. A cartoonist’s caricature of a southerner would most likely depict a flashy wheeler-dealer, shades on, barking into a mobile phone as he weaves his Honda Dream through the busy streets; while his northern counterpart would appear in green army tunic and helmet, tootling along on his duck-laden bicycle.

Many visitors find more than enough to amuse them in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and the other major centres; but despite the cities’ allure, it’s the country’s striking landscape that most impresses. Vietnam occupies a narrow strip of land that hugs the eastern borders of Cambodia and Laos, hemmed in by rugged mountains to the west, and by the South China Sea to the east. To the north and south of its narrow waist, it dovetails out into the splendid deltas of the Red River and the Mekong, and it’s in these regions that you’ll encounter the paddy fields, dragonflies, buffaloes and conical-hatted farmers that constitute the classic image of Vietnam. In stark contrast to the pancake-flat riceland of the deltas, Ha Long Bay’s labyrinthine network of limestone outcrops loom dramatically out of the Gulf of Tonkin – a magical spectacle in the early morning mist. None of Vietnam’s mountains reach particularly impressive heights, so any trip to the remote upland regions of central and northern Vietnam is far likelier to focus upon the ethnic minorities who reside there. Elaborate tribal costumes, age-old customs and communal longhouses await those visitors game enough to trek into the sticks – though if you’re fortunate enough to sample the legendary hilltribe hospitality, you may find that the knockout rice wine they brew leaves memories hazy. As for wildlife, the discovery, in the early Nineties, of a previously unknown species of ox, the saola, speaks volumes for the wealth of Vietnam’s biodiversity – that, despite the decade-long pasting the country received from American bombers – and makes the improving access to the country’s several national parks all the more gratifying. ... Read more

Reviews (7)

2-0 out of 5 stars The Lonely Planet was much better
I had the Lonely Planet and my friend had the Rough guide and the difference was quite great. The section on the Mekong Delta for example was vastly more in depth in the LP and I would have been totally lost if I had used the Rough Guide.

5-0 out of 5 stars Rough Guide Outdoes Lonely Planet Again
I was very happy to have Rough Guide Vietnam for my travels in northern Vietnam during December, 2000 - January, 2001. For one thing I felt like I wasn't getting channeled down the Lonely Planet path, as most independent travelers were carrying that book and using it like their Bible. Also, whenever anyone compared my Rough Guide to their Lonely Planet, they said they found RG to be better. Rough Guide goes into more depth than LP in describing the sights and history. LP's maps are a little more comprehensive, but RG's listings of hotels are more user-friendly than LP. I very much enjoyed the book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Rough Guide better than Lonely Planet, Footprint
Just came back from a three week trip to Vietnam with three books: the Lonely Planet, the Rough Guide, and Footprint Handbook.

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.

4-0 out of 5 stars Accurate info and good historical perspective
When I first went to Vietnam I used the Footprints guide and my traveling partner had this Rough Guide. On my second trip I purchased the Rough Guide, which I found much more useful than Fodor. It gives good information about hotels and restaurants and also gives a good historical/political perspective of Vietnam from a non-American point of view.

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.

5-0 out of 5 stars Indispensable Guide
As a user of Lonely Planet guide books, I am a recent convert to The Rough Guide series. I used both The Lonely Planet and The Rough Guide on a recent trip to Vietnam and found the Rough Guide won hands down.

The detailed maps are easier to read and follow, the restaurant and hotels reviews are more current and objective and the historical overview offered is more incisive. The Rough Guide provided wonderful tips for sight seeing in Ho Chi Minh City and further abroad. The accounts of the last days of the Vietnam War brought to life the turmoil and chaos of a city under siege.

Still a fan of The Lonely Planet series, I can clearly state I would recommend the Rough Guide as superior for Vietnam travel. I look forward to using the Rough Guide series for other travel destinations and hope the standard emulates that of the Vietnam edition.

PS The Rough Guide also releases CDs of traditional music of many of the countries they write about. The Rough Guide to Salsa CD is also highly recommended. ... Read more


31. Lonely Planet Estonia Latvia & Lithuania (Lonely Planet Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania)
by Nicola Williams, Cathryn Kemp, Debra Herrmann
list price: $24.99
our price: $16.49
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1740591321
Catlog: Book (2003-06-01)
Publisher: Lonely Planet Publications
Sales Rank: 30838
Average Customer Review: 4.36 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

60 Maps ... Read more

Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars Accurate, detailed and competent
In common with our Lonely Planet publications, the book is extremely strong on research and honesty; the latter sometimes can border with cynicism, but then I do not see anything wrong with this. It is perhaps a good idea to have realistic expectations.

For getting around, lodging and day-to-day needs, the book is superb (although upon arrival, you will also want to buy one of locally published "In Your Pocket" guides - these remarkable and inexpensive magazines are in the league of their own).

Unless you already know a lot about the history and spirit of the Baltic states, you may long for some more pictures and articles where timetables and opening times are NOT mentioned. In this case, Baltic States by Insight Guides can be recommended as a supplement - but by no means as a substitute.

The Baltic countries, which do not have a streamlined and shrink-wrapped tourist industry, are a destination where a Lonely Planet guide is needed, whatever your budget. Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia are friendly and well-developed, but even premium-paying customers can seldom expect to be steered through their holiday or business trip without a bit of understanding how things work. This book is a perfect tool fitting this purpose.

2-0 out of 5 stars Lonely Plantet - Estonia Latvia & Lithuania
A major disappointment. I bought this book expecting useful information on travel between the three Baltic Republics but found virtually nothing of value. The book does devote a half page to Trans-Siberian train travel with mention of side trips to Lake Baykal and Mongolia. Figure that one out. Most of the "Getting There and Away" has to do with getting to the individual Republics from Europe and other parts of the world and even a lot of this is out dated. It seems that much of the book is cut and paste and lacks continuity between the various pieces. This book is need of a complete overhaul. Sorry to say, it's better than nothing, but not by a significant margin.

5-0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive and Concise
The authors managed to stuff everything you need to know in a relatively small book. I have been in the Baltics three times and know Latvia quite well, but this book will enrich my next trip (the relatives and locals can only do so much).
I recommed it.

3-0 out of 5 stars A downhill slide
The third edition has forty fewer pages and clearly less information than the second edition.

3-0 out of 5 stars No improvement upon the old edition
The best thing about this edition is its stunningly beautiful cover. It goes downhill from there.

