China Travel Guides
It is a near necessity that you go to China with at least one travel guide. Over the years, I’ve accumulated about 4 or 5. If nothing else, it gives me something to read and get excited about during my 15 hour flight to China. I’m also a big picture person and love looking through each book’s pictures.
Best General China Travel Guides
- 1032 Pages (1.8 pounds)
- Revised May 1, 2009
- Pros: Comprehensive specifics of China. Good inclusion of Chinese characters
- Cons: No subway maps, incorrect times, costs, slightly outdated information, less pictures than Eyewitness Travel Guide (see below)
- 672 Pages (2.2 pounds)
- Revised March 21, 2010
- Pros: A great collection of photos and illustrations, easy to use
- Cons: Not as detailed as the Lonely Planet book, so shouldn’t be the only book for a single traveler
- Title: Fodor’s China, 6th Edition (Fodor’s Gold Guides)
- 720 Pages (1.4 pounds)
- Revised May 19, 2009
- Pros: Fodor’s choice section — tells you where to go in touristy areas, fairly good commentaries, good historical coverage
- Cons: Lacks in pictures and less detailed than the Lonely Planet guide.
- Title: China Survival Guide: How to Avoid Travel Troubles and Mortifying Mishaps
- 192 Pages (4 ounces)
- Revised Feb 1, 2008
- Pros: Quick fun read, low price, stories of author rarely detailed elsewhere, recommended for those of you excited about fake markets and the quirkiness of China
- Cons: Some of the information is dated and extreme for the purpose of telling an entertaining story.
- Title: Frommer’s China
- 896 Pages (1.4 pounds)
- Revised Mar 15, 2010
- Pros: Section in the back listing different food dishes to help you with your orders. Maps of each city. Accurate information. Written by those with extensive living in China experience.
- Cons: Limited listings of budget hotels and budget restaurants. Not really for the budget traveler.
Best Shanghai Travel Guide
- Title: Discover Shanghai (Lonely Planet Travel Guide)
- 276 Pages (9.1 Ounces)
- Revised Mar 1, 2010
- Pros: Good combo of pictures and text. Overall, best Shanghai guide available.
- Cons: No mention of the Shanghai Expo.
Best Beijing Travel Guide
- Title: Beijing and Shanghai (Eyewitness Travel Guide)
- 240 Pages (15.2 Ounces)
- Revised Oct 19, 2009
- Pros: Great use of pictures, more accurate and helpful than any of the other Beijing travel guides. The bonus is that it also includes Shanghai
- Cons: Limited use of Chinese characters
Best Hong Kong, Macau and Guangzhou Travel Guide
- Title: Time Out Hong Kong: Macau and Guangzhou (Time Out Guides)
- 316 Pages (14.1 Ounces)
- Revised Mar 30, 2007
- Pros: Decent overview of all three cities, good use of pictures.
- Cons: Not a very favorable description of Guangzhou. No overview of Shenzhen. Updated in 2007.