Friday, July 17, 2015

Lonely Planet Beijing (City Travel Guide)

Discover Beijing

Discover where the last emporer threw in the towel at the astonishing Forbidden City
Hone your haggling skills for must-have Mao memorabilia and silk everything
Learn to slurp noodles, wield chopsticks and avoid talking politics at the table
Experience Beijing's rich culture, from ancient history to medieval temples to modern literature

In This Guide:

The only guide with Chinese script throughout the book and on maps makes navigating Beijing easy
Special chapters on Beijing's historic hutong (alleyways) and China's iconic Great Wall
Meet some of the 17 million inhabitants through interviews with a bar owner, a rock star, a Peking duck master and more

LONELY PLANET aims to cater for every independent traveller, whatever the destination, whatever the style of travel and whatever the phase of the journey.

Most helpful customer reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful.
1A bad choice
By Warren Caragata
I normally like Lonely Planet books. But this one is plain awful.

The biggest failing is that it has no information -- at least that I could find -- on the Great Wall sites near the city. There is a long section on a place called Shanhaiguan where the Wall meets the sea, but it's about 300 km from Beijing. I guess there are a few places closer to Beijing where you can see the wall but the author decided that it wouldn't be helpful to discuss the places where tourists might actually go.

The book is poorly laid out, and the Chinese characters and accented English transliterations may work in a physical book. But on the Kindle, they don't work at all -- they break up the page but what's worse, they are hard to read.

Here's a more general complaint about Lonely Planet guides on Kindle -- the maps. They are hard to read, hard to navigate around and even in zoom view, they don't work.

Having bought this guide, I am now going to go out and get the Frommers guide or another guide to Beijing so I can more usefully plan my trip. Too bad though that I had to waste the money and my time going through this one.

12 of 16 people found the following review helpful.
2Standard sightseeing and hotel B+, Restaurants and bars F
By Jackal
The standard tourist destinations are well described. The hutong hotel I stayed in was good and I found it through this guide. There isn't much off the beaten track advice.

What is really bad in this book is the restaurant and bar advice. It is a typical white man's view of eating in restaurants. Several Western restaurants listed. That could be forgiven because some people don't like Chinese food. But the Choice of Chinese restaurants is just awful. None of the great places with regional food found in modern shopping centres are described. This is how many locals eat. Also missing are the great restarants in the office buildings for the different regions of China. They often have a great regional cuisine restaurant closeby, e.g. Sichuan. Instead we get Chinese restaurants that try to replicate the cosiness of a quaint small European restaurant or some big Chinese places were business people go and order dishes with expensive ingredients. These places do not provide much value add for most tourists.

The choice of bars is really odd. Several of them seems to have western owners and I'm sure they're in the book because of friendships with the owners. I visited a couple of places on a Wednesday and they were empty. So much for hipness! The description of other places like Susie Wong's as a hangout for prostitures is slighty ridiculous. When I went there they were giving out free salsa lessions.

Sadly I don't think there is a better book. My advice is to go to the websites .

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful.
5great advice and paid for itself many times over
By Stephen Pellerine
I am quite a comfortable traveler and have been to several destinations and loved this book as an accompaniment in my Beijing journeys. It is not a book that will bring you off the beaten track in an adventurous sense (I guess) but I was able to find good accommodation, orient myself around the city, and get off to some wonderful "non-touristy" Great Wall hikes.

The book served me well and if you are heading to Beijing for the first time and want a concise valuable guide this is it. I found great accommodation for example for dollars a night and this paid for the book itself had I gone to a more expensive hotel - just in the first evening. Also a great guide to Peaking Duck at "5 star" restaurants for very reasonable fees.

I see that others feel the guide is not perfect, and I agree, but I have never come across a "perfect" guide book. I did enjoy having the book and found that it gave great advice and paid for itself many times over.

See all 10 customer reviews...

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