Robert Reid is a long time Lonely Planet writer who has published a complete guide to Vietnam for free on the Web. If you’re heading to Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh, make sure you check it out
If you’re heading to Vietnam, make sure you visit Robert Reid’s website ReidOnTravel.com. There you’ll find a complete guidebook to Vietnam available online, neatly divided up into useful sections to help you navigate through the different areas of the country. It was published in 2007 and is the equivalent of 180 pages of guidebook text and it has free PDF maps too. So even if it’s a little out of date, it has a ton of useful info to help get your head round Vietnam. Robert is a long time Lonely Planet editor and writer, having written and contributed to numerous LP guidebooks – most recently Burma, Colombia, Bulgaria and Russia’s Far East.
In terms of why he created the guide, Robert has a great summary:
Everything you need for a trip to Vietnam is here: maps, hotel recommendations of all budgets, restaurants, travel agents to trust, bus/train/plane info. The biggest difference is that it’s free! And I give far more frank, personal recommendations than you’ll see in guidebooks, who have to be more measured in how high they gloat over places. I’ve visited all the sites here (other than a couple secluded, luxury beach resorts, which I flag in text) and ‘tell it like I would tell my friends.’ In some cases, I box unworthy hotels in ‘No!’ sections — I’m not trying to pick on poor choices, but flag ones that otherwise have reputation or visibility when you get into town.
One of the key things I heard from readers when working in-house at Lonely Planet is the idea of interactive guides – where travelers could customize their guides so they wouldn’t have to tote a full book, but only what they needed. Well, here it is – you can print just sections you want, or refer to by the Internet on the road. Up to you – it’s your trip.
Meanwhile, if you’re looking for up to the minute Vietnam information that won’t cost the earth, we highly recommend Travelfish’s PDF guides to Vietnam. You can purchase these guides for just the bits of Vietnam that you’re visiting, and each one has full info on cheap hotels, what to see and how to get around without it costing a fortune.