The previous edition (was it around 1995?) was really, really very good; ahead of everyone in the business. I wrote a glowing review at that time. Since then, the countries have moved on at an amazin pace, but LP did not manage to catch up.

Cultural information is still good (and that is the area where fewest changes were needed). It is not as good with practicalities: the book is full of small inaccuracies - money, costs, payment options, transport information all suffer from lazy, complacent research.

Another sad fact is that the authors seem to draw upon their one-off impressions: waiters tipping themselves by not giving you the change, what's that about? Credit cards accepted in "main cities and towns" - well, hello, when did you last go to any of the countries? These things go on and on.

As for "Getting There" information, one wonders which planet are Lonely Planet researchers living on. Has anyone told them about the Internet? About cheap offers from the airlines? How long can continue with their ridiculously irrelevant drivel about bucket shops and courier flights?

A good thing that can be said about this Lonely Plant is that it is not of trademark "bleeding-heart" variety and that anti-American propaganda still has not found its way into it. You will have to get the Iceland guidebook if you want some of the most bitter, biased and unwelcome LP campaigning.

Overall, it seems like Lonely Planet is cutting costs, and the most recent thing that they have chopped off is proper research and verification. This is unfortunate, for the start was really good. ... Read more


32. Iron and Silk (Vintage Departures)
by MARK SALZMAN
list price: $12.00
our price: $9.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0394755111
Catlog: Book (1987-10-12)
Publisher: Vintage
Sales Rank: 23146
Average Customer Review: 4.53 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

In 1982, Salzman flew off to teach English in Changsha, China. He writes of bureaucrats, students and Cultural Revolution survivors, stripping none of their complexity and humanity.He's gentle with their idiocies, saving his sharpest barbs for himself (it's his pants that split from zipper to waist whilst demonstrating martial arts in Canton).Though dribs of history and drabs of classical lore seep through, this is mostly a personal tale, noted by the Los Angeles Times for "the charmingly unpretentious manner in which it penetrates a China inaccessible to other foreigners." ... Read more

Reviews (74)

5-0 out of 5 stars Heart-warming, Winning and Well Worth the Read
This is an autobiographical account of a young man's teaching English for two years in main land China. He also spent his time learning what he could of martial arts, calligraphy, and obviously the wonderfully different and often touching ways of the Chinese people. The vignettes are sketched with humanity, warmth, skill and a great sense of humor. When I told my Chinese friends some of the stories they smiled broadly, nodded knowingly, and assured me that that is the way things are. We appreciated deeply the story of how Mark tried to cash in a dead rat for five cents and ran into bureaucrats who were silly but not stupid. It has been made into a film and the video ought to be readily available. Do see it as well as reading the book. Mark and his teacher Pan play themselves and they're both worth getting to know a lot better.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Sense of Wonder
In 30 short anecdotes, Mark Salzman gives a compassionate and humorous account of teaching English and studying martial arts in Changsha, a provincial capital in central China shortly after the opening of the country in the early 1980s. Changsha has the reputation that "there is nothing to do, nothing to buy, the people have no manners, the food is terrible and their dialect sounds awful" - so the book might have become very different from what it is: insightful, very funny, and full of respect for the often strange customs of traditional Chinese culture. In the best manner of innocents abroad, Mark Salzman knows how to make fun of his blunders in a very charming way. He conveys his sense of wonder beautifully, and does not pass judgment on anything he witnesses. Unlike many other authors who write about China, he is able to appreciate traditional Chinese forms of expression and self-mastery like martial arts (wushu) and calligraphy on their own terms. In his anecdotes he catches the essence of these arts: dedication, commitment, respect. "No matter what the quality of brush or paper," explains his calligraphy teacher, "one should always treat them as if they were priceless."

What Mark Salzman wrote about China some 15 years ago is not dated in many ways. Strange ideas are still being trumpeted as truths, and bureaucrats still like to harass foreigners (although humiliating unwitting foreigners is not "something of a popular sport in China" anymore; today it may even happen that a young female police officer at a police station first lectures you for half an hour on a minor transgression, but asks you out for a date right after she is finished).

Mark Salzman has a wonderful, gentle humor, and an admirable open-mindedness. He combines both to focus not on the ignorance of the people he meets, but on the insight which even ignorance can produce. There is no doubt that one little Chinese boy has no idea about the real Hong Kong, but being asked what he knew about this city, he answers "It's a big department store, isn't it?" Finally, let me say that I have never heard or read of a more charming and polite way of telling a Westerner that he has a big nose than in Mark Salzman's gem of a book: "You have a very three-dimensional face."

5-0 out of 5 stars Well written travel story
This book is an account of the two years Mark Salzman spent as an English teacher at the Hunan Medical College. Salzman arrived in Hunan Province in 1982, fresh from Yale, where he had graduated with a degree in Chinese literature. He took with him his cello and his experience studying Chinese martial arts. Salzman was an ideal American emissary- -he brought his youthful yet serious enthusiasm to the classroom, and forged ties with the local populace through sharing his skills and interests. Once he even consented to attempt to tune a piano for his supervisor, his only qualification for the task being that he was familiar with the sound of well-tuned pianos back home. He befriended local fishermen and shared his art and music with them, but he also got to know Chinese grad students and professors through his interest in calligraphy and Chinese language.

Foremost in his interests was martial arts. Before arriving in China, Salzman had studied Chinese martial arts for 9 years. He hoped to find a teacher of martial arts, or wushu, so that he could continue his practice while in Hunan. Because of his openness to meet others and because of his language skills, he eventually met and studied with some remarkably skilled wushu teachers in Hunan, including Pan Qingfu, perhaps the most renowned living practitioner of Chinese martial arts in the world. Much of Salzman's account is a record of how he met these teachers, and how they helped him develop his skill, each in his own particular way and style.

