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The Insider's Guide to Beijing 2004-05
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The Insider's Guide to Beijing 2004-05 [Paperback]

Adam Pillsbury
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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Book Description

September 15, 2004
Penned by the writers and editors of Beijing's top English magazine "that's Beijing," this 640-page tome covers everything from sightseeing and weekend escapes to finding a job, a home and Beijing's best martini -- with style and wit. This full-color book is chock full of the hard-to-obtain info about living in Beijing that is too in-depth for the travel guidebook: essentials such as how to obtain a driver's license, vets who make house calls, and how to obtain a mortgage. The Insider's Guide to Beijing is an authoritative guide and an illuminating read -- in short, a crucial read for those planning to relocate or travel to the city.

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Editorial Reviews


"The Insider's Guide to Beijing rates as one of the best, new, imaginative and informative guidebooks in a long time." -- South China Morning Post, January 30, 2005

From the Author

Unlike most Beijing guidebooks which are written by one or two authors, the Insider's Guide to Beijing is a collaborative endeavor, involving over 40 writers and photographers, all of them long-term Beijing residents. The idea, of course, was to ensure that each chapter was written from experience and spoke with authority. But the multiple author approach was also rooted in the conviction that the only way to accurately portray such a sprawling and fast-paced subject as Beijing was through multiple perspectives (i.e. the 'Cubist' approach). Born in four separate decades, the book's writers include native Beijingers and foreign residents; parents and singles; a World Bank consultant, an entrepreneur, two rock musicians, a dancer, a conceptual artist and several journalists. Each writer brought unique specialization and insight, ensuring nuance and pluralism. To be sure, overseeing a project of this size was not stress free, but working with so many thoughtful contributors who share my fascination with Beijing was a true privilege. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Paperback: 640 pages
  • Publisher: Shantou University Press; 1st edition (September 15, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 7810368788
  • ISBN-13: 978-7810368780
  • Package Dimensions: 7.7 x 5.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,481,616 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Customer reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Guide! February 3, 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Beijing is a rapidly changing city and I would recommend purchasing the current version of this book instead of an older version. That said, I used this book while studying in Beijing for a month in 2007. I took several guidebooks along, but by far this was the guidebook that my group used more than any other. The only trouble I had with it was that one restaurant it recommended had been razed a few weeks prior to my looking for it. However, as other reviews have commented, such is the nature of Beijing. Other than that small inconvenience, I found the book to be invaluable. In addition to all of the main tourist attractions, the book listed several less-well-known places to visit. My group visited several places recommended by the book and we thoroughly enjoyed each place. The book was easy to use and larger than other guidebooks but we just tossed it in a backpack and always had it when we needed it. I highly recommend this book for someone taking a longer trip to Beijing.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good reference October 29, 2006
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I used this book while in Beijing for two months and found the information very useful. Written by people who live, work and play in Beijing it includes a number of interesting asides on customs and culture as well as the usual information on places to eat, stay, shop, party etc.

My only complaint is that it's way long on shopping (not my favorite activety) and a little short on cultural material, ie, museums, temples, historical sites, etc. As a consequence I found myself running out of places to visit after a couple of weeks, but for the short stay this wouldn't be a problem. All in all a better reference book for Beijing than any others I've seen.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Insider's Guide written by REAL insiders December 14, 2004
If you're just hitting Beijing for three-four days, stick with Frommer's, Lonely Planet et al. But if you're planning a longer trip, and most especially if you're a truly curious traveler interested in not only the what but also the WHY of a historical but living and fast-transforming city, the Insider's Guide to Beijing will be your trusted companion. It's a great guidebook while you're in the city but also makes fascinating pre- and post-trip reading, with great nuggets of info on how the taxi cab license plate system works, interviews with local people like chefs at famous restaurants, and humourous but also useful info on topics like "breathing in Beijing" and how to get from place to place using the fastest mode of transportation.

The fact that the Insider's Guide is really written by insiders - long-time expat residents who clearly know and love the city but also understand all its quirks, means you also get the benefit of informed reviews of everything from bars to shopping areas that go far beyond a thumbs-up/thumbs-down rating to really give you a sense of whether YOU as an individual would enjoy it. Since the writers are long-timers, you get a sense throughout the book of the fast changes Beijing is going through as well.

