Book Review of the Week: The Travel Book

Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

As a Special Bonus, Lonely Planet will give a copy of The Travel Book, to 2 randomly drawn  commenters on this article. Post your comments - you might win!



1,200 images.  100,000 words.   230 countries.

Lonely Planet started with the 192 countries recognized by the United
Nations' list of defined countries, and then split out countries (i.e.,
UK into England, Scotland, and Wales) or added more (i.e., Antarctica,
Greenland).  Throw in 12 bonus destinations, all in an A-Z format...

The result?  A "subjective 'Lonely Planet' view of the world which gets
under the skin of the place, showing a slice of life in every single
country in the world...evoking the spirit of the place by focusing on
the senses."

Each country lists the best time to visit; essential experiences;
getting under the skin: read, watch, eat, and drink; in a word;
trademarks; and surprises.

Here are a few of my favorites from each category. Warning -  this book
is addictive!


Algeria - magical moonlit views over the salt lake at Timoun

Antarctica - bathing in Deception Island's thermally heated Pendulum Cove

Cape Verde - gorge on Cape Verde's famous lobsters

Hungary - soak in one of Budapest's thermal baths

Liberia - experiencing the rich diversity and ceremonial cultures of over a dozen different ethnic groups

St. Vincent - diving to find colourful sponges, soft corals, great stands of elkhorn coral, branching gorgonian and black corals, and a few sunken wrecks

Tonga - dodging the spray at the Mapu'a 'a Vaca Blowholes, Tongatapu -
a 5km stretch of geyser-like blowholes with fountains of seawater up to
30m high

Wales - strolling along the cliff-top Pembrokeshire Coast Path from St 
David's to Cardigan past tiny fishing villages, secluded coves and plenty of pubs


Afghanistan - overwhelming hospitality and spontaneous generosity

Australia - oldest continuing culture in the world

Belize - it is actually possible to fill an entire day with absolutely nothing

Bhutan - Thimpu is the only capital in the world without traffic lights

Samoa - ornate traditional tattooes & Robert Louis Stevenson



Getting under the skin

Argentina's A Secret for Julia - Patricia Sagastizabal
Barbados's In the Castle of my Skin - George Lamming
Bhutan's A Baby in a Backpack in Bhutan - Bunty Avieson
Cayman Islands' The Beach and Beyond - Martha K. Smith
Nepal's Tenzing and the Sherpas of Everest - Judy and Tashi Tenzing


Angola's Bonga Kwenda
Bahrain's Desert Beat, by Hashim al-Alawi
Benin's Angelique Kidjo
Trinidad & Tobago's longtime king of calypso, the Mighty Sparrow
Tunisia's El-Azifet Ensemble, fine purveyors of malouf, a traditional
Arab-style music form


Belgium's Rosetta
Bhutan's Little Buddha
Israel's Promises
Norway's the Pathfinder
Scotland's Whiskey Galore


Antigua and Barbados - black pineapple (not actually black)
Bahamas - conch
Cambodia - sticky banana
New Caledonia - bougna
Slovenia - likrofi

Belarus - kvas (malt, flour, sugar, mint, fruit)
Iceland - brennivin - schnapps from potato and caraway
Namibia - mataku (watermelon wine)
Senegal - bissap juice
Uzbekistan - ayran - a salty yet thirst-quenching yoghurt drink


India - cows in streets
Indonesia - great surfing
Lesotho - rainmaking rituals
Mauritius - home to the extinct dodo
Mongolia - ride a horse on the steppes
Nauru - wealthy islanders with guano-stained wallets
Palau - giant clams


As you can see, this oversize treasure - full of great color photographs and oodles of information, is a gem.  I open it and emerge an hour (or more) later, still thinking about where I want to go next, and what we'll do there. 


Click here to see the latest specials on travel guides from Lonely Planet.


Please leave a comment on this book review to be entered into a random
drawing for one of two copies of The Travel Book, courtesy of Lonely
Planet. Comments until 11:59pm Monday, August 25th, will be accepted. 

You must be a member of (free to join) to leave
a comment.









Comments (9)

  • Sam Pounder

    15 years 6 months ago

    I own this guide, and it is a incredible travel resource.  The photography is spectacular.

    Sam Pounder

  • lgensheimer

    15 years 6 months ago

    Now I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of this book. Is there a section on Guatemala?

  • Dr. Jessie Voigts

    15 years 6 months ago

    Lisa - yes, there is a big page for each country in the world (plus some!). Guatemala's 'in a word' - basta que basta (enough is enough!) is a WONDERFUL book! Ours is already dog-eared...


    Jessie Voigts


  • Gill Webster

    15 years 6 months ago

    What a great book, to be able to discover what a country is like before visiting and to know where to go, to find the treasures in that country.


    Gill Webster, Publisher
    A global community for the wellbeing of women

  • Glinda

    15 years 6 months ago

    This sounds like a great book for school libraries!

  • bennic

    15 years 6 months ago

    St. Vincent sounds like a beautiful place to explore.  Can't wait to read the whole book. 

  • vegan04

    15 years 6 months ago

    This sounds like an excellent resource... can't wait to find a copy in person! :)

  • a.v.hutch

    15 years 6 months ago

    This book sounds incredible; just the kind of thing I could spend a lazy weekend afternoon browsing through. :)

    I am surprised, though, that Australia's mention is a "surprise." It's the land down under, and there's all kinds of strange and interesting things about it!

  • Dr. Jessie Voigts

    15 years 5 months ago

    Congrats to our two book winners - a.v. hutch and bennic! Lonely Planet has those books headed your way. Thank you all!


    Jessie Voigts


Leave a comment