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Frommer's China (Frommer's Complete Guides) Paperback – December 29, 2003

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Product Details

  • Series: Frommer's Complete Guides (Book 213)
  • Paperback: 856 pages
  • Publisher: Frommer's; 1st edition (December 29, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764567551
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764567551
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.6 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,839,143 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Experience a place the way the locals do. Enjoy the best it has to offer. And avoid tourist traps. At Frommer’s, we use 150 outspoken travel experts around the world to help you make the right choices. Frommer’s. Your guide to a world of travel experience.

Choose the Only Guide That Gives You:

  • Complete coverage of China’s top attractions, plus introductions to unique places unknown to other guidebooks.
  • Outspoken opinions on what’s worth your time and what’s not, written by former residents with comprehesive knowledge of the language and culture.
  • The most accurate, comprehensive, and practical help for the independent traveler.
  • Exact prices, so you can plan the perfect trip no matter what your budget.
  • The best hotels and restaurants in every price range, with candid reviews.

Visit us online at

About the Author

Peter Neville-Hadley (development editor) is the author of the Cadogan Guides’ China: The Silk Routes and Beijing and has also updated and edited various China titles for Odyssey Guides. A Mandarin speaker and former resident of Beijing who has been to almost every corner of China, he has written on the country for Time, The Sunday Times (U.K.), the National Post (Canada), and numerous other magazines and newspapers in Asia and North America. He moderates The Oriental-List, an Internet discussion list dealing with travel in China (see

J. D. Brown has lived and worked in China and has written about China as a literary traveler, a travel writer, and a guidebook author. His work has appeared in such diverse publications as the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Michigan Quarterly Review, Islands, and National Geographic Traveler. He is also the author of F rommer’s ShanghaiFrommer’s China: The 50 Most Memorable Trips. When he is not traveling in the Far East, he lives in Eugene, Oregon.

Josh Chin lived in Beijing for 2.5 years, during which time he worked as a freelance journalist and travel writer, and served as copy editor for the government-run China Daily. He first visited China in 1991, and studied Mandarin at Peking University in 1998. He has also lived in Utah, Maine, and Hong Kong. This is his first book for Frommer’s. He would like to thank Susan and Yang Jingdong in Changchun, and Feng Hua, Corrie Dosh, and Katie Benner in Beijing for their various forms of help.

Sharon Owyang, born in Singapore and a graduate of Harvard University, divides her time between film and television projects in the U.S. and China, and freelance travel writing. She has written about Shanghai, China, Vietnam, and San Diego for Insight Guides, Compact Guides, the Los Angeles Times, and several websites. When she’s not traveling, she pays her dues in Los Angeles, California.

Beth Reiber worked for several years in Germany as a freelance travel writer writing for major U.S. newspapers and in Tokyo as editor of the Far East Traveler. Now a freelance travel writer residing in Lawrence, Kansas, with her two sons, she’s the author of several Frommer’s guides including Frommer’s Japan and Frommer’s Tokyo, and is a contributor to Frommer’s Europe from $70 a Day and Frommer’s USA.

For the past 15 years, Michelle Sans has studied, taught, and directed academic tours in China. She speaks and reads Mandarin and holds a master’s degree in Chinese language and classical literature.

Graeme Smith has traveled through most of China’s backwaters over the last 15 years. After almost selling his girlfriend to a truck driver for ¥20 ($2.50) he realized it was time to learn the language properly, and spent 2 years pacing the corridors of Peking and Tsinghua universities in search of enlightenment. He was lured away from the comforts of academic life and a substantial contract with the South Coogee Wanderers Football Club to join our team.

More About the Authors

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Customer Reviews

It does have some good information such as bus, train and taxi info, but aside from that it's pretty useless.
The Eyewitness Guide is very attractive and informative visually, while "50 Trips" has excellent descriptive text and not a single photograph!
Michael Gunther
My daughter is going to love in China for a year and after reading this book she knows what to get out of living there .

