When visiting a city that you know very little about, the task of planning what to do while you're there can be a bit overwhelming. Where do you find information on the tourist sights in the city? There are a variety of tools you can use to make sure that you will be kept busy on your trip and not miss out on the best sights the city has to offer.
- A good guidebook can be an invaluable tool when traveling. Many options are available at your local bookstore or online, and you can choose a book depending on your travel budget and interests. But all these will detail the top tourist sights in the city, how to get there, and what not to miss. Check the beginning of the book for an introduction which will typically highlight the not-to-miss places that you should visit. Depending on the book, highlights will introduce some general highlights of the country (for example, Thailand), what to see in specific areas of the country (such as central Thailand), and sights found in each city (Bangkok).
Some of your options include the student friendly Lonely Planet and Let's Go guidebooks or the higher budgeted Frommers and Foder's . Time Out City Guides are a little more hip and detail some offbeat things to see and do along with the usual top attractions.
- Many guidebook companies now offer free scaled down versions of their guides online. These include many of the guides listed above, such as Time Out , Lonely Planet, and Frommers. For example, when searching for the city of Bangkok on the Lonely Planet website, I can access a list of the not-to-miss sights the city has to offer including the Grand Palace, Jim Thompson's House, the Royal Barges, and the National Museum.
- Many of these same guidebook companies also have discussion forums on their websites as well. It is here that you can log on and research experienced peoples' opinions about a city or country and the top sights to see. You can also ask specific questions and receive feedback and opinions from others in this manner. One such forum is the Lonely Planet Thorntree. Other websites that compile travelers' opinions on the top tourist sights include Trip Advisor and Virtual Tourist.
- Another good resource is the official tourism board or visitor's center of the country or city you are visiting. A simple google search may bring up the country's official tourism website, with comprehensive travel guides and listings of the top attractions. Using Thailand as an example again, I can access the Tourism Authority's website on Bangkok and read about the top tourist attractions in the city.