Lighten Your Load with Travelfish Guides

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Southeast Asia travel site Travelfish (http://www.travelfish.org) this week launched their downloadable PDF guide to Ho Chi Minh City, the latest in their growing stable of snappy insider guides to Southeast Asia, and their first for Vietnam. Packed with comprehensive travel intelligence, Travelfish Guides allow readers to choose guides to the places they're actually going to, without packing the weight and expense of a legacy guidebook. More up-to-date than traditional guidebooks, Travelfish Guides usually cost less than the price of an airport cab in the city they cover.

Down-and-dirty travel site Travelfish (http://www.travelfish.org) this week launched their downloadable guide to Ho Chi Minh City, the latest in their growing stable of snappy insider guides to Southeast Asia, and their first for Vietnam.

Independent travellers can now download concise but comprehensive Travelfish online guides to just those destinations they want to visit and avoid paying big bucks for a heavy -- and bulky -- legacy guidebook.

"We want travellers to navigate their way through Southeast Asia's top destinations without being weighed down by out-of-date guidebooks containing way more information than they need," says Travelfish founder and veteran traveller Stuart McDonald.

"Travellers can simply choose Travelfish guides to the places they are actually going -- each usually costing far less than an airport cab in the city they're travelling to."

Travelfish guides are also up-to-the-minute -- it can take more than six months for a legacy guidebook to reach shelves after a researcher has been on the ground.

"The writing is on the wall for the legacies. There is a whole new way of travelling for the latest generation of backpackers -- and flashpackers -- thanks to the internet. Travelfish is at the forefront," says McDonald, who spent years backpacking in Southeast Asia and has now lived in the region for a decade.

Like the Travelfish site, the guides are thoroughly researched on the ground by experienced travellers who do their best to conceal their identity, and never accept freebies, to ensure their readers get realistic, warts-and-all reviews of hotels, guesthouses, restaurants, bars and sights.

The guides save browsers precious surf time by compiling Travelfish's online content as well as additional maps and other nuggets of insider information into A4-size PDF files. Travellers can print them out before their trip, or visit Internet cafes and print them as they travel.

In Cambodia, Travelfish guides can take you to Siem Reap and Angkor Wat, with Phnom Penh the next guide to launch in two weeks. In Laos, Travelfish has got not only popular Vientiane and Champasak covered, but takes travellers well off the beaten track through remote southern Laos.

"You won't find any guidebook-clutching drones there," says Samantha Brown, who co-founded the site with McDonald. "And if you did, they'd be carrying a guidebook that typically devotes just a handful of pages to a region bursting with fabulous scenery, dying to be discovered."

In Thailand, individual guides are now available to Ko Phi Phi and Phuket, with Bangkok and diver's paradise Ko Tao soon on the way. Next up for Vietnam after Ho Chi Minh City, or Saigon, will be the Central Highlands. Twenty-four titles are set to be launched by the end of 2007.

Travelfish is the most comprehensive travel site to Southeast Asia, covering Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam, with Singapore due online by June.

"We want travellers to love Southeast Asia as much as we do. We hope these guides go a long way toward realising that goal," McDonald adds.

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