Best Taiwan Travel Guide: Lonely Planet or Rough Guide?

Which one do you prefer?

And if you do have a preference, tell us why!

(or maybe you’re sold to the National Geographic or Insight Guides)

I personally like the Rough Guide better. More attractions, better descriptions and the section about the indigenous people and the Chinese Gods at the back is nice.

I’m curious. I want to know what you guys think.


Lonely Planet by a country mile!

Okay, so I’ve never looked at the Rough Guide - but I know for sure where my loyalty lies!

Lonely Planet has Chinese characters on its maps.

Lonely Planet is excellent. Never seen the Rough Guide.

Based on owning the Lonely Planet Taiwan & flipping through the Taiwan Rough Guide (once I finally found one @ the 101 Page One), Lonely Planet wins by a long shot…

More details, more locations, more history & more specifics in terms of maps, contact info, websites, etc. Although it uses older Pinyin in many cases, the inclusion of (most) Chinese characters in place names is a huge plus as well.

The Rough Guide seemed perhaps better suited to travelers who want a brief overview of sights to see & intend to head out solo to enjoy them without further hand-holding or explanation. It seemed terse & lacking in specifics. The Lonely Planet was much more comprehensive & ‘step-by-step’ in nature for those who want that level of detail. Both books were about the same size as well.

Never used other Rough Guides, but I’ve always been happy with other Lonely Planet books, except for the fact that EVERYBODY seems to have them & they go to the same places.

Lonely Planet by a country mile…

Yes, I gotta agree with most of the people and say LP is the better of the two.

We are blessed here on forumosa, because we have so many knowledgable posters.

It doesn’t matter if you’re into hiking, biking, river tracing, photography . . .

We’ve got people that can help you out.


Lucky us!

We don’t even NEED to buy the Lonely Planet book . . .

Cuz we’ve got the guy that can answer ALL our questions . . .


On our very our website,

we got the Man . . .

Big Fluffy Matthew!

and if he can’t answer one, Mucha Man can always take a wild stab at it.

and if he can’t answer one, Mucha Man can always take a wild stab at it.[/quote]

Erm, there’s a reason for that … :laughing:

I was given an LP as a gift before I came here; it has its strengths and weaknesses. I found it really useful when I went on solo trips outside Taipei, before I knew any Chinese. Good for maps and stuff.

The Taipei section shows how subjective guidebooks can be about cities. I could write a guidebook to Taipei and not reference 80% of the places in there, in terms of restaurants and bars, etc, because myself and nobody I know would ever go there. In a big city like Taipei, a guidebook can only ever offer one person’s snapshot, and LP are never particularly fun and because of the nature of writing and publishing, always three years out of date and very middle of the road; you’d certainly have to find your own fun there… The Bangkok one is also completely dull. I know both cities like the back of my hand, though, so I guess a tourist, not an expat is the target market anyway.

Guidebooks for me were a brief phase. I never used to use them when I was a youngster, not wishing to piss away a single penny of my budget or bag space and preferring to travel independently. When I got older, I wanted to ‘make the most’ of short holiday periods. Now, I also don’t bother; I’m over travelling, in terms of ‘sightseeing’. I prefer to take city breaks and just wander the streets. A place of worship, a mountain, a good restaurant, an art museum, or whatever, produces the same feeling in India as in France as in Argentina, so I’m over trying to chase the new, the subtle differences that make THIS experience THE BEST YET. It’s a form of materialism and grasping after novelty that I don’t want to do.