Monday, March 3, 2014

Indonesia (Lonely Planet Travel Guides)

This is currently by default both the best overall guide to Indonesia for independent traveller, and the only one that is remotely up to date.
The competition (Moon, Footprint, Rough Guides) seems to have given up covering this vast archipelago years ago. For this reason alone, the book still gets 4 stars from me, despite some shortcomings and amusingly striking errors outlined later.
It definitely 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 covers practical details like prices, public transport and city maps, though unusually for Lonely Planet, many prices in this book (especially for public transport and guiding services) seem to be the result of guesswork by the authors, and even a year after the book was published, I found that they were actually considerably LOWER than those listed here!
There is also more than enough background information about culture and history for most readers, although unfortunately some useful things that were still present in the previous edition, like an overview of national parks and the longer lists of recommended books about various aspects and regions of the country have now been removed. Many less frequented islands, towns and areas that were still described in several previous editions have now been omitted, too.
On a brighter note, there is realistic, up to date assesment of the much-improved security situation in formerly strife-torn regions like Aceh and Maluku, encouraging tourists to return there.
Indonesia (Lonely Planet Travel Guides) Originally published in Shvoong:

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