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on 23 August 2017
Good guide
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on 13 January 2011
I bought this book based on the reviews and because we our trip consisted of about 4 days each in Shanghai and Beijing, therefore a small guide covering both cities was perfect. At first, it looks like a great book. Compact and light, shiny strong cover that did not show signs of wear, small maps included within the guide, pictures and explanatory text.

We did, however, find the following problems when we tried to use it:
- On two occasions in Shanghai the guide suggested getting to places via the subway and then a bus or taxi. Both times, we found a subway station very close to where we wanted to be (Summer Palace and Tian Tan). I appreciate that this is a city that is expanding at a very fast rate and therefore it may be that these are new stations since publication in 2009, however it is not very helpful for the tourist.
- The restaurant recommendations are only in English. We tried to go to one of the suggested places in Beijing but there were only names in Chinese on the buildings. The guide gave the name of the road, but no the building number (these were all clearly displayed on the street and would therefore have enabled us to find the correct place).
- There was a suggestion for a place for dim sum. When we arrived in the evening, we were told that dim sum was only served for lunch and not dinner.
- The guide suggests that restaurants are open until late. In practice, most places close at about 9pm and are quite rude about kicking you out!
- The maps were very useful a lot of the time, however the location of subway stations was not terribly accurate. Several times we found ourselves walking for ages trying to locate and entrance to the trains.

I still recommend DK guides in general (as I have used them in the past on other trips) but would suggest customers get a more detailed up-to-date map and thoroughly check before setting out to visit any restaurant or tourist attraction.
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VINE VOICEon 23 February 2010
I am glad to see this guide book has been updated as Beijing has been considerably modernised for the Olympic Games. The 2007 copy I had was already out of date in many respects.
Having said that, the photos and layout are excellent, as we have come to expect from Dorling Kindersley books, and we must have made use of almost all the well presented chapters.
The section on restaurants was particularly helpful.
We did come unstuck though, when we tried to follow the Two-hour walk around Hou Hai (P 100). We got very lost and unfortunately missed many of the attractions en route. Certainly a tour worth following if you can get it right and it ends in an area where there are some wonderful evening watering holes!

It is worth noting the small comment on P 227 (of my copy) where you will find the warning relating to rickshaws "be careful if tempted to take these in Beijing or Shanghai - they frequently target tourists for substantial rip-offs". We were told the price would be 3 yuan and when we arrived, not even at our correct destination, the price had suddenly soared to 300 yuan!
Also note: Most travellers will probably be carrying Pounds, Euros or Dollars, which are readily exchanged. Coming from Dubai, however, we had Dirhams - which were impossible to exchange in any hotel or bank.

One problem I did find with the book was that it covered both Beijing and Shanghai and as we were only visiting Beijing, we were carrying a much heavier book around town with us than should have been necessary. I personally would have preferred the two cities to have been published separately.

So, excellent illustrations and very thorough but with some reservations.
I will certainly consider DK Travel Guides in the future.
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on 15 May 2010
This book ticked most of the boxes for my recent visit to Shanghai and Beijing. Well-illustrated and good historic background, as well as contemporary information. However, I spent a while completely lost in Beijing looking for a subway station that was indicated clearly on the map, but was not there in reality! This may have been an unfortunate one-off, but I did loose my confidence in the maps section as a result, and not sure how good local maps are in this respect.
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on 15 August 2010
Planning to visit both Beijing and Shanghai, I found this book an ideal guide. Good pictures, excellent maps, and plenty of useful and interesting information to enable you to get the most from a few days' visit.
And all conveniently packaged in one slim volume, easy to pack and carry around
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on 17 June 2009
This excellent guide has been of enormous help for my forthcoming holiday to Beijing with my wife for our 20th wedding anniversary. Restricted as we will be for time and cost, the book gives clear details of where to go, what to see, and a very useful time scale to allow for each place.
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on 12 September 2012
A handy book to take with you if you're exploring both cities as it's fairly slim and filled with lovely pictures of all the big attractions. This makes it a nice souvenir to look back on as well.
There are plenty of pages and detail devoted to all the main historical sights - Forbidden City, Summer Palace, Shanghai Museum etc.
The laminated map of both cities and their transport systems was handy and generally easy to use. We did find some sights were not quite accurately marked and beware the maps for each city are on a different scale.
Restaurant listings were a valuable source of information when we wanted to find somewhere to eat each evening.
However, I find DK guides, although very detailed, are not quite as good at providing background or social and political context as some guide books. This is particularly needed in China where only the official, one-sided explanation of sights is given to tourists. We had a Rough Guide to China with us as well which provides more background on what life today and in the past is like for the Chinese.
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on 22 June 2011
I'm just back from my trip to China. And I really loved it!
I didn't find this book particularly good. Both Beijing by Lonely Planet and Beijing 10 best by DK Eyewitness are better. It provides information about touristic attractions but what I found was missing is practical advice on "how to".
Also the section on shopping was very paternalistic. The feeling was that the author doesn't think much of Chinese people and tourists as well. So I would't recommend it. There are better books out there.
And one more advice - when travelling to China try to buy the most recent book available. Everything develops so fast that 2 years are a very long time. And practical information becomes outdated very quickly.
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on 29 September 2013
This is a well written book, but I found this was not as useful as a very similar book by a competitor.

It was a nice size, well laid out.

However, I found that the abundance of pictures actually wasn't what I was after once I was actually in China. I found that a more concise book with minimal pictures was more useful as you get more information in the same amount of pages. The pictures are nice, but not necessary when the reason you are visiting a particular place is to see it with your own eyes - and so the pictures become a little bit redundant
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on 10 May 2013
We walked around with it, felt lost whenever it was not close at hand and were delighted with everything it suggested. The format (a mix of pictures and text that feels like an interact tablet screen) suits our current short-attention-span mindset far better than anything I could have imagined - for a book.

One of the best guides I've ever bought and used.
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