Other than the fact that it could use a few more maps (easily available at your hotel or a shop, however) it's a terrific, jam-packed, informative and easy to use guide to one of the world's great cities.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars tai ji le! (Fantastic) March 26, 2007
I hefted this voluminous tome all the way to Beijing and back, and it was worth every pound! In addition to being a facinating read, we used it for tracking down restaurants and out of the way sights, but mostly, MOSTLY for shopping! This book saved us a ton of money and time; the article on bargaining really brought home some great techniques on buying everything we needed/wanted. It made this traveler feel like a real Beijinger! (PS..if you can read some Chinese, buy the current Beijing Busroute atlas at any bookstore: you'll save a ton of money getting round and it also pinpoints exactly the locations of sights/stores/better known restaurants/Post Offices/banks/hotels and many of the things mentioned in the Insider's Beijing book and how to get there on public transport--it was the best 15 yuan/2$ I spent!)
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars extensive but already out of date January 8, 2007
The editorial content is excellent and very thorough, especially restaurants, which receive shallow treatment in other guides. I preordered the 2007 edition, and used it within 2 weeks of receiving it from Amazon. However, I found many stores/restaraunts/etc not as listed, because they had moved or gone out of business. Such is the reality of Beijing -- it is changing so frantically, that no guide can be reliable, even when newly published. So the frustration is there is wonderful information to use to plan a visit, but your plans will be thrawted by construction upheaval and property speculation.

I appreciate generally complete Chinese language addresses with places listed. I would recommend that information be organized more around neighborhoods, since Beijing is so spread out that finding something interesting may not necessarily be easy to get to. Also, I would concur that the maps could be improved. Finally, while this guide is is useful to the visitor, it is oriented to the expat living in Beijing. The proof is the heavy weight of the guide -- quite uncomfortable to carry around.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Buy!! July 25, 2005
By Abbe
Wonderful guide book especially made for the expatriate in mind. I lived in Beijing and found this guide book very helpful. Actually calling it a 'guide book' kind of cheapens it -- this is the type of book needed in more cities around the world for those that live in a particular place and for those that wish to experience life 'like a local'

I would have liked more maps, yet thinking about the quick growth and change of the city, maps change just as much as the city does, so it is better to pick one up elsewhere.

This is a good book at a "no joke" price, although (of course) it is cheaper in Beijing. Yet don't take a chance and wait for Beijing - this is a must buy and a big regret if you don't get it.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The only book you will need in Beijing
The best thing about this book is a taxi driver can read the directions and address for locations, because they are in Mandarin. Read more
Published on November 25, 2007 by RiceSnow
1.0 out of 5 stars i did not like this book at all.
it is not intended for travelers, but for expad, or for pepole intending to move to beijing
Published on August 15, 2007 by Yoav Bruck
5.0 out of 5 stars priceless
Kudos to these authors. I don't live in Beijing, but as a frequent visitor, this book has really provided valuable information. Read more
Published on February 6, 2007 by Soupie Strudders
4.0 out of 5 stars Needed info
The "Insider's Guide to Bejing" is a needed book, going to Bejing for the first time. Of course if you have friends there, that is one thing. Read more
Published on January 9, 2007 by James Walters
4.0 out of 5 stars almost perfect
Great book, I agree with everyone else's raves. The book could be improved by providing MAPS! I ripped out my lonely planet beijing maps and paper clipping them to the back... Read more
Published on July 3, 2006 by Andrea Goldman
5.0 out of 5 stars Your Bible if you're moving to Beijing.
Moving to Beijing ? Worried about bicycling in Beijing, are there good international schools, buying a pet, a cell phone, clothing, ... Read more
Published on March 6, 2006 by Gerard Seghers
5.0 out of 5 stars Important Notice 4 the newbees in Peking:
the Insider's Guide to Beijing 2004-2005 is just alomost same as 2005-2006 you dont need to pay that much to view the new pubilished book.(...)
Published on March 5, 2006 by pekingbuer
5.0 out of 5 stars BEST OF THE BEST
I've been in Beijing 12 years from Boston. I love this book cause I'm in it under Sports and Auto sections. ha ha .. But even if I wasnt in it I'd buy it.. Read more
Published on October 27, 2005 by lewis
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