Salzman's interest in calligraphy and martial arts opened doors for him that otherwise may never have appeared. Practicing calligraphy and wushu gave him the excuse for meeting Chinese citizens with similar interests, and for them to seek him out. But Salzman points out the ethical dark side of pursuing these interests as a foreigner. Salzman is very aware of the fact that, while he has studied martial arts for 9 years, no matter how seriously he had applied himself, he had practiced only on a hobby basis, a background to his academic and professional pursuits. On a Chinese scale, his 9 years of part-time study would barely constitute dallying with the sport. Yet because he was a foreigner who seemed to demonstrate such a serious degree of interest in the topic, he had access to the very best teachers, famous superstars that few Chinese wushu students could every dream of meeting. This is not meant to criticize Salzman, as he himself pointed out several times how distressed he was when his teachers would ignore their Chinese students so as to focus on his personal needs. Situations where an interested Westerner is given attention by experts that far exceeds that merited by their skills are unfortunately, quite common. Indeed, many Western musicians of very average talent manage to be accepted as students by famous classical Indian musicians, who may be fascinated by a Westerner who seems seriously interested in Asian music, or who may simply think that having Western students will somehow add to their prestige. I, myself, have benefited from such circumstances while studying Indian music, finding that my teachers give me extra attention or praise that is merited only by the color of my passport. What is remarkable about this book is how much Salzman is aware of this conundrum as he sees it playing out, and how he shows maturity in trying to address the situation both with humility and devotion to his art.

5-0 out of 5 stars excellent and entertaining!
i was assigned this novel for a course and thought it would be another dry novel such as the ones typically assigned for university history courses. i was pleasantly surprised! salzman's sense of humor and good natured relating of the events surrounding his two years in china is only surpassed by his knowledge and understanding of the culture he lived in for those years. it is an excellent story for anyone who is learning about china or simply wants to know more about the culture. salzman's view as an american looking in is especially helpful for western readers.

5-0 out of 5 stars what a heartwarming eye-opener!
Mark Salzman writes of his experiences while teaching in China. His book reminded me a little of the Tony Hillerman and "The No. 1 Detective Agency" series in that they all give us a look at an entirely different culture that many of us know little about. He is a martial arts student and continued learning from masters in China during his stay as a teacher.

In some ways we could learn a little from their polite culture and they could learn from ours. They are a much more family oriented than I realized, children remaining with their parents until married in many cases and they are more respectful of their parents and others around them than many of us are.

Their homes did not compare in any way to what we are used to, but, you know, when you've never had it, you don't know what you are missing and as most of them were in the same circumstances, they do with what they have. This is not to say that everything was great, because it wasn't, there were many things that could have been improved upon, but the book wasn't about that. It was an account by the author of his experiences and friendships that he developed during his stay in China. We get to know about a lovely group of individuals and how they lived and worked. The politeness, and their way of showing hospitality was endearing.

I would have to say that Mark must have had a special touch also for them to react so warmly to him. His sincere interest in their martial arts and learning their calligraphy, etc. drew their support also.

If you'd like to know more about how many of the people live and their customs this is a wonderful book that will give us a good unbiased view of them. Highly recommended! Enjoy! ... Read more


33. Angkor: Celestial Temples of the Khmer
by Jon Ortner, Ian W. Mabbett, James Goodman, Ian Mabbett, Eleanor Mannikka, John Sanday
list price: $95.00
our price: $62.70
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0789207184
Catlog: Book (2002-12-01)
Publisher: Abbeville Press
Sales Rank: 44846
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Book Description

An exquisitely illustrated history and exploration of Angkor, the world's most astonishing architectural treasure.

Built between the ninth and the thirteenth centuries by a succession of twelve Khmer kings, Angkor spreads over 120 square miles in Southeast Asia and includes scores of major architectural sites. In 802, when construction began on Angkor Wat, with wealth from rice and trade, Jayavarman ll took the throne, initiating an unparalleled period of artistic and architectural achievement, exemplified in the fabled ruins of Angkor, center of the ancient empire. Among the amazing pyramid and mandala shaped shrines preserved in the jungles of Cambodia, is Angkor Wat, the world's largest temple, an extraordinarily complex structure filled with iconographic detail and religious symbolism. Perhaps because of the decline of agricultural productivity and the expansion of the Thai Empire, Angkor was abandoned in the fifteenth century and left to the ravages of time. Today, many countries continue efforts to conserve and restore the temples, which have been inaccessible until recently. Now that the civil war has ended, Angkor is being reborn and is an increasingly popular tourist destination.

Undaunted by the difficulties of traveling through Cambodia and eastern Thailand, Jon Ortner, accompanied by his wife Martha, has photographed fifty of the most important and unique monuments of the Khmer Empire. His images include spectacular views from the rooftops of its temples, glorious landscapes, and details of inscriptions and art that few have ever seen.

The text by a team of distinguished experts provides historical, architectural, and religious analyses of Angkor and the Khmer civilization. The Appendix offers a glossary, a chronology of construction, and a chart of the kings and their accomplishments. Black-and-white floor plans and historic watercolors complete this breathtaking tribute.

Other details: 240 illustrations, 225 in full color ... Read more

Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Must-Have Book on Angkor Temples
Through his magical photographic eye, Jon Ortner has created a wondrous collection of striking images and scholarly prose. His perfectly lit photographs and well-documented historic descriptions allow one to easily understand this complicated ancient subject. Each temple is clearly organized into relevant sections from the central Angkor area to the rare and never-before-seen temples in the outer lying areas. If you have visited Angkor - Ortner's book is the perfect addition to your library. Or, if you have not visited, this book provides the perfect impetus.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Ultimate Angkor Book
The magnificent photography, the amazing text and the great printing make this THE book for anyone interested in the amazing history and culture of the Khmer.

Ortner's use of light, his incredible attention to detail and the great writing make this a must view and a must read.

Even if you never had an interest or knowledge of Angkor, this book will light a fire inside you.

I recommend this book wholeheartedly. It will look great in your home and you will not regret this purchase.

5-0 out of 5 stars I have Jon Ortner book
ANGKOR: Celestial Temples of the Khmer Empire,

This is an excellent book I ordered online about when I first came out about a year ago. You will not go wrong with this book. Every pages I leafed through is highly insprirational. The photographs are very breath-takingly welldone. I like the chapter on the Preah Vihear(PV) temple. Again, nicely illustrated and photographed on PV. There's also a section on Cambodian temples that are in Thailand and Laos.

Athough the book is large--oversize, but worth its weight in gold on your bookself !

5-0 out of 5 stars Almost as magnificent as seeing the ruins themselves
Having spent some time recently in Cambodia exploring the Angkor ruins, I looked forward to purchasing this new picture book by celebrated photographer Jon Ortner. I was not disappointed. The photographs literally come alive. The quality of the paper is extremely good; the colour reproduction and sharpness of the pictures are superb.

The author chose a broad selection of the ruins to be included in his coffee table size text. All the famous sites are included, as well as a number of the lesser known monuments. The essays written by experts in the field also added a lot of useful and interesting background information. Several maps also aid the reader in locating the ruins.

