The Business Traveler’s Guide To Southeast Asia

The Business Traveler’s Guide To Southeast Asia: smart tips from a seasoned international warrior, by Colin Restall (The Colville Publishing Company, 2017)

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Colin Restall is a businessman with twenty years’ experience in Southeast Asia, and in this ebook he shares his insight into some of the countries with which he’s most familiar. In addition to the geographically located Southeast Asian nations, he also includes Hong Kong, which is another major hub of business, albeit slightly outside of the region by some definitions.

His book first tackles general travel information, then specific information about the countries he has chosen to describe, and finally he moves into some more general information about each individual country. The result is a book that is essentially quite useful for people intending to travel to Southeast Asian on business.

The first section is, however, rather too basic. Perhaps it is due to my own experience in travelling, but the information contained here is just too obvious. The only people for whom this would be worthwhile are those who’ve never even read a single word about Southeast Asia.

When it comes to the middle section, however, the details given about actually interacting with people in each country are better. There is some genuinely valuable descriptions of the major airports that would be useful even for experienced travellers, too. In particular, the author’s dissection of Asia’s business card culture is fascinating (and, in my experience, it is entirely accurate). 

I can’t imagine why he chose to put the most general information at the back of the book. Each of these sections gives an overview of the various previously described countries, but reads more like a Wikipedia article. Knowing a few details about ancient societies who lived in these places doesn’t really seem in-keeping with the rest of the book, and if it were to be included, it should surely come earlier than it does.

The biggest fault with this book, however, is the author’s gross over-use of exclamation points. These should be used sparingly in any book, and even a light-hearted ebook ought to be comparatively free. Yet throughout Restall’s guide, he peppers his sentences with exclamation points that this reviewer found unbearable.