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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting new format - a few typos
I just got the brand new 12th edition (out in May 2011). The new blue and black format if a bit different from the other LP books I have, but you get used to it after a while. There is more information in the intros to the chapters, which is good. I used to live in Nanjing 2004/05 when the new train station was being built; since at least 2006 there has been a beautiful...
Published on 26 May 2011 by A380fan

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45 of 48 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars OK, but misleading.
I started my trip in Beijing and I was impressed by the detail in the LP guide at first, but then as I started my sight-seeing it became clear that LP exaggerate everything and make a lot more of places than they really are.

This has two problems, firstly you end up going to places in the book that sound very good from the description, but then you arrive and...
Published on 15 July 2010 by The_End_of_the_World (tm)


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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting new format - a few typos, 26 May 2011
This review is from: China (Lonely Planet Country Guides) (Paperback)
I just got the brand new 12th edition (out in May 2011). The new blue and black format if a bit different from the other LP books I have, but you get used to it after a while. There is more information in the intros to the chapters, which is good. I used to live in Nanjing 2004/05 when the new train station was being built; since at least 2006 there has been a beautiful new station, but the 2011 edtion STILL says that the station is mayhem (identical description to their 2003 edition) - very sloppy updating. The map at the front is now made of paper (not the shiny stuff as per the other guides). I fear that this will not stand the test of time and will rip fairly soon. In addition there seems to be some interesting geographical errors with the map....take a look at Xinjiang - Urumqi doesn't even exist, and Yining has moved a few thousand miles. The colours and topographical features of the map make it a lot less clear compared to their old-style maps. I haven't looked all the way through the book yet, although I noticed that Ningbo is no longer covered at all, although quite a few new places have wormed their way in.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A comprehensive guide (but probably for younger travellers), 3 Mar 2011
By 
N. West (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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Its always a toss up whether to buy the Rough Guide or Lonely Planet. This was the most recent of the two (Rough Guides new edition is out May 2011) so was at least a year more up to date. It certainly covers everything but its strengths are in identifying the top places to see. I found the accommodation recommendations less helpful as they concentrate on the cheaper end of the market.

On a personal level, I prefer Rough Guide's style and I find it easier to find the information in it. Neither book really looks at the 'International' hotel end of the market. For that, I use Tripadvisor on line.

Someone needs to do a non-smokers guide to China. If you cannot stand smoke filled bedrooms you will struggle to identify which lodgings have non-smoking floors.

One tip for travel is to use Elong to book internal flights etc. They are part of expedia but cheaper. You can use skype to talk to their very helpful sales team.

China: Country Guide (Lonely Planet Country Guides)
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45 of 48 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars OK, but misleading., 15 July 2010
I started my trip in Beijing and I was impressed by the detail in the LP guide at first, but then as I started my sight-seeing it became clear that LP exaggerate everything and make a lot more of places than they really are.

This has two problems, firstly you end up going to places in the book that sound very good from the description, but then you arrive and are disappointed. The second problem is that you end up wasting time doing pointless things while missing out on more interesting parts of the country.

The prices are rubbish, simply put they are all out of date and very optimistic. I stayed in plenty of budget hostels and the price quoted in LP is usually 20% too low.

Finally, it is clear from reading the book that the LP writers like to indulge and tell hostels, hotels and restaurants who they are because the levels of service described in the LP for so many places just never materialised for us non LP writers. LP started out as a guide book for backpackers, but it seems like the LP writers are anything but. The whole books is lacking in down to earth advice on travelling and is full of flowery language which honestly just irritates.

Add to that the searches and confiscation trouble at land border crossings into the country and it is hardly worth the trouble.

I would never recommend travelling China without a guidebook as it is easy to get lost in such a huge country where almost no one speaks English, but I would try the Rough guide instead. A couple of friends had that guidebook and it gave much better advice on almost everything, from where to see the best parts of the Great Wall to which parts of China are worth missing.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Bring an older edition, 16 July 2012
This review is from: China (Lonely Planet Country Guides) (Paperback)
I travelled in Hong Kong, Guangdong, Guangxi, Yunnan and Sichuan a few weeks ago. I did a similar trip 5 years ago. This guidebook fails on a few fundamental backpacking requirements.

1) Format: The older versions had basic information like rough conversions, telephone codes etc on the inside cover with a basic map a few pages in. This makes them easy to find when you're in a stressful situation, for example at a train ticket office trying to book a few tickets across China. In this version the information is spread over an unnecessarily long itineraries section. Also, I can understand that the Chinese economy has changed enormously in the last few years and prices change before editions are even printed. I do not expect accurate prices just a sense of where a guesthouse sits in the market. The budget, mid-range, high end system was good for this. This has been replaced with the 1-3 dollar system and the order of least expensive to most has gone. Not a problem in small cities but difficult to read in large cities with more accommodation options.

2) Maps: These are worse than useless they are actively misleading. Take the city of Dali in Yunnan province - the old town is built on a grid. The streets of this grid run roughly north/south and east/west. This edition includes only part of the grid and skews the map at an angle making it very difficult to follow to any of the sites - older editions have not done this.

3) Transport: A few fairly good routes are not described in this book. Kunming and Vietnam is one such route. This doesn't make any sense since the easiest place to get a Vietnamese visa is Kunming and the border town of Hekou is very nice.

4) Taxi/Transport costs: When arriving in a town where the train/bus station is a few km away it makes sense to get a taxi. In order to barter a reasonable price you either need to know the going rate or the distance. This used to be included in almost every town covered in the guide and the stations were often marked on the map. This edition doesn't bother.