For those who have seen Angkor, this book is almost a must. I am certain the owner will refer to these awesome photographs time and time again to remind himself of the experience of viewing some of the most incredible architecture and art in the history of mankind.

5-0 out of 5 stars See it in person if you can.
Top quality photographs of one of the true wonders of the world in one of the few remaining truly exotic countries. The craftsmanship and presentation are top notch, but nothing short of making the trip in person is really satisfactory. Fortunately, the trip is relatively safe in these days when even domestic travel has its risks. ... Read more


34. Lonely Planet Mandarin Phrasebook (Lonely Planet Mandarin Phrasebook)
by Anthony Garnaut
list price: $7.99
our price: $7.19
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1740591798
Catlog: Book (2004-09-15)
Publisher: Lonely Planet Publications
Sales Rank: 120422
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Book Description

There's no need to lose face, forgo the Peking duck or miss the slow boat down the Yangtze.This phrasebook will prove more valuable on the road than a bicycle in Beijing. ... Read more


35. Dk Eyewitness Travel Guides Thailand (Dk Eyewitness Travel Gudies)
by Not Applicable (Na )
list price: $25.00
our price: $16.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0756601746
Catlog: Book (2002-01-01)
Publisher: DK Publishing Inc
Sales Rank: 19760
Average Customer Review: 3.82 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Truly the guides that show you what others only tell you, this book features stunning 3D and cutaway views of museums, cathedrals, and other must-see sights; detailed street maps; a handy phrase section; advice on the best places to eat, drink, shop, sleep, and be entertained; and a Survival Guide to help the traveler sort out essential information such as currency, transportation, and communications. As world traveler and TV personality Michael Palin says, "the Eyewitness Travel Guides are irresistibly seductive.... They also deliver where it matters most -- uncluttered and accurate information."

Begin your exotic journey to Thailand with the only handbook you'll need -- DK's Eyewitness Travel Guide: Thailand. Highlighted by more than 1200 exclusive color photographs, this invaluable reference divides Thailand into five regional chapters and an additional eighty-page section covering Bangkok, all with illustrated maps of the country's terrain, main roadways, and attractions. Bangkok is broken into five areas that are easily navigated using accurate street-by-street maps, and graphic aerial views. The splendid Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaeo (Thailand's holiest temple) are explored in 3-D overviews, ground plans, photos of architectural highlights, a historical timeline, and a visitors' checklist. The spectacular ruined cities of old Sukhothai and Ayutthaya kingdoms are two of the prime sights of Thailand's Central Plains, and are outlined in previews complete with photos of their impressive engravings and reliefs, as well as historical timelines. The guide also includes a special layout showcasing Northern Thailand's famous arts and handicrafts -- carved wooden figures, ceremonial silver, colorful textiles, and lacquerwork -- while another spotlights the region's numerous rare and exotic bird species. Exquisite coral reefs, sandy beaches, magnificent seaside cliffs, breathtaking mountains and monsoon forests are some of the natural wonders captured in spectacular photos found in the book's overview of Southern Thailand. From Thailand's ancient history to modern customs to a glossary of Thai foods to transportation throughout this vast country, here is the only companion you'll need as you journey through this popular southeast Asian country. ... Read more

Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars Best travel book I have ever read!
If you are looking for a Thailand travel book, this is it. The many beautiful pictures and the well written articles on every aspect of Thai culture are invaluable for the traveller or the person who simply dreams of exotic locales. Definitely a must purchase!

3-0 out of 5 stars Out Of Date
This is a great book with beautiful pictures, maps and nice glossy color pages. The only problem being that it is out of date! Having said that, I would not recommend it for your guide book if travelling to Thailand. Wait for an updated issue.
I am well travelled in Thailand and some of the descriptions in the book make me feel like I was travelling in Thailand 20 years ago! Hope this helps...

5-0 out of 5 stars Traveling To Thailand?
I found Eyewitness Travel Guide for Thailand very informative, and easy to read. It had tons of pictures, facts, FYIs, and did I mention pictures? Like Eyewitness I agree that a picture is worth a thousand words. I also bought Lonely Planet's Travel Guide for Thailand, but liked Eyewitness' much better. Lonely Planet's Travel Guide had a more standard layout for the abundant amount of facts, but was limited on the pictures. The phrase at the bottom of Eyewitness' book holds true, "The Guides That Show You What Others Only Tell You."

2-0 out of 5 stars Limited excellence
There are detailed graphics, maps, and explanations of cultural issues not found in other guide books. However, they exclude major attractions and maps and attractions can be severely inaccurate. It's good for preparing a trip, but it's too heavy and not helpful enough to bring with you.

5-0 out of 5 stars best book on Thailand
This is by far the best travel book on Thailand I've found so far. It had everything I needed to plan my trip, and the pictures were beautiful. ... Read more


36. Learning to Bow : Inside the Heart of Japan
by Bruce Feiler
list price: $13.95
our price: $10.46
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060577207
Catlog: Book (2004-05-01)
Publisher: Perennial
Sales Rank: 37409
Average Customer Review: 3.77 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Learning to Bow has been heralded as one of the funniest, liveliest, and most insightful books ever written about the clash of cultures between America and Japan. With warmth and candor, Bruce Feiler recounts the year he spent as a teacher in a small rural town. Beginning with a ritual outdoor bath and culminating in an all-night trek to the top of Mt. Fuji, Feiler teaches his students about American culture, while they teach him everything from how to properly address an envelope to how to date a Japanese girl.

... Read more

Reviews (22)

5-0 out of 5 stars This is how it really is
Bruce Feiler was one of the first participants on the JET program, a program sponsored by the Japanese government to bring foreign young people to Japan for the purposes of education and "internationalization." While Feiler's experiences are a little unusual, in that he can already speak Japanese when he arrives and the events at his school are rather dramatic, overall his story reflects the life of a typical JET program participant. The culture shock, the unbending bureaucracy, the complex and often disaffected attitudes of students, the instant celebrity and lack of privacy that goes with it, are all symptoms that JETs experience. I read the book and often found myself nodding in agreement, having experience the same events and feelings myself. If you want to have an intimate look at the world of education in Japan today, Feiler's book is an excellent place to start. If you are thinking about joining the JET program, this book is a must, along with Importing Diversity.

