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The Rough Guide to China 4 (Rough Guide Travel Guides) Paperback – November 21, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

David Leffman is an established Rough Guide author and inveterate traveller with a long history of visiting China. Simon Lewis first visited China in 1993 where he studied Mandarin Chinese, after working as a barman, teacher and life model in Hong Kong. 
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Product Details

  • Series: Rough Guide Travel Guides
  • Paperback: 1248 pages
  • Publisher: Rough Guides; 4 edition (November 21, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1843534797
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843534792
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 1.4 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,745,407 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Matthew D. Stidle on May 21, 2006
Format: Paperback
Using solely this book as our guide, my girlfriend and I navigated Beijing, Xian, Guilin, Yangshuo, Guangzhou, and Hong Kong completely on our own without getting lost once. The maps are absolute life-savers (though they would be even more useful if they included the Chinese characters for the street names), the descriptions of place generally current and accurate (though they might have mentioned that, as of May of 2006, Yangshuo is no longer a mecca of calm and relaxation but rather a maddening gauntlet of pushy vendors and tourists), and it even provided enjoyable reading material on the long train rides.

A lot of people in the anti-tour-group set go with Lonely Planet for whatever reason, but I'm very glad I picked this one up. Next trip: RUSSIA -- I'm picking up the Rough Guide for it now.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Rob Clarke on August 10, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Although I always buy Lonely Planet guides to every foreign destination, I tried Rough Guide this time. I liked the format, the readability, and the information I was looking for. It is almost 200 pages larger (but because of a quality thin paper is less thick), and has less fine print. I would rate it a bit above the similar Lonely Planet guide to China, and still buy the Lonely Planet. Those two rate way above the competition such as Fodors, Frommers and the like. Of course, the China Eyewitness Travel Guide is in a different class altogether.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Andrea H. on August 15, 2007
Format: Paperback
Having consulted the Rough Guide, Lonely Planet, and the Eyewitness guides to China on my last trip to the country, I can definitely vouch that Rough Guide is the way to go, with Eyewitness taking second and Lonely Planet a distant third. For my money, the Rough Guides have the edge on Lonely Planet in their critical-but-not-jaded tone, detailed practical information (more detailed than Lonely Planet), superior maps, informative and comprehensive background essays, and general elan (subjective, I know, but there you have it). That said, Lonely Planet does seem to have a slight edge in restaurants, but every place we ate at out of the Rough Guide was delicious. In the end, of course, which guidebook you buy depends on the kind of travel you'll be doing; I would recommend the Eyewitness guides without reserve for armchair and group travelers, or for those map-obsessed travlers who compulsively want to find their way around on their own. That said, the Rough Guide maps are more than sufficient, especially when supplemented with local tourist maps, which will inevitably be more up-to-date.

That really is my only caveat about the book; things in China (especially Shanghai and Beijing, cities most travelers pass through) are changing so rapidly that a new edition can't come soon enough. I marked an additional 20 subway stations on the Shanghai map in January 2007; this book was published in October 2005. In the meantime, I'll just say that the Suzhou Museum is now a must-see.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By World Traveller on April 10, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I took this book for two weeks of travelling in China with my husband. At the time, it was the most recently published guide book. I also like Lonely Planet and others, but felt that recent trumped other considerations.

We didn't use any tour company - we just set it all up ourselves. It was much easier than you'd think - don't believe anyone who tells you otherwise. Get some good travel books like this one, so you can learn which Websites are in English and let you buy flights with a credit card. And how to respond when someone says "Hi Kind Foreigner! I'm an art student and we're doing a showing. Would you like to see our work?" (Answer: No, thankyou, scam artist, I'm sure your work is nice but grossly overpriced.) Important things like that.

We used this book in tandem with the photo-rich Eyewitness Travel Guide to plan a volunteer vacation in China, with 2 weeks of volunteering and 2 weeks of free travel time. If I had to pick just one for deciding where to go, I'd go with the photo book, because nothing beats photos if you are trying to decide whether to take the Yangtze River Cruise or go to the Li River valley. But if I had to pick just one to actually get myself around China, no question it would be Rough Guide. Whereas the Eyewitness guide has lots of useful info as well as photos, the Rough Guide has ten times more (more pages, no photos, lots more space) and all the details needed to actually know exactly where to catch the train in the town, what bus number, etc. Rough Guide is what you'll need to actually get around. It was up-to-date enough for our use, and it's reassuringly detailed. If you can swing both, get 'em!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By S. Caal on November 8, 2006
Format: Paperback
We just got back from two weeks in China. This Rough Guide to China helped us navigate the 3 cities we visited in China (Beijing, Xi'an and Shanghai). We opted to explore the cities on our own without relying on tours. We mainly used this guide to get to the main attractions it suggested to see, to communicate with people and to select certain restaurants. Overall, we recommend this guide for the traveler who is interested and willing to explore China without the expense of tours. We are so glad we skipped the tours as exploring the cities on our own gave us a pretty good taste of the country's culture and peoples. Some of the things that are outdated in the guide are a function of the rapid development that China is experiencing. In spite of some of the outdated details, the interested traveler will still be able to navigate the country as the guide currently is.
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