A guide for travelers seeking the ancient in modern Beijing.
Walk-loving newcomers to Beijing will find a superb resource in this travel guide, geared toward exploring lesser-known parts of the city on foot. Finding such places is no small feat in the bulging metropolis, with official population estimates ranging between 12 and 20 million, so sightseers will appreciate the book’s clear directions, maps and first-timer tips. The guide would serve as an excellent addition to many tourists’ collections, especially those preparing to attend the Olympic Games in summer 2008, when seasonal heat and wind gusts from the Gobi desert will make escapes to Beijing’s many tree-lined parks and darkened temples all the more enticing. Walk Beijing focuses on sites neophytes won’t want to miss–Beijing’s ancient temples, parks, residences and the celebrated Forbidden City. However, it lacks detailed histories of each site. Although it offers shopping tips–bargain hard at the Silk Alley Market–and warns of smog, traffic and crime, the book offers little for those interested in Beijing’s unique modernity. It focuses primarily on tradition, and the landscapes and towers of dynasties past. For details on the avant-garde contemporary art, hip clubs and cheap technologies that fill the lives of Beijing’s youth, readers will need to look elsewhere. Thus, a second in-depth guide on newer attractions might serve meandering travelers well. For readers who have burned off some calories with all that strolling, they can look to Walk Beijing for tips on where to eat and find massages for their worn-out heels.
A great accompaniment to guides offering more in-depth histories.