3-0 out of 5 stars Learning to Bow
Although Feiler paints a detailed, and often humorous picture of life in a Japanese public school, his picture is far too clean. He strikes me as being a bit like the foreign talents that work in Japan who have been neutured by Japanese society to make them more palletable to their xenophbic audience. I felt like the Ministry of Education had come through and ereased the negative comments before I could read them. So, in short: it is a well-written book, but should not be the final word on an outsider's perspective on the Japanese educational system.

4-0 out of 5 stars Useful Information For Any Gaijin in Japan
This book is useful for anyone moving to Japan, either as part of the JET Programme or any other reason. After living in Japan for a few years (not on the JET Programme) I recognized a lot of truth to what Feiler had to say. This book also provided me with an inside look at and the pros and cons of the Japanese school system. Through my own experience, I honestly am amazed at the amount of pressure placed on students to do well in school in Japan. For the most part, the students' effort pays off when they are accepted into a great high school or college, regardless of the two-hour-one-way commute some of them endure. At the same time, however, I wish the school system in Japan encouraged students to be more creative and that the environment allowed them to learn more about the world around them. Despite that, though, the Japanese people make great students and are some of the nicest people you'll meet in your life. This book, through the author's experiences in Tochigi Prefecture, show this and more, all in an entertaining, well-written way. And if for that reason alone, this book is worth reading once for anyone interested in Japan.

5-0 out of 5 stars Cultural lessons disquised by an American sensei in Japan
Bruce Fielder pens the story of his experience as an English Teacher in Japan. Similar to "You Gotta Have Wa", this book is more about the experiences of an outsider fitting in to Japan than the occupational hazards of teaching English. To use his own words, Fielder really does cut into the heart of Japan. Interspersed between stories of the challenges of the educational system are many deeper lessons. Included are an explanation of the importance of group harmony and identity, how co-workers balance formal working relationships with personal bonds, and how personal development differs between Japan and the West.

Perhaps my only struggle was hearing how hard it was for the author to find a date in Japan. Japan is legendary for English teachers "punching above their weight" and finding girlfriend's well out of their league in the US. But perhaps the book would have lost it's tone and cultural insights if it degenerated into a story of how many girls the author picked up.

The book has held up remarkably over the past 10 years. Despite the bursting of the Japanese bubble, the cultural lessons ring true today. I recommend the book to anyone interested in Japan, independent of occupation.

2-0 out of 5 stars rather offensive to a fellow American
I am an easy audience and for the first twenty pages or so, I was really set to enjoy this book.

Then I found myself gradually more and more frustrated when Mr. Feiler would stop to explain how some event or peculiar classroom trend he experienced was obviously due to blah blah blah historical or cultural Japanese dynamic...for pages upon pages. If I wanted to study social complexities, I think I could read Reischauer or someone with ample expertise.

He also maintains quite an attitude of American superiority over the absurd Japanese way of doing things. He seems to think himself immune to this, though, because he has learned Japanese. He even goes so far in one chapter to discuss his anxieties about the feasibility of engaging in intimate acts with a Japanese woman due to his highly developed gringo genitalia. He also seemed obsessed with the fact that he was taller than almost all Japanese people. If there is one thing you will learn in this book, it is that Bruce Feiler is 6'4". His light humility is hardly bevievable.

Despite the vast network of superiority complexes seen in this specimen, this book is periodically entertaining. However,I think it is not worth your time, ... Read more


37. Lonely Planet Indonesia, Seventh Edition
by Patrick Witton, Mark Elliott, Paul Greenway, Virginia Jealous, Etain O'Carroll, Nick Ray, Alan Tarbell, Matt Warren
list price: $29.99
our price: $19.79
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1740591542
Catlog: Book (2003-11-01)
Publisher: Lonely Planet Publications
Sales Rank: 96212
Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Island-hop Indonesia - the ultimate adventure. Explore cobalt-blue volcanic lakes, steaming rainforests and dreamlike coral reefs. Immerse yourself in the archipelago's unique spectrum of cultures. Experience it all with this indispensable guide.

  • 219 detailed and easy-to-read maps
  • thousands of accommodation and restaurant options
  • detailed info on Indonesian crafts, including ikat, gold and silver jewellery, and pottery
  • colour section on climbing and surviving Indonesia's 129 volcanoes
  • mini-guide to the best surf breaks
... Read more

Reviews (5)

4-0 out of 5 stars Good, but Could Be Better
This is currently the best overall guide to Indonesia for independent travellers. It covers enough attractions to keep people occupied for months, and is more than enough for those with an average interest in the country.
As usual with this series, it is strong on practical details like prices, public transport and city maps, though one should never forget that prices in particular will have changed by the time one gets there - this 7th edition was researched in 2002, and reflects the situation as it was then.
There is also more than enough background information about culture and history for most readers.
Note however that coverage of remoter, less-visited regions is poorer - the chapter on Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo) is nearly useless, and the one on Papua (Indonesian New Guinea) is little better.
Those with a deeper interest in Indonesia, or with an interest in a particular region, might want more detailed guides to those areas - Lonely Planet has great guides to Java and Nusa Tenggara, while Periplus has eight separate ones to all parts of the country, though the Periplus ones are best backed up with this book for practical details.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good Starting Point, Reference Material
This is a good guidebook and fairly accurate. In a country like Indonesia, however, things change quickly so use this book as a reference not as a bible. Do you own research and talk to other travellers. Since LP Indo is the default travellers' guide to this region, most of the restaurants and hotels are not the best values. Many get a steady stream of customers just because of a good review and never bother to maintain the facilities. The best deals require a lot of footwork and bargaining! Also, bus/boat schedules always change. So don't plan a rigid itinerary based on the data in this book. I know a couple that lost a week because they planned a trip around a ferry described in this book but didn't actually exist! Be prepared to wait if you're going off the beaten path. Some boat services are infrequent between the islands.

Learning some bahasa indonesia always helps bargaining. The language section is adequate but the phrasebook is much better.

5-0 out of 5 stars Way cool book
This is the most detailed book for a big place like indonesia. Indonesia (outside of Jakarta/Bali) is a perfect match of lonely planet's specialty in off the beaten track and/or budget traveling. Every part of Indonesia is covered, except for the small islands between Sumatra and Kalimantan that might be cool to check out. Its not the Riau - that's covered in detail. It has minimal coverage of the Natuna islands. I'm interested in the islands further south - Tambeian Islands, Dadas Isalands, and Pulau Pejantan. Once they add coverage to these islands then this book will be perfection. This book also a lot of information on Indonesian culture, about a 40% overlap with the culture shock indonesia book.

