My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I bought this book in Kindle format both because Amazon was having a sale on the series and because I will be traveling to Phuket soon. The sale included many—if not all—of the books in the series, not just the one on Phuket.
I’m pleased with the book given the sale price that I paid, which was substantially less than Amazon’s usual price and vastly less than list. I don’t think I would be pleased with the book at all had I paid list price, however.
As you may have realized by the title, this book contains a series of lists. The publisher tells one what they believe are the top 10 beaches, temples, bars, travel tips, etc. These lists are arranged in three sections: geographical (best of Phuket Town, best of Patong, etc.), topical (best entertainment venues, best outdoor activities, etc.) and practical (best transportation advice, best money advice, etc.)
The strengths of this book lie in its organization. It’s easy to find what one is looking for. First one finds the list one needs, and then skims the brief text of the particular enumerated items for what one wants to see. This is facilitated by hyperlinking of the table of contents and the index. There are also maps in the back that are connected by hyperlink to the text. I found the maps to be of limited use due to their small size, but I have the baseline model of Kindle, so your results may vary. The maps do put the numbers in large type, so it’s easy to find where a site is in a general sense and relative to other sites.
The weaknesses of this book have to do with lack of information and redundancy. One isn’t going to get more or better information on a given subject from this book than one would from the free tourist information one picks up at the tourism office, from a hotel rack, or online. If you’re expecting any depth or insight, and you would be if you paid the list price of $14, you’ll be sorely disappointed.
The book is only 128 pages, but, on top of that, there’s a great deal of redundancy. Because of the way the book is arranged, one will find out about the same subjects in more than one section. For example, one will read about the Phuket Vegetarian Festival in both the Phuket Town and the Festivals chapters.
A more nit-picky complaint has to do with the arbitrary limitations of the 10-list format. I suspect that some of these subjects could have benefited from longer lists, while others could have been shortened without doing harm.
My bottom line is if you can get this book on sale, like I did, you’ll probably be satisfied. If you pay list, you’ll likely be displeased. Of course, DK Books are largely about the graphics, and my black-and-white, small-format Kindle doesn’t support pictures well—so, again, your experience my vary.
Given the consistency of DK Books, I imagine the same could be said for the other books in the series.