5) Accuracy: I am fairly sure that much of the accommodation has not been researched. Some places had been closed for years or were grossly different from their description. When I discussed with locals some of these discrepancies they confirmed that many places had been closed for a number of years - I know there is often an financial motive to provide disorientated backpackers with bad advice but I'm reasonable sure of their honesty.

The Lonely Planet is still good at telling you about which tourist attraction to visit. However older versions are equally as good or this information can be found in a thinner lighter more general guide book. In the past the Lonely Planet's strengths have been in helping the disorientated backpacker at the bus or train station. How do I get to the town? Where should I stay? Where do I get my first breakfast? Unfortuantely at the budget or backpacker level this book does not deliver. You might argue that it's fun to find this out for yourself, part of the backpacker culture etc. But then why would you be buying/carrying such a heavy book in the first place? So in line with the Lonely Planet's own environmental ethos, I suggest buying a second hand or recycled edition - it saves trees.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Patchy, 12 May 2012
By 
A. Wilkinson "APW" (London) - See all my reviews
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I normally use a Lonely Planet as I like the layout but I have to say this one was the worst guidebook I've used. I spent most of my time in Xinjiang and found details to be lacking or quite simply wrong. For example, Lonely Planet listed an internet cafe, but when I finally managed to locate it (due to a poor map), it didn't accept tourists. Unfortunately it was the only listed internet cafe, although it could have listed more. Other information was inaccurate or missed out chunks. In Beijing, the book did exaggerate the appeal of certain attractions. Once there, I wish I hadn't bothered. I know its a big country and despite its misinformation, I would have been lost without it. But, it did waste a lot of my time as well.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Handy, but not great, 25 Feb 2012
It's always going to be hard to make a guide book for the kindle- it's quite hard to just flick through the book, and maps aren't going to be good. That's not really LP's fault. But many of the characters don't show up on the kindle version (they just come out as squares, which is fairly annoying when trying to find out a restaurant name)- unless that's my kindle's issue?

I do have my doubts, however, as to the research of the less-travelled areas. As someone who is currently living in Changsha, Hunan, and has lived there for 4 years, I find the attractions and restaurants listed as utterly bizarre due to their omission of completely obvious and the most interesting places in Changsha in favour of endless museums (Tai Ping Jie as an attraction- it's listed only as a bar area, Yue Lu Mountain, Orange Island/ Ju zi Zhou), and lacking Po Zi Jie, the most famous food street in the whole of the city, seems odd.

However, the book is good for a general overview for travel-I have the older versions and they've served me very well over the years- I'd just recommend getting the paper version as opposed to the Kindle version.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Handy Guide, 3 Feb 2012
By 
S. Brown (Hull, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: China (Lonely Planet Country Guides) (Paperback)
I travelled across China, from Beijing to Hong Kong and this guide came in so handy. Generally, it was spot on with recommendations, but there was the occasional poor one. For example, some of the restaurants it recommended weren't really all that, but I suppose that does partly come down to personal preference, but also some were just poor, particularly compared to what I found by asking locals. Another thing is their price estimations were some way off. It is true, you can spend anywhere from 10 per day, to 500 per day, but their estimates were very generous, I think I spent well under half what it recommended taking. I depends how you want to live I suppose, but I wouldn't say the writer was by any means savvy. Aside from that though, the recommended places to visit and transport advice was sound. Overall, I very useful guide, but occasionally exaggerated.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not like they used to be..., 21 Nov 2011
This review is from: China (Lonely Planet Country Guides) (Paperback)
Lonely Planet today is a far cry from their guide books of the late 90s and early 2000s. I have used lonely planet guides -- religiously -- since 1998 and presently own about 30 different books. Sadly much has changed from their original layout, which I always found to be neat, practical, clear and concise. If I wanted to visit some obscure town, off the beaten track, I always used to be able to rely on LP having a section of the guide that gave me salient facts about the place. Over the years LP have fiddled with the layout and gradually made their guides more glossy; unfortunately the validity of the information has suffered as a result.

I first traveled to China in 2000 using the 7th edition of this guide -- it served me well. This latest version I have found to be rather less useful. As other reviewers have pointed out, the map is not very good; the pricing guides are quite a way off -- even in the low season things are more expensive than the book suggests; The book contains plenty of advice on places to visit, but contains precious little about places to avoid. I don't feel the guide is particularly authoritative anymore, or impartial. Because of this I have now switched to Rough Guides.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Lost the plot, 25 Jan 2010
By 
Daniel Currie (UK) - See all my reviews
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I used to be a huge fan of Lonely Planet guides in general, and specifically their China guides, which took me round the South West in 2000, and all along the Eastern seaboard in 2006. So when I saw some negative reviews of this edition, I thought "you can't please all of the people all of the time" and bought it anyway. Big mistake. This edition is poorly edited and poorly reasearched.

A couple of examples give you a flavour of the problems. In Beijing, the text tells you to get to the Temple of Heaven park by going to either one of two tube stations which are miles away, even though their own map clearly shows that the park now has its own tube stop. Wierdly, there is no coverage of the Olympic Park. In Harbin, they tell you that the main entrance to the Ice Festival is by the flood defence monument in town. In reality the festival doesn't have a 'main entrance', it isn't one unified event, there are different elements all over town, and the bit people mainly go to see is on Sun Island, a bus or taxi ride out of town. I wondered if the reasearcher had actually been to Harbin...

If you are going this year, I suggest trying a different guide. Let us all know if you find a good one!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A present, 19 Mar 2013
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This review is from: China (Lonely Planet Country Guides) (Paperback)
I Bought this book for my daughter who has taken it with her to China., She uses it alot and absolutely loves it.
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China (Lonely Planet Country Guides)
China (Lonely Planet Country Guides) by Daniel McCrohan (Paperback - 20 May 2011)
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