Introductory Vietnam Guidebook

Dec 18th, 2010, 11:29 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2010
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Introductory Vietnam Guidebook


I'm relatively new to the forums but have found them very helpful. I've started planning a week trip for my wife and I to Vietnam next summer - we currently live in NYC. I've done some basic reading on Vietnam on this forum, but before asking detailed questions, I was wondering if anyone had suggestions as to a good guidebook that would give us the basics on the main cities of Vietnam (Hanoi, Hoi Ann, Hue, Ho Chi Minn, etc)? After skimming through the guidebook, we hope to then use this forum and possibly a travel agent to help plan our trip

mscott2010 is offline  
Dec 18th, 2010, 12:15 PM
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Interesting question. I've been looking myself, and saw several that covered either several countries in SE Asia, or included one other such Laos, Cambodia, etc. (which we've been to and aren't returning to this time). Then I came across a National Geographic one devoted to Vietnam that I bought. As you'd expect, rich in photos. but fairly informative as well. I figured I could get recs for hotels and restaurants from this forum or TA.
Check the publication date closely of anything you're considering buying. They go out of date quickly, and many are older books with very minimal new info. Frommers though has a Vietnam guidebook that just came out this year that looks like it might be the best of the lot.
WillJame is offline  
Dec 18th, 2010, 01:48 PM
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Visit a large bookstore and flick through the various guidebooks on offer. The publication date is obviously very important. Remember though that all of them were probably written (updated) months before and restaurants close, change cooks and ownership.

I use the Lonely Planet ones myself but I suspect it is a matter of personal preference. Have a great trip. I loved Vietnam and want to go back.
silverwool is offline  
Dec 18th, 2010, 01:55 PM
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Guide books have different styles. Personally, I don't like the Frommers guides, so I avoid them. I used Lonely Planet when I went to VN and found it very helpful.

It does help to be able to look through a guidebook before buying it, so you can see if you like the style.
Kathie is offline  
Dec 18th, 2010, 03:21 PM
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fodors, frommers, national geographic was my wife's fav...
rhkkmk is offline  
Dec 18th, 2010, 05:28 PM
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For choosing what you want to see, I like the series with lots of pictures - Insight, for instance. I borrow them from the library, or settle in with a cup of coffee and read them at the bookstore. It doesn't matter too much whether they're up to date. Then for logistics I usually buy Lonely Planet, although they've let me down a few times lately. Rough Guide or Moon or Footprint would also work if you prefer their format.
thursdaysd is offline  
Dec 19th, 2010, 02:19 AM
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Rough Guide, Lonely Planet and Frommers were what we used...

Lonely Planet has an especially good guide called Hanoi, Halong Bay Encounter.
Craig is offline  
Dec 19th, 2010, 02:55 AM
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Fodors and frommers are good for general, luxury type travel Lonely Planet and Rough Guides tend to cater for the backpacker section of teh tourism market and, I feel are much better if you want to visit places off of teh mainstream tourist trails. All guidebooks are out of date as soon as they are printed but that doesn't matter to much as basics tend not to change too much but check teh publication/edition date. An online alternative which provided downloadable pdf. guide which are usually more up to date is|:
crellston is offline  
Dec 19th, 2010, 07:34 AM
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Another possibility that I should have mentioned above is buying the chapters of the Lonely Planet guide as .pdf files. You can buy all of the chapters on Vietnam that way for $20, or individual ones at $5 each. Probably worth it to pay $20 for the whole thing, and then just print what you need.
E.g., the cities you mention would be contained in 3 chapters. This way, you can take just the relevant parts along rather than toting an entire 550-page book. Then throw out what you no longer need as you go. You can reprint the parts you want for later reference on return home.
We did this a few years ago for Siem Reap and Luang Prabang, and it worked well.
You can also take this material with you on an iPhone or iPad.
WillJame is offline  
Dec 19th, 2010, 11:09 AM
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Thanks everyone for the very quick and very helpful replies. I went to the bookstore last week and I'm going again now. I will also check out the online websites and the video log, thanks for those suggestions, and will obviously use this great forum. I can't wait to get started on the trip planning, thanks again
mscott2010 is offline  
Dec 19th, 2010, 05:59 PM
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"rather than toting an entire 550-page book" - I cut the book up... But if you do download the chapters you can print them in a bigger font, which is especially helpful for the maps.
thursdaysd is offline  
Dec 19th, 2010, 10:56 PM
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We usually buy the lonely planet and the D&K Eyewiness guides, we buy them on ebay where you can usually get them for a fraction of the cost in a book store.
Clark55 is offline  
Dec 21st, 2010, 05:50 AM
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I especially liked the insights guides for Hanoi and HCMC. Lots of pics and DK guides are a favourite. I am HUGE fan of luxe guides. But they are add ons really, I love the pithy humour and they are updated twice a year. Used all the above for my trip to VN BUT nothing can replace the advice from the guys here!
Smeagol is offline  

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