REVIEWED: Marco Polo's Perfect Days in … Vietnam
An innovative new format focused on day trips and adventures promises much, but at its heart this magazine-style attempt remains a traditional guidebook
Why do guidebooks insist on trying to make you an expert on the country you’re visiting? A fleeting trip is nothing more than a few one-day or multi-day adventures strung together to make a coherent itinerary, which is the inspiration for this new style of guidebook from Marco Polo.
Though at its heart a regular guidebok with details of hotels and the like included as a directory, and in regional fashion (South Coast & Highlands, Central Region, etc.), there are some excellent entries within that cater to adventurers after specific information. ‘Two perfect days in Ho Chi Minh City’ kick it off, with others including ‘Four perfect days’ in the central rgion, which comprises Da Nang, Hoi An and the Marble Mountains.
However, despite this ‘new’ approach, too much of the rest of the book is straightforward comprehensive guidebook style that refuses to leave anything out; I got the impression the publishers didn’t fully commit to the structure.
The spiral design can be a bit off-putting. At a stroke this structure gives the book more depth, and it’s immediately more difficult to shove it in a bag or the back-pocket of a pair of jeans. Still, it is a hard-wearing design, though the vinyl pouch containing a pull-out map of the whole of Vietnam sadly misses-out Siem Reap & Angkor Wat in Cmabodia, despite including much of that country.