At over 3.5 million square miles, China has much to offer adventurous travelers. This book does not skimp on any information a traveler might need. The opening is as appetizing for travelers as a wonderful tray of dim sum – with stunning photographs and short descriptions of the top fifty travel destinations in China, followed by a history of China including a comprehensive timeline. Travelers like having historical information about the places they visit, and this is just the right amount to satisfy most.
The writers divided the book into 34 geographic sections, each filled with the kind of information travelers really need: weather through the year; a map of the area; a short history; attractions including photos, prices, hours, websites, local transport information even including phrases to show a taxi driver written in Chinese; hotel, bar, club, and restaurant information with descriptions and discounts available with the book; shopping; entertainment; and a useful, thorough section on transportation. Some sections on trains even includes prices, duration, and schedule information. This high level of information gives travelers a leg up on planning. Travelers will have an edge at staying safe after reading the sections on scams; air, water, and food quality; and travel tips.
The writing is lively and pleasant to read as the writers are mostly Americans, some expats, who have spent a good deal of time in China. The book comes with a large map of China and smaller maps of Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Beijing. A Mandarin Chinese phrasebook and excellent index polish this terrific travel book off. Only a couple of problems exist. First, the type is a bit small and the weight comes in at a hefty 2 pounds 11.8 ounces. Otherwise, this book promises to be the perfect companion for travelers and armchair travelers.
Trey Archer, Robert Linnet
Panda Guides Publishing Inc.