I like books. Actually, I love books. I love them compulsively, and rarely have I ever stopped at my local bookstore without coming home with something — much to the chagrin of my hallway and overstuffed bookcases, which are both littered with books. So I when I went to Thailand, I couldn’t fight my compulsive nature and just bring one guide book — I brought four.

Although, they have their pluses and minuses in presentation and in content, there was one that I liked most for its ability to inspire travel — DK Eyewitness Travel Guide’s Thailand.

This is a great book loaded with maps, art and superb photography (full-color on every page) with a heavy dose of culture and the out-of-the-way destination. In many ways, I viewed it as both a guide and encyclopedia. I think this is due to the nugget-styled images and information set against a color-tabbed organization. It is a very pretty presentation and prettier than most guide books. For all its beauty, its price is about the same as other similar guides covering the same amount of territory. Most importantly, I was excited about Thailand after a short perusal. I was inspired.

If there are downsides to the DK Eyewitness book, it tends to skew toward a higher-end traveler and with all the full-cover glossy pages, it is physically heavier than most (about 11oz. more) other guides, but these are small misgivings.

Overall, I found it useful and myself unwilling to tear pages out of it for convenience while hoofing it through the crowded streets of Bangkok. I wanted to keep it on the shelves at home in one smart, beautiful, but well-thumbed, piece — displayed next to a prized set of encyclopedias.