I must admit, I’ve committed the ultimate sin in the way of travel planning. During a recent moment of weakness, I purchased the Lonely Planet guide to China. As far as I can tell, the thing leads you to generally every tourist hounded location within the Peoples republic, namely religious relics, museum villages (ones that open there doors at a cost, and rusticate large portions of their homes to appeal to backpackers). Knowing how much tourists love to see China in a certain light, native Chinese in many regions have built their towns into living museums, similar to those museums found throughout the united states that bring you back to a certain time in history. Lonely planet has thousands of such villages listed all over the country.
It isn’t all bad. In fact, it has suggested a number of things that I wouldn’t have thought of, as well as giving relatively detailed information on bus and train times, fares, and good suggestions for plotting out itineraries and overall thoughts on the quality of each region. It would be great to spend some time traveling around the country and getting a wide spectrum view of the culture, but on the same note I wonder if I would not be better suited (or for that matter if it would be more beneficial in the long run) to stay in one area and get a stronger sense of finer details of that region. In terms of language study, staying still is probably the way to go, but there are just so many things to see along the way. If anything, the thousand some pages of Lonely Planet have only made the country seem larger. Great.
If you are interested in purchasing your own copy, you can check out the current addition on amazon – It’s worth a look- just click on the image below!