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on September 25, 2009
I was sitting in the book store for hours that comparing the LP, Rough Guide & Frommer's to decide which one should get for my trip to China. Finally I bought the Frommer's.

People hold different purposes along their trips, such as exploring the history of various places, entertaining, trekking or looking for challenge adventures. I used to be a fan of lonely planet 12 years ago. However, as I have got more experience of backpacking, I rated myself as a medium trekker. So obviously, LP-China is out of my choice. Rough Guide comes with more history introductions than Frommer's, but I like the way Frommer's grouping the information and they have more details about exploring the North-West China(e.g.Silk-Route) that I haven't seen any others have. If Frommer's published the Tibet that would have been great and I am expecting.

btw, the price of the book rocks.
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on July 17, 2004
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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on September 12, 2010
I bought Frommer's China to help us navigate China for 30 days this past summer. Much of the information was very useful, but there were a couple improvements that could be made.

In China you need to be able to have the Chinese name (and spelling) easily available. Additionally the maps were not easy to use.

Lonely planet had the Chinese names right where you needed them and we used these maps in most of the cities we visited. Lonely planet was easier to use, but is geared towards younger travelers.

Between Frommer's China and the Lonely Planet we were well prepared for our adventures.
It would just be easier to carry one book next time! I will check out Let's Go _____ next time to see if it does the trick.
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on December 3, 2014
A good book for general tourist information. As an overseas Chinese myself, I'd be looking for something with more insight into the unbeaten paths and the hidden treasures. I can't blame this book for what I don't see, but it serves its targeted very readers well. Still I found the book very helpful for sketching out my destination plan.
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on November 28, 2013
I usually buy lonely planet, but for China, it seems Frommer's is better for China. It has more detail and more accrue.
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on June 13, 2004
I bought this book because it was the most recently published travel guide on Beijing at the time (Dec '03). I have been living in Beijing for 3 months and have been to several of the places the book recommends. The facts in it are usually accurate; some prices, restaurant names, and phone numbers have changed since the book was published.
My main qualm with this book is the referencing... it is completely inconvenient. First of all, the Chinese characters of location names are listed in the back of the book, instead of with the desriptions (like most books). This makes is difficult to show people the characters of the place you are looking for if you're lost.
Also, if you are looking at one of the book's maps, and want to find out more about a certain location, there is no page reference. You have to look the place up in the index and then flip to the description.
Similarly, there are no map references in the sight-descriptions. (The book has several maps.) You have to guess which map the place would be on, based on the very basic directions given in the description. This can be a pain!!!
Otherwise, the book proved useful. My friends that had the Lonely Planet guide said that is was much less acurate than my book. Also check out Let's Go when deciding which book to buy.
I bought this book, Frommers Beijing, and Frommers Shanghai. Altogether they were pretty useful, but had a lot of repeating info between the main book and the city guides.
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