So far I plan a 2 month trip to indonesia. Fly to hong kong, spend 1-2 nights there. Then fly to malaysia or jakarta (whichever is cheaper). Then take a boat to Pontianak, spend some time there and sinkawang (probably a week). Check out the islands between kalimantan and sumatra (1-2 weeks). Then go to the todgean islands, getting their via ujung padang to ambon and then spend the rest of the time (probably a month) chillin and snorkeling / scuba diving. Then go back trhough jakarta or malaysia, spend another 1-2 nights in hong kong, and then come home.

4-0 out of 5 stars Indon - easier !
~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

This is a valuable text for the economical traveller who wishes to enjoy the people,customs and natural beauties of this country.

It has all the usual features many have come to expect from the 'Lonely Planet' guides.Good area/city maps,travel details, pointers for the culinary delicacies of particular areas,good information on inexpensive places to stay,as well as fascinating sights,places and people to visit,a brief introduction to the(amazingly simple and easy to learn)language,and interesting cultural,religious and other useful notes.

This edition and it`s excellent predecessors have played a major part in assisting me in all of my travels to Indonesia,in both the planning and research stages,and during the travel itself.I am certain that I would not have travelled to some of the unique and rarely visited places that I was privileged to see without the aid of this weighty and at times indispensible tome.

However,the most important thing to take with you is an open mind and heart,a friendly nature,and a desire to get to know the people and their customs.(Language is a great help too.)These ingredients(and the book !)tend to make for a most memorable and enjoyable stay. Bon Voyage !

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

5-0 out of 5 stars All you need for travelling
On planning a trip to indonesia I found this guide book from the Lonely Planet Series. I was attracted by the clear concept of the book that makes it easy to find the information, that you need. It provides all the necessary information for a traveller who wants to get of the beaten trak, but also includes the "must see" sights. Specially the Places to Stay and Places to Eat sections are clear and give good and reliable information. It made my trip to indonesia easy and worth a while. I strongly recomend a Lonely Planet book if you like to travel and you want to see as much as possible. ... Read more


38. Afghanistan: Crosslines Essential Field Guides to Humanitarian and Conflict Zones
by Jonathan Walter, Charles Norchi
list price: $29.95
our price: $18.87
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 297001761X
Catlog: Book (2004-01)
Publisher: Media Action International
Sales Rank: 22949
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Updated to reflect recent events, this guidebook provides a unique and indispensable tool for anyone working and traveling in Afghanistan. Specially commissioned articles from leading experts in the field examine Afghanistan’s historical legacy and contemporary milieu, covering everything from the security situation and the resurgence of the Taliban to two decades of human rights abuses and the current situation of women. Street maps for all major cities, practical advice on daily survival, important contacts, and a list of key phrases make this an essential practical resource for any visitor to Afghanistan. Detailed information and statistics on key political and humanitarian sectors are included. This replaces 2970017601. ... Read more

Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Best book on Afghanistan
This is an excellent guide to Afghanistan. Both for the expert and the newcomer. Given the current security situation in Afghanistan, I would recommend the Essential Field Guide as a must to all US and Coalition soldiers and peacekeepers. It could save their lives and US policy.

The guide provides exactly the sort of quick understanding with excellent overviews and infobriefs on culture, economies, health, environment, ethnic groups etc. that would prove more than useful through a more thorough understanding of this country and its people. Edward Girardet, who has written for the Christian Science Monitor and National Geographic, is also one of the top experts on the country since first reporting it at the beginning of the Soviet invasion. Apart from its information, the guide is simply a joy - and incredibly interesting - to read. Anyone serious about Afghanistan - aid worker, journalist, diplomat, academic, traveller, human rights advocate...should have a copy if not in their pocket then certainly on their bookshelves. Political science and journalism students should also study this as a must. It beats most other books on Afghanistan. Girardet and Walter and the Crosslines publishers should definitely do other books on humanitarian and conflict zones elsewhere. If they can do the same for Africa or the Middle East as they have with Afghanistan, they are doing an incredible service to all concerned.

5-0 out of 5 stars Afghanistan fieldguide tells the full story
Crosslines Essential Field Guide to Afghanistan tells the full story about Afghanistan in a way I can't find in any other book. Whether it's politics, culture or humanitarian information you're after - it's all in there. I never realised how big those Buddhas were that the Taliban blew up until I saw a picture in this book! If you want to understand more about the country at the centre of world news, this is the book to buy!

5-0 out of 5 stars Update on the Essential Field Guide to Afghanistan
CROSSLINES ESSENTIAL FIELD GUIDE TO AFGHANISTAN

Published by CROSSLINES Global Report and Media Action International (formerly the International Centre for Humanitarian Reporting-ICHR)

The Crosslines Essential Field Guide to AFGHANISTAN Is the only detailed guidebook dealing with the current situation of the country available in English. Although certain elements in the book have been overtaken by recent events, the field guide is still essential reading for all journalists, aid workers, diplomats and military personnel operating in the region or otherwise interested in Afghanistan. Journalists and relief workers from the BBC, TIME, UNHCR, UNICEF and other media or aid groups have already informed us that the Essential Guide to AFGHANISTAN is the best thing going for quick and informed background information.

The book features over 500 pages of political, humanitarian and military analysis, biographies of key Taliban and opposition players, essential information briefs on agriculture, medical relief, environment, culture etc. as well as all regions of the country, street maps, advice on health and security, phrasebooks in Persian and Pashto, contact details for diplomats, aid agencies and journalists. Specially commissioned essays written leading experts analyse the country's political, military, humanitarian, and cultural situation. All country data was collated through first hand field research the editors.

