China (Lonely Planet Guide)by Published 01 May 2007
|China (Lonely Planet Guide).pdf|
Walk the watchtowers at Badaling, where President Nixon once said, 'this is a great wall.'
Knock back a shot of Confucius baijiu firewater in Qufu, hometown of the sage.
Find out how a local farmer first uncovered the Army of Terracotta Warriors.
Perfect your Monkey Offers Peach strike at Wudang Shan, birthplace of taichi.
In This Guide:
12 authors and 483 days of in-country research
Special coverage of pristine Ming and Qing dynasty villages for the first time in English
Content updated daily - visit lonelyplanet.com for up-to-the-minute reviews, updates and traveler insights
"China (Lonely Planet Guide)" Reviews
Could have better organisation.
It's true. I read the entire Lonely Planet China guide. It was kind of a fun thing to do over several months living in China; I learned a lot about provinces and towns and mountains and waterfalls and temples that I don't have enough 3-day weekends to visit! Lonely Planet also includes a certain sensibility that I love, and the history, tidbits, literary & cinematic recommendations, etc. are worth reading even when aren't about to go to a place. Where I think this particular LP suffers is in its maps. SOooooo many of the smaller towns discussed don't even warrant a map, others take up a whole page and have a half-page legend of which half is not-really-that-essential info/consulate type listings. The Guangzhou map is split into two, leaving out the swath of city in between that just happens to include where I live, so maybe I'm biased, but I really think this book's maps could use some work. Other than that, good times. By the way, China is big. In case you didn't know!
I never bought this, thankfully, only borrowed from friends.
Big, heavy, and loaded with inaccurate information and old phone numbers and addresses. The descriptions of hotels are also annoying--who cares what color walls something is? Tell me how to get there.
I've talked to a lot of people in China this year and we all concur, the Lonely Planet China guides (all of them, as far as we can tell), uniformly disappoint. Misleading or inaccurate directions and information, awkward wording, and useless maps contribute to an overall lack of helpfulness. I've used a lot of Lonely Planet guidebooks over the years. I don't know if this is a symptom of their general lack of doing Asia well (the Japan Lonely Planet wasn't great, although it was better than this- several fellow travelers complained about the Lonely Planet SouthEast Asia, which shares a lot of content with this one) or maybe it's just impossible to put together a good guidebook for such a big place (a possibility suggested by the fact that although the Japan guidebook wasn't great, the Tokyo guidebook was a godsend). I don't know. But I can tell you this, I've never before left behind a book that cost me over $30. That's exactly what I did with this one, the day I left China.
I expect to return to China one day, maybe with a copy of Frommer's in tow.
I have major issues with this book.
There were many places listed that were closed, which perhaps was because of the Olympics, but it really put a crimp in my plans. It was especially a problem when I took a taxi to a restaurant that was recommended and it doesn't exist anymore. It was also not fun because not only did I take a taxi there, but there were only about 3 restaurants in the section for Qingdao.
The biggest problem on one of my trips, to Qingdao, was based on the recommendations of Lonely Planet China. I went to a National Park. Once my friends and I had each payed 100 Yuen for a personal car to get to the park admission was 75 Yuen instead of the 50 Yuen listed in Lonely Planet. Which to me is a big difference and after paying so much for the car as well as considering that 25 Yuen can buy me quite a bit of food I was NOT pleased. In addition to the fact that we hadn't considered that we had to buy entry for the driver as well, and that extra 25 Yuen really added up. There was no indication what so ever in the guide that there was a difference in price for regular season versus peak season, because of course no one travels during peak season.
Many of the "addresses" listed in Chinese characters (from the boxes on the map pages) were just the names of the places. If the taxi driver doesn't know the name you're out of luck. Also there were just no addresses in Chinese characters for any of the restaurants or hotels. Which means that you can almost never get where you are going unless you have perfect pronunciation. Problematic!
Some of the pluses.
I went to very good restaurants based on their recommendations. The two restaurants that were open in Qingdao were fabulous and the dishes that Lonely Planet featured were yummy!
The couple days I was in Shanghai, after my summer language program, I chose to splurge and stay in a hotel listed in Lonely Planet and I LOVED it! Astor House Hotel is the oldest hotel in China and is beautifully kept and the staff is amazing.