Media Review: Vis-a-Vis Thailand (12th ed. Dorling Kindersley)
Today’s media review is about Vis a Vis Reiseführer Thailand by Colectif (ISBN: 978-3-8310-19847). This travel guide was published by Dorling Kindersley Verlag GmbH, Munich. My review copy is the 12th and newest edition (2012/2013). This book is in German language, comprises 528 pages and costs 26,95 EUR.
However, there is also a corresponding English edition of this guide called DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Thailand (Eyewitness Travel Guides) published in Dorling Kindersley Ltd., London which is the partner company of Dorling Kindersley Verlag, Munich. The latest edition of the English version is from 2014. You may take a look inside the book here.
Vis-à-Vis Thailand is a very comprehensive, detailed and elaborate travel guide with more than 1500 colour photographs, 3-D drawings and layouts. In addition there are clear and informative maps and 86 pages about Thailand’s capital Bangkok. The book is divided into nine sections in total:
- ‘Introducing Thailand’ (Thailand stellt sich vor)*
- ‘The Central Plains’ (Menam-Becken)
- ‘Northern Thailand’ (Nordthailand)
- ‘Northeast Thailand’ (Nordost-Thailand)
- ‘The Gulf of Thailand’ (Golf von Thailand)
- ‘Southern Thailand’ (Südthailand)
- Travelers Needs’ (Zu Gast in Thailand)
- ‘Survival Guide’ (Grundinformationen)
*German titels in brackets
‘Introducing Thailand’ names the most important highlights of each region in advance.
Following this, each of these sections are divided into an introductory, overview part and specialities of the respective areas. For instance, the Bangkok chapter is subdivided into introduction, Old Town, Chinatown, Dusit, Downtown, Thon Buri, outskirts, shopping, entertainment and map.
Thus, the guide provides the most important information about the different areas and regions. It is interesting to note that some of the introductory parts also provide additional detailed information about history and art. For example, ‘The Central Plains’ section provides info about Sukhothai art and foreigners in Ayutthaya in its introduction. Similarly, the chapter about ‘Northern Thailand’ gives extra information about Thailand’s hilltribes, crafts and birds that occur specifically in this area.
The chapter about the ‘Travelers’ Needs’ deals with different accommodation options and restaurants in the presented areas. It is useful that the section about restaurants also introduces the most important Thai dishes. Furthermore, there are suggestions for shopping, entertainment, outdoor activities and special interests like wellness and spas.
The practical information or ‘Survival Guide’ is mainly about general travel information, etiquette, money & communication, safety & health and public transportation. Finally, the guide also provides a phrase book with some basic Thai vocabulary.
In my opinion this book is comprehensive and very informative. It is beautifully arranged with numerous photographs and maps. Thus, it may even be called a picture-book. However, for those readers who do not yet know anything about Thailand, this guide might appear a bit confusing simply because there is so much additional information on different topics.
Nonetheless, I can highly recommend Vis-à-Vis Thailand as a pre-travel preparation and information guide. When reviewing and skimming this book I had the impression that one needs some time and quiet to go through, read and process all the information given in there. What is more, the book is quite heavy and perhaps to unpractical to carry around the whole day when travelling.
However, on the whole, this is truly an elaborate travel guide that is created with lots of love for the detail.