China Travel Guide BooksHere is a selection of our favorite China Travel Guide Books. We have used them to plan our trips, map out itineraries, check out logistics, or just simply for inspiration!
A good Travel Guide is an excellent tool to help you get the most out of your China trip, or any trip for that matter. They help you plan and prepare yourself for what you're about to see and experience. For kids, likewise, a little advance preparation goes a long way. They will be excited to see things and places they have read about before. That look of realization and recognition on their faces when they see something they have only seen in pictures before is really priceless. If they have learned about it in school, it reinforces that knowledge.
But finding a good travel guide that will hold the children's interest is not easy as most travel guides cater to adults. This is the closest we could find to a China Travel Guide Book for Children:
(The following links will take you to the Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk sites, all prices are current as of August 2014, and most guide books are available in hard copy as well as digital format through the Kindle Store in case you need it in a hurry! As always, we appreciate you buying through one of our links, supporting our site and help us help Save the Children!)
China Travel Guides for Children
Ages: 6-8. Not "oficially" a travel guide, but the closest thing we have found. As with the DK Eyewitness Travel Guides, the wonderful photographs, illustrations and stories for this age group, let children find out about China's history, its culture and what day to day life is like now.
"Welcome to China" is a small booklet which can be easily carried during the trip. Explanations are short with pictures on all pages. Kids get a glimpse of China's major cities and attractions, all from traditional Hutongs to the Maglev train, they learn about Pandas, the Three Gorges Dam, the Terracotta Army...
This book is part of the DK Readers series, the multilevel program that encourages reading skills as well as general knowledge. This book is a Level 3, for children reading alone but not yet proficient readers.
Here are some more of our favorite children's books about China, that can help prepare the kids for that trip to the Middle Kingdom, or simply to learn more about Chinese culture and life.
DK Eyewitness China Travel GuidesDK Eyewitness Travel Guides are well-known for their wonderful photographs and illustrations and are some of our favorites. The China Guides are no exception.
China Eyewitness Travel Guide - US$22.89 gives you a great overview of this land. The first chapter introduces you to the landscapes, the people, the history and culture. Then it splits into seven regional sections each providing descriptions of the most important sights with maps, pictures and illustrations.
The book has an enormous amount of great color photographs, this alone can help you decide on your choice of destinations if you are in the planning stage.
This book, however, does not provide sufficient logistic details you might need if you are traveling on your own. You might want to consider the more specific city guides which are available. See below.
Eyewitness Travel Guide - Beijing and Shanghai US$17.64
More in-depth coverage of these two cities is offered by this guide, including walking tours and nearby attractions, the different sections of the Great Wall, the Watertowns near Shanghai, etc.
Excellent street maps and as in good DK Eyewitness Guide fashion, lots of illustrations and photographs.
This guide is light and easy to carry with you, if you are traveling to any of the two cities or both, a definite winner.
This is a pocket-sized travel guide, offers a lot of detail and handy fold-out maps that mark all the major sights.
The "top 10" lists of Beijing offer for example the top temples and monasteries, top museums and galleries, top shopping districts and markets, must-see Olympics sights, highlights of the Great Wall...
Eyewitness Top 10 Travel Guides: Top Ten Hong Kong US$10.49 As its Beijing counterpart, this Top 10 Hong Kong Guide offers a fold-out map indicating the hightlights and major attractions.
The top 10 lists of Hong Kong include for example, the best views of the skyline, liveliest bars, top sights in Macau, best places to shop, thrilling festivals, and more...
From National Geographic
Although I would not rely on this to navigate the city streets, this National Geographic atlas is a wonderful resource to take you on an initial journey to understand China and the forces driving its change.
This array of over 400 full-color maps and illustrations present a variety of topics, such as population, language, internet use, water flows, internal migration, etc. all beautifully presented by National Geographic. Tremendous value for the price.
Lonely Planet China Travel Guides
I have been using Lonely Planet Travel Guides for what it seems like forever. All throughout my travels in South East Asia more than 20 years ago, the LP always got me out of trouble. Known as "the backpacker's bible" Lonely Planet Guides are an excellent source for the "do it yourself" traveler.
With respect to China there is a Country Guide and several City and Regional guides. They all do an excellent job at covering their respective areas. Names of places and attractions are written also in Chinese, specially useful if you are traveling independently, just point at the name to the taxi/bus driver.
Also be aware that the Lonely Planet books are in the "banned list" in China, something to do with the way Taiwan is presented as its own land instead of part of China. Books have been confiscated at checkpoints, so you might want to put a different cover on the paperback just in case your luggage gets searched. Needless to say, you need to get your copies before you enter China as you will not be able to buy them there.
Check out our interview with Carolyn B. Heller one of Lonely Planet's contributing authors for the China Guides, as she tells us about her off-the beaten path travels through the region with her kids.
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