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Jordan Reiter on July 21, 2005
Format: Paperback
To begin with, readers should know that this guide was severly pared down, which explains why there are so few budget hotels and budget restaurants listed. Many section writers knew plenty of cheaper hotels and restaurants, but due to space limitations the decision was made by the publisher to list only the upper-level accomodations. This is partly because Frommer's really isn't geared towards the budget traveller.

The Beijing section is excellent, and you should go with their recommendation of staying at the Far East International Hostel, or the hotel across from it.

I am suprised by the review that felt that the authors had never been to China. In fact, all of the authors were actually foreign residents of China. While this means that they have a more intimate understanding of their region, it often means that they are less focused on the area as a travelling destination, which may explain why they don't go into the kinds of historical and cultural detail that a travel writer (who is experiencing the city differently) might.

Also, it means that much of the recommendations for certain sections of the book are not at all written from a traveller's perspective. In particular, the section on Chengdu focuses nearly all of its restaurants in the middle-south of the city. After hearing locations described in terms of their proximity to the US Consulate three times, it certainly makes me suspect that the writer of the section spent a long time there. In fact, 7 of 12 of the restaurants were located no more than half a mile from the consulate.
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42 of 50 people found the following review helpful By P. Callaway on November 4, 2004
Format: Paperback
We just took a trip to China, and brought this book as our primary guide. In the store it looked like the best of the bunch, full of details, lots of info to help us find a hotel and get prepped for the trip, but once we got there it was not useful at all.

Our biggest problem was the lack of Chinese characters for any of the places. We took taxis most places, and they would look at the pinyin (romanized) names and addresses in the descriptions section and either not understand or flat out refuse to take us. It was VERY FRUSTRATING not having the Chinese characters, and not having the Chinese addresses. We later realized that the characters for the names were on the map pages, however not all places were on the map, and the full addresses and Chinese street names weren't listed, so it still wasn't what we needed. Not only that but the maps were hard to find, as they were buried in the middle of the descriptions and we kept flipping past them. Even after I'd dog-eared them.

Secondly, once we got out of Beijing, most of the information was way out of date, or flat out wrong! For instance, we went to Kunming, and the first restaurant we tried to go to wasn't there anymore, and the other restaurant had the wrong address! Fortunately our taxi driver figured out it was talking about a vegetarian restaurant that was nearby. At that point I was extremely glad we had a Chinese speaker with us! Otherwise we would have never found it. Not only that, but when we tried to go to the Stone Forest, it recommended to take the train, but the train they mention apparently doesn't run anymore, and the ticket-seller told us that the other train (later in the day) was a really bad option, very slow, and that we should take the bus. We ended up hiring a car for the day.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 17, 2004
Format: Paperback
My copy of this title has the Chinese in large, useful characters right next to the maps. Only if there's no map for a small town is the Chinese listed in the back, with the information for each town handily grouped together in alphabetical order.
And like every other guide book, the map for a town is in the middle of the text talking about that town. So what's hard to find? The hotels and places to see are right next to the map in most cases. And since the towns only have one map, what's to guess about which maps things are on?
I don't know about the Beijing and Shanghai guides, but of course there will be a lot of repeated information. The sights don't change, after all. The best place to eat is the same. Bus 47 still runs the same route. Of course lots of the information is the same. What do you expect?
But what I do agree on is that this books is waaaaay more accurate than any other I looked at. I'm no fan of the usual schmaltzy Frommer's style, but this book really tells it like it is. It has the most extensive, detailed and accurate practical information of any guide I've seen, including the do-it-yourself budget guides.
And while we're on the topic of Chinese, note that for every recommended restaurant there are recommended dishes, and the characters for them are given so you can just point to them to order. There's also a good long list of Chinese favourites you can buy anywhere.
And while the major destinations are covered, this guide also scores with some remote rural destinations I've not seen covered anywhere else, including LP. Even if you don't want to go there, it's fascinating to read about the real China away from the regular tourist routes.
You know, the first thing you want to check out when you buy a guide is the author biogs. Most of the writers on this guide speak Chinese and have lived in China. It really shows. All the LP and Rough guide readers were borrowing my copy all the time and making notes.
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