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The Rough Guide to China (Rough Guide Travel Guides) Paperback – 1 Apr 2008
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About the Author
David Leffman is an established Rough Guide author and inveterate traveller with a long history of visiting China. Simon Lewis first visited China in 1993 where he studied Mandarin Chinese, after working as a barman, teacher and life model in Hong Kong.
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however once using it i found that it was wrong on a couple of occasions (with trains and comments on an attraction)and that it didnt list anywhere near enough hostels. having had the lonely planet (2006 version) for south east asia which i travelled just before china, i found it a lot more helpful as a backpacker on a budget. and didnt fill the book with hotels and resteraunts way out of the average travellers budget unlike the rough guide.
now this is NOT to say that the lonely planet is perfect as you soon find that these guide books really are to be used loosely, but on several occasions i found myself with other people trying to suss out a hostel or a route and those with lonely planets always seemed to come up with more useful information or better recommendations.
it was still useful at times and i totally recommend a guide book for china but the popular lonely planet is probably your best choice. however they tend to make their listed hostels pretty packed, so i recommend picking up a hostelling international leaflet that lists all of them in China, this proved to be a lot more accesible and suggested some hostels that didnt have that 'lonely planet route' feel to it! (you should be able to pick them up in any hostelling international accreddited hostel or just use the website)
hope this helps
Second - again, agreeing with reviewer above - there is a lot of 'background' which is interesting but there seems almost more background and history than practical suggestions for food/accommodation. I'm looking to use the Rough Guide more as a cultural read and pick up something else for the practicalities. Sadly as almost all were written pre-Olympics I'm not sure which to go for. I think Dorling Kindersley are bringing out a new one end of July 2009 so may wait for that. Although I usually think they just have pretty pictures and little substance the pictures could be useful if English/Mandarin fails (!)...and it will be recent - BEWARE the Rough Guide has a very old metro map for Beijing which will be totally useless now (it doesn't have any of the lines added for the Olympics!!).
Absolutely recommend :)
A fair portion of the historical information is highly selective and often totally misleading
There are political opinions that really don't belong in a Guide book. I might agree with some of them but this is not the place.
A really bad guide book. I STRONGLY recommend that you don't buy it. Maybe Lonely Planet is better??
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