The Rough Guide First-Time Asia is the perfect comprehensive planning guide for anyone thinking about heading to Asia for the first time. It includes general information on what tickets to buy, where to stay, what to eat and how to stay healthy. There are 21 individual country profiles highlighting the best places to visit with country specific websites and necessary budget information. It is designed to answer the ''soft'' issues not addressed by country-specific guides, for example, how to lessen the culture shock of your very first night in Asia; what to think about if you''re considering travelling on your own; how to be a responsible traveller and what to do when you return home. This guide is designed for the weeks/months before you get on the plane.
Lesley Reader and Lucy Ridout have together, nearly thirty years'' worth of experience writing about Asia. Lucy Ridout is the co-author of Rough Guides to Thailand, Thailand''s Beaches & Islands and Bangkok. They are also co-authors of the Rough Guide to Bali and Lombok.
PREPARING FOR THE BIG ADVENTURE We’ve both made plenty of mistakes and faux pas during our fifteen years of travels in Asia, and this book is a distillation of what we’ve learnt. First-Time Asia is full of the advice we give to friends heading out to Asia for the first time, and it’s the book we both could have done with before setting off on our own first trips. Since then we’ve returned again and again, backpacking across India, China and Southeast Asia; living and working in the Himalayas, Thailand and Japan; and researching and writing guidebooks to Indonesia, Thailand and Tibet. And we still choose to go back to Asia for our holidays, attracted by the chaos and drama of daily lives that still seem extraordinary to us, by the food, the landscapes and the climate, by the generosity and friendship of the people and by the sheer buzz we get from hanging out in cultures that are so different from our own.
This book is intended to prepare you for your big adventure, whether it’s a fortnight in Malaysia or twelve months across the continent. It is not a guidebook: it’s a book to read before you go, a planning handbook to help you make decisions about what type of trip you’d like to make. And, because we can’t pretend to have explored every single corner of Asia ourselves, we’ve also included tips, advice and stories from lots of other travellers.
The first questions you’ll need to address are which parts of Asia to visit and, much more difficult, which places to leave out. The opening section of the book, Where To Go, looks at your options. We focus on the twenty most accessible and most visited countries of Asia, giving you an opinionated taste of what these destinations have in store for first-timers. Each country profile includes a round-up of the major highlights and tourist activities as well as a selection of personal recommendations and lesser-known gems, plus contact details for tourist offices and embassies. The most remote parts of the continent, north and west of Pakistan, rarely feature on first-timers’ itineraries, so we haven’t included them in this book. Burma (Myanmar) is also omitted in the hope that travellers will uphold the boycott on tourism requested by Aung San Suu Kyi, the democratically elected leader of the country.
The middle section of First-Time Asia, The Big Adventure, deals with the nuts and bolts. This is where you’ll find chapters on how to choose the right ticket and which guidebooks and websites to consult, plus advice on how long you can afford to stay away and what gear to pack. The second half of this section looks at life on the road in Asia, advising you on how to stay safe and healthy while you’re away, grounding you in local cultural do’s and don’ts, and giving you an idea of what to expect in terms of hotels and bus services. And finally, the Basics section at the back of the book is stuffed full of useful addresses, websites and phone numbers for further information on everything from discount flight agents and backpackers’ homepages to mosquito-net suppliers and conservation projects.
Even after you’ve digested First Time Asia, we can’t guarantee that you’ll avoid every problem on the road, but hopefully you’ll at least feel well prepared – and excited. When you come back from your trip, be sure to send in your own anecdotes for inclusion in the next edition. We can promise you’ll have plenty of great stories to tell.
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Rough Guide to First Time Asia
By Charles M. Kennedy
Seems to have a wide range of useful information for first-timers to numerous countries in a region that is striking for its diversity from one country to another. The book is geared more for independent, personal travelers and not so much for business travelers (which I was).