The editors are Edward Girardet (a journalist and former correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor; also author of Afghanistan - the Soviet War) and Jonathan Walter (a former officer with the British Army's Brigade of Gurkhas, and editor of the World Disasters Report)

5-0 out of 5 stars Handbook for relief workers in Afghanistan.
This book was made for the use of relief workers working in Afghanistan. Aid for Aid participated in helping provide the maps for this book . ... Read more


39. China (Rough Guide China)
by David Leffman, Simon Lewis, Jeremy Atiyah, Mike Meyer, Susie Lunt
list price: $28.95
our price: $19.11
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1843530198
Catlog: Book (2003-05-01)
Publisher: Rough Guides Limited
Sales Rank: 46090
Average Customer Review: 3.55 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Book Description

INTRODUCTION

China has grown up alone and aloof, cut off from the rest of Eurasia by the Himalayas to the south and the Siberian steppe to the north. For the last three millennia, while empires, languages and peoples in the rest of the world rose, blossomed and disappeared without trace, China has been busy largely recycling itself. The ferocious dragons and lions of Chinese statuary have been produced for 25 centuries or more, and the script still used today reached perfection at the time of the Han dynasty, two thousand years ago. Until the late nineteenth century, the only foreigners China saw – apart from occasional ruling elites of Mongol and Manchu origin, who quickly became assimilated – were visiting merchants from far-flung shores or uncivilized nomads from the wild steppe: peripheral, unimportant and unreal.

Today, while there is no sign of the Communist Party relinquishing power, the negative stories surrounding China – the runaway pollution, the oppression of dissidents, the harsh treatment of criminal suspects and the imperialist behaviour towards Tibet and other minority regions – are only part of the picture. As the Party moves ever further away from hard-line political doctrine and towards economic pragmatism, China is undergoing a huge commercial and creative upheaval. A country the size of ten Japans has entered the world market: Hong Kong-style city skylines are rearing up all across China, and tens of millions of people are finding jobs that earn them a spending power their parents could never have known. Whatever the reasons you are attracted to China, the sheer pace of change, visible in every part of Chinese life, will ensure that your trip is a unique one.

The first thing that strikes visitors to China is the extraordinary density of its population. In central and eastern China, villages, towns and cities seem to sprawl endlessly into one another along the grey arteries of busy expressways. These are the Han Chinese heartlands, a world of chopsticks, tea, slippers, massed bicycles, shadow-boxing, exotic pop music, teeming crowds, chaotic train stations, smoky temples, red flags and the smells of soot and frying tofu. Move west or north away from the major cities, however, and the population thins out as it begins to vary: indeed, large areas of the People’s Republic are inhabited not by the "Chinese", but by more than two hundred distinct ethnic minorities, ranging from animist hill tribes to urban Muslims. Here the landscape begins to dominate: green paddy fields and misty hilltops in the southwest, the scorched, epic vistas of the old Silk Road in the northwest, and the magisterial mountains of Tibet.

While travel around the country itself is seldom problematic, it would be wrong to pretend that it is an entirely easy matter to penetrate modern China. The tourist highlights – the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, the Terracotta Army and Yangzi gorges – are relatively few considering the size of the country. In particular, recent modernizations have, quite deliberately, destroyed much of the historic architecture which would have lent Chinese cities the character enjoyed by those in Europe or the Middle East. On top of this are the frustrations of travelling in a land where few people speak English, the writing system is alien and foreigners are regularly viewed as exotic objects of intense curiosity, or as fodder for overcharging – though overall you’ll find that the Chinese, despite a reputation for curtness, are generally hospitable and friendly. ... Read more

Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars Up to the usual Rough Guide stardard
The Rough Guides are considered among the "cream of the crop" in the guidebook world, and this book is no exception. I used it extensively in the planning phase of my recent month-long trip to China, and it was very helpful.

The background sections of the book are outstanding, giving the reader a solid overview of Chinese history and culture. The primary sites of interest to travelers are adequately covered as well, and so the book is very helpful in planning one's itinerary.

The main drawback of the volume is it's weight. If you are backpacking in China, as I was, this book is pretty heavy to be lugging around. Therefore, unless you are staying in China more than a couple of weeks, you might consider looking at the smaller city guides.....or ripping the necessary sections out of this book and packing only those in your rucksack.

Highly recommended for pre-trip planning at home. Recommended for packing and taking to China *if* you are going on an extended trip to the country.

5-0 out of 5 stars roughguides China
I traveled extensively throughout China in 1998, and I found the roughguide a much more practical book for getting around. The charts inside the guide allow you to find the information quickly, whereas the other popular guide forces you to flip through pages with apparent random entires of Chinese Characters, which can be frustrating and stressful when you climb into a chinese taxi in the middle of the road, and you need to show the driver where you want to go. Although lonely planet seems to have more detailed information, the well organized layout of the Roughguide makes it ten times more desireable when your actually on the road. I'm looking forward to the new edition, as I left my roughguide in China with a friend who only had a lonely planet!

4-0 out of 5 stars Best guide to China you can get, get it before Lonely planet
I can't fully agree with negative review of this book. I'm living in China for three years now. I got many guides to China I use them quite a lot during my traveling in here. Sure there is maybe a few thing missing and there are some mistakes in this book but it is still the best. I find it much more accurate and detailed than last edition of Lonely Planet.

It's best all around travel guide for China.

If you want to get and bring just one get this one.

1-0 out of 5 stars 2003 EDITION - VERY ROUGH INDEED
This book presents itself as a revised edition, but it is very
little more than a prettied-up reprint of the text from three
years ago, and some of that was a bit long in the tooth then.

The first and second editions carried great promise, worthy
competitors for the boys from LP. To represent the third as
having been "updated" is merely a deception. It would have been
better not done at all.

The book is a curiosity. The title-page has it "written and
researched" by the same three authors as the previous edition
more than three years ago, but "this edition updated" by two
others. It's not clear that the original three have contributed
any "research" at all that was not reflected in the previous
edition. Nor is it even quite clear that the two "updaters"
have actually been on the ground in China. The "updating" is in
fact so slight that it could almost have been done by a
desk-bound clerk on the strength of readers' reports, with

perhaps the odd nod in the direction of the Lonely Planet Thorn
Tree.

The new edition has more pages, but that's explained by a
slightly larger type-face; finer paper; unchanged net weight.
A second colour introduced throughout, with improved visual
presentation, a bit prettier. And not many other changes.

Chinese names and words still without tone-marks in the main
body of the text - a shortcoming that was never really excusable
and which has been merely unacceptable since Lonely Planet bit
that particular bullet.

There is scarcely a town or locality mentioned that is not
included in the previous edition. No one who is on the ball in
the matter of China travel could fail to discover many more
places worthy of attention than he knew about three years
before. And circumstances change as well: more than a year
before the last edition, all of western Sichuan was opened for
the first time, but the vast treasure of the previously
forbidden region is still undiscovered by the new edition of
this (very) rough guide. The wonderfully scenic Muli and
Yanyuan counties in southern Sichuan have been open for years
but (apart from one passing reference to Yanyuan) rate no
mention. Yushu Prefecture in southern Qinghai, with all
counties open at least since mid-2001, is not mentioned; indeed
apart from Xining district and Golmud (Geermo) there's hardly a
mention of any part of Qinghai province at all.

