Good for package tourists; not for exploration,
This review is from: Lonely Planet China 8th Ed.: 8th Edition (Paperback)They say that everything you hear about China is true somewhere. Everything you read in LP China may also be true somewhere but unfortunately not always where you are. Originally published in August 2002 this book is well past its prime. It is still superior to the Rough Guide but could use a serious update. Speaking of which the overleaf promises guidebook upgrades on the Internet but they discontinued this in favour of user discussion.
Pricing - the cost of tea in China, you say? Like most things in China, prices are in constant flux and I question the value of including them. They are more misleading than helpful. Tourist attractions will generally be higher than what the book says but other prices will be close.
Locations - I live in the city of Wuhan and in the last two year it has undergone tremendous changes. There is simply no way for a printed book to keep up with them. For example, in the last six months the bus routes in WuChang have changed four times.
If you are going to travel around China be flexible! Expect that nothing in the guidebook will be where you expected. Expect to bargain for everything, hotel prices included. Remember that any guide book is only a starting place. As I have travelled around southern China I have used this book as a starting point and then asked the locals what they would do. Most have never been to the "tourist sites" but can show you a great street restaurant just around the corner.
This book is great for those thinking of going to China but who will never make the trip, or for those who are going on a package trip to fourteen cities in eight days. For those who want to explore China on their own I would advise caution.