Xinjiang | A Traveler's Guide to Far West China Kindle Edition
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- ASIN : B00WF8YACE
- Publisher : Go West Media (April 19, 2015)
- Publication date : April 19, 2015
- Language : English
- File size : 9773 KB
- Simultaneous device usage : Unlimited
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 479 pages
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #620,068 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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It was very useful for prioritizing things worth seeing and places with going. It's not an exhaustive list of everything there is, but it's more focused and up-to-date than WikiTravel. And in these days of decision fatigue, I'm grateful to let knowledgeable people do some of the filtering for me. Summers does also include a few items in the "maybe worth your time if..." category, which I appreciated. And some of his tips (especially around Kashgar) were absolute gems!
His recommendations for hostels were reliable (except when I got to Tashkurgan, where his preferred hostel had already closed for the winter, but I was traveling at the very end of the season). I am a budget traveler, so I only stayed in hostels and family-run guesthouses, except for one time. And on that one occasion, this guide failed to keep up with the ever-changing vicissitudes of Chinese regulations regarding accommodations for foreigners. (The guide said a particular hotel was the only one that was able to take foreigners, when in fact that hotel no longer took foreigners and I had to go to a different one.) But as a static publication, it's impossible to keep up with these things. My advice for foreigners traveling *anywhere* in China, would be to call ahead and confirm that the places you intend to stay in are officially allowed to house foreigners.
The maps were useful. I printed them out and made a little booklet-size "atlas" that I carried with me. It was handy. I do have some minor complaints about the maps, though. Future versions should include a distance scale on every map and more different kinds of shapes for the place markers (for ease of distinguishing when printed in black & white). Also, I feel that maps of Ili/Yining and the surrounding region would have been useful. Trying to navigate from Ili/Yining toward the south is confusing, even with the help of knowledgeable people. My recommendation is not to depend on these maps as your only maps. Just use them to get a general idea of where things are.
But the best thing about this product is that you get to join the author's Facebook group for Xinjiang travelers. There you can ask the author and fellow travelers your specific questions and benefit from the wisdom of the crowd. I also added the author on WeChat (one of the most popular instant messaging apps in China) and occasionally asked him for advice while I was on the road. I don't think that's an official service included in the price of this product, but it felt like having a friend who I could ping for advice whenever things became unclear.
In general, Summers gives great advice and this book really helped me both plan my trip, and adjust my plans on the fly as circumstances changed. And the price is right. If you're like me and get overwhelmed by choices when you're trying to plan a trip, then it's definitely worth it to pick up this little guide.
Reviewed by J Thomas Brown 7-25-17
I am planning to visit Xinjiang. I read Josh Summer’s book after watching some of his great videos on the region. My interest in Xinjiang over the last twelve years is more on the academic side. Back around 2002, I decided to write an adventure fantasy about an archaeologist who discovers mummies buried in a tomb near modern Cherchen and learns the location of the Lost City of Old Cherchen, still a mystery.
Part of my idea was to contrast descriptions of modern Xinjiang with the ancient Xinjiang of about 3,800 years ago. I read travel guides to try to get a feel for the tastes, sights and sounds. What I found was that Xinjiang is undergoing tremendous change all the time and Xinjiang | A Traveler’s Guide to Far West China is the best I’ve seen for up to date information. Other travel guides are often outdated and tend to fluff things up for the sake of tourism. This guide includes tips on what to avoid and what not to do, such as pointing your camera at a policeman. There are many great sights to see and personal recommendations of the best places to visit and how to effectively use your time to get there. Whether you are an upscale traveler or on a tight budget, there’s something for you.
There are good written descriptions within the book, but at times I wished there were more embedded pictures to go along with them. Included are links to Eleanor Moseman’s website with great shots of Uighur life, and links to some of the hotels where you can stay.
Josh Summer has written more than a travel guide. He has lived there and his love for the people and many cultures comes through. Included is information on ethnic groups: their religions, holidays and festivals, foods, and how you can experience their way of life. I highly recommend it.
All but one of my Han Chinese friends warned me not to go to Xinjiang. My girl friend begged me not to go. Xinjiang is dirty and dangerous I was told and far too hot as well. But a Chinese teacher I worked with had spent a few years there told me to go. So I did.
I went in July and the weather was great. A little rain every day kept the temperatures down. Security did not seem to be a problem despite just about every male carrying a knife on his belt.
If I had "Xinjiang: A Traveler's Guide to Far West China" back then I would had a more interesting trip. Josh has the first hand knowledge and experience on the ground and his book brings you this info in a most useful way.