Of course I can't expect even the best guidebook to discover all
the places I may have discovered and found worthwhile - the
Mekong in north-west Yunnan, Yulin in northern Shaanxi,
Shibaoshan in western Yunnan, Daocheng and the Yading Reserve,
not to mention secret places in Tibet that I'd perhaps rather
keep to myself, nor the phenomenal valley of the Salween in
western Yunnan. The trouble is that this book has found very
few new places (though there's a tantalising addition of almost
impossibly remote Loulan and a couple of extra morsels on the
"southern Silk Road" - a reader's letter perhaps?)

Then there are the occasions when I've found the previous
edition mistaken or misleading - Chishui, Matang, Tiger-Leaping
Gorge, Ruili district, Sanying hotel open to foreigners (well,
it is if you threaten the PSB with an international incident
failing their acquiescence), Pingliang hotel; and so on. Any
corrections? Not one that I can find.

Some details of hotel tariffs, telephone numbers, admission
charges and so on have been changed, but they are generally far
too few to lend any confidence in the reliability of what has
not been changed; a number I've been able to check are just
wrong.

The maps are now far too few, the provincial (or
multi-provincial) maps just too simplified; the largest scale
for some provinces is one to twenty million. Even so, how
revealing for the text to say that "Weixi marks the end of the
road" (from the east)! Tell that to the mini-bus drivers who
drive another 220km north to Deqin, from where the road
continues all the way to Lhasa and beyond! The railway line
between Changsha and north-western Hunan (which cut the journey
from Zhangjiajie to Changsha to about six hours when it had
already been commissioned three years ago) is not shown.

Good points? There's a new "food and drink glossary", which is
to say phrase-list. The paper is excellent - strong and
light, perhaps better than the heavier paper of the Lonely
Planet, so that there are about 30% more pages but 10% less
overall weight. There must be more words in the Rough Guide,
but I doubt there is more information, regardless of its
accuracy.

4-0 out of 5 stars Among the very best for this unique world called China.
The question is not how do you cover the world's largest and most populated country (as big as all the countries of Europe combined), but rather, how do you visit such a vast, multi cultured world as China? The first step is to arm oneself with the best travel guides on the market. "China: The Rough Guide" is one such guide.

"China: The Rough Guide" is designed for those that have more than a week or two in China. It is NOT a pocket guide (almost 2 lbs.) and more than 1100 pages. In this tome, Leffman, Lewis & Atiyah captures the best of China and give you the low down on what you must see while in China

Straight off the introduction in this guide is one of the most engaging I have ever read, "China is not so much another country as another world; chopsticks, tea, slippers, massed bicycles, shadow boxing, exotic pop music, karakoe, teeming crowds, Dickensian train stations . . . one of the world's largest economies." The maps (a critical element in any guide) are among the best found in a guide to date. Each restaurant and accommodation that is listed in the guide is marked on the maps (ya gotta love it).

The terse 3000-year history is as well written as objective as history can be, and thorough enough for most visitors. There is an outstanding appendix section, titled: "Context," covering, besides history, architecture, art, film, music and an excellent book list. The recommendations for accommodations and restaurants are reliable and up to date.

However, this is not a perfect guide (5 stars). One of the weak areas of the guide is the omission of an accommodation or a restaurant index. Thus, if you have a recommended restaurant you want to look up, you have to go through all the restaurant pages 'til you stumble across the name you seek or miss seeing it completely.

Another significant shortcoming is the lack of website and email addresses for hotels. Phone and fax numbers are provided but, considering the cost, nothing beats email. This is a significant omission, especially considering that the guide has a 2000 publishing date and most major Chinese hotels are now Internet connected,

Though the 'Basic Section' is up to guide books' standards, and has a few interesting sections (i.e., recommended tours, China Online Etc.) I found some of the information needed updating. Northwest Airlines is NOT the only airline that flies non-stop from mainland US to China, United Airlines also does (though the service is sub-par and the seats very cramped, I would not-recommended you flying UAL). Also, there is NO website information for any of the airlines.

I am disappointed that the 'boxed' vignettes are few and far between in this guide. There is no mention of Falun Gong and only a scant mention of the Three River Gorge Dam. Usually Rough Guides are much better in this area.

Finally, an ongoing peeve that I have about Rough Guides, is the use of a number system to quote the price range of a hotel, i.e., the 'Friendship Hotel' is listed to cost a '6'. For a '6' you have to flip back to the numeric legion where you find out that '6' = 600 to 800 yuans, which you then divide by the current rate of exchange. As other guides simply demonstrate, there are better ways to help your reader gage approximate cost.

If you are going to just be in and around Beijing or Shanghai then this guide at 1100 pages may be an over kill. You would be better off with Rough Guide: Beijing, Cadogan's Beijing or Lonely Planet Shanghai (all highly recommended guides, see my reviews). However if you are going to explore this great country then 'China: The Rough Guide' will be a welcome companion. Recommended ... Read more


40. Fodor's Moscow and St. Petersburg, 6th Edition (Fodor's Moscow and St Petersburg)
by Not Available, Deborah Kaufman
list price: $20.00
our price: $13.60
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1400013690
Catlog: Book (2004-08-24)
Publisher: Fodor's
Sales Rank: 165132
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Book Description

Gold-domed churches, sunset-hue palaces, lollipop-stripe cathedrals, lavish wooden dachas, and jeweled Fabergé creations all engage your imagination in Moscow and St. Petersburg.Follow in the footsteps of a tsar at the Kremlin, stamped by rulers from Ivan the Terrible to the Romanovs. Venture to still-imperial St. Petersburg and elbow with the spirits of Dostoevsky and Tchaikovsky.Our local writers have found the best hotels, restaurants, attractions and activities to prepare you for your journey.Before you leave, be sure to pack your Fodor's guide to ensure you don't miss a thing.

The San Francisco Chronicle sums it up best - "Fodor's guides are saturated with information."

- Two-color interior design makes it easier to find the information you need
- Fodor's Choice Ratings flag must-see sights and hidden treasures
- Hotel and restaurant reviews cover all budgets
- Plus multi-day itineraries to help you build the right trip for you and/or your family
... Read more


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