Another Lonely Planet

cover of Lonely Planet Taiwan 7th editionWhen I first came to Taiwan back in 1999 I had a copy of the fourth edition of Lonely Planet Taiwan. I have since bought the fifth and sixth editions. The seventh edition of Lonely Planet Taiwan was published in November 2007 and I recently got a copy. 

The seventh edition was written by Robert Kelly and Joshua Samuel Brown, both long term residents of Taiwan. Robert Kelly also contributed to the sixth edition and Joshua is the author of Vignettes of Taiwan.  

Lonely Planet didn't just stick a new cover on an old book. The seventh edition has been extensively updated and includes some new places. The east coast section has been expanded with details of many of the interesting places between Taidong and Hualian as well as the expected coverage of these two cities. There is also more detailed coverage of Taiwan's islands. 

There are always a few places that will get left out of any guide book. Nanzhuang and Taipingshan were two that I thought were notable for their omission. However, I don't think this is such a bad thing. It still leaves a few interesting places for the traveller to discover and adds an element of surprise. There are also a number of places listed in the book that I had never heard of but am certainly curious to visit. The Danayigu Ecological Park is one. I suggest you read the book if you want to find out more. 

The coverage of hiking is great and there a range of hikes covered from easy walks that take a few hours to multi-day expeditions. I like the writing style of the with its many interesting little anecdotes.

There are plenty of maps, as is the standard for Lonely Planet guides. The map keys have place names written in English/Pinyin as well as Chinese characters. Names in the text also have pinyin with tone marks which should be useful for getting the pronunciation right. 

Overall, this is an excellent guide that would serve any traveller in Taiwan very well.

*purchase Lonely Planet Taiwan from Amazon.com

#also posted at Taiwanderful.  

9 thoughts on “Another Lonely Planet

  1. The Lonely Planet Taiwan Guides get better with each new edition. They’ve come a long way since the Robert Storey years, when the maps were riddled with errors, and there seemed to be more recommendations for Western-style restaurants than eateries serving Chinese/Taiwanese food.

  2. Good review. I picked up a copy a couple of days ago and was pleased to see a few new places in it. Also saw one of my photos in there, but credited to an agency I’d submitted it to instead of me.

  3. Even though I’ve been a fan of the LP series, I found the Taiwan Rough Guide to be much better than the Taiwan LP.

  4. Mei, I have both. I prefer the style and layout of Rough Guides. Both have their strengths and weaknesses in covering Taiwan.

  5. Have to disagree about this, David/Kaminoge. I bought my first LP Taiwan guide in 1996, when Richard Storey was the editor. The book contained a mountain of information on nearly every place (esp. temples) in Taiwan, and was by far one of the best investments I made in preparing to come here. It included bus routes to EVERYWHERE, info on which hotels/restaurants/shops were good/bad and was even useful for figuring out travel times by train/bus. Don’t know about the maps, but I’ve used several other LPs and that was definitely one of the best I’ve seen.

    By contrast, the LP Taiwan 7 doesn’t really have any of that stuff, and seems to be written for short-term visitors and casual tourists. But I’m not sure if it’s even useful for them, since I discovered–only after buying it–that it includes absolutely no information at all about the city of Ilan (宜蘭市)!? Moreover, it’s clearly geared towards non-backpackers who are supposedly more interested in understanding a bit about local culture and spends most of its time telling you which touristy restaurants and sites are best for a tourist like yourself. For example, Kaohsiung Fine Arts Museum gets one complete sentence: “The level of work on display is impressive.” Yeah, probably a few museum pieces in there even.

    In sum, if you’re a long-term expat or back-packer, I wouldn’t recommend buying this new edition–not enough information and will be of little use if you are here for more than the time alotted you on visitor visa.

  6. nostalgiphile, I must admit that on my recent visit to Kaohsiung I discovered the LP’s section on that city was quite weak.

    I have to disagree otherwise. The earlier editions of LP by Robert Storey have been criticised by many. The more recent editions are a great improvement and provide coverage of many more places.

    I think LP has a target audience and long-term residents of Taiwan probably aren’t a major part of it. They have the ability to find out information that most people won’t in a short visit. Also lots of information is now available on the internet which simply didn’t exist a few years ago.

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