To Asia With Love: A Connoisseur's Guide to Cambodia, Laos, Thailand & Vietnam is my favorite travel book because it conveys a sense of place and love for Asia that I have never found in other guidebooks. To Asia With Love is a compilation of essays and viginettes of Asia--in particular Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos--written by people who have lived there and fallen in love with the place. It's pages convey images as varied as artisian colonies, 100's of shoes lined up outside of the Temple of Lan, and conversations under the stars at the Drunken Flower Cafe.
To Asia With Love will not replace your all inclusive travel guide because it does not list up all the major travel destinations in those countries. It does not lure you into the tourist clubs. That is what you'd expect from a typical travel book. But To Asia With Love is not typical. It's writings contain a passion that cannot be found anywhere else. It's contributors have lived in Asia for a number of years. They knoiw the real, authentic places to see. To Asia With Love will be an extra book to add to your collection, but perhaps the one you will turn to again and again when you are on vacation, looking for a place to just hang out with the natives, to get a flavor of the place.
If you add this book to your travel book collection, you will surely be prepared for an adventure in Asia. The places listed in this guide are not ordinary tourist spots, but they are out-of-the-way places where the locals frequent.
There is a chapter called "Paying it Forward" that is about what you can do after you return home from your vacation in Asia. They list up places you can support that will help develop the community.
What is even better is that the same publisher will do another guide about Japan. It is called To Japan With Love.