The Internet Travel Guide

                              Peter M. Geiser



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Last change: 13. January 1996




Beijing is the capital of China. It offers such a wide array of
attractions that one can easily spend a whole week without getting bored.
Some of the main attractions are:

Tiananmen Square
'The Square of The Gate of Heavenly Peace' is reportedly the largest
square of the world, with 1 km2. It is framed by the 'Great Hall of the
People' on its west side and the 'Museum of Chinese History' and 'Museum
of the Chinese Revolution' on the east. On the south part is 'Chairman
Mao's Mausoleum'.
At the north side is the entrance to the

Imperial Palace
The palace of the former emperors of the Qing dynasty is also called the
'Forbidden City'. This name is derived from the fact that nobody was
allowed inside the city, except the emperor himself, his wifes and
concubines and the eunuchs. The entrance is on the north side of the
Tienanmen Square. The entrance fee is CNY 60.
There are tapes with an audio tour, available in about 30 languages. It is
excellent and uses people native to the respective language. It costs you
another CNY 20. This tape guides you through a very narrow strip of the
Imperial Palace, and if you are not careful you find yourself suddenly at
the back and outside the Place, and there is no way back in except buy
another ticket. If you would like to explore the more hidden places, make
sure you quit the tour before the end.

Jinshan Park
Just behind the Imperial Palace is the Jinshan Park. On top of the hill is
a pagoda where you get a good view over the Imperial Palace and the city.

Bei Hai Park
Located just west of the Forbidden City, this park is set on the shores of
a nice lake. Its bright white pagoda on top of a hill is visible quite far
and dominates the park.

Temple of Heaven (Tian Tan)
The best time to see this park is when it opens at 6:30. It is a good
place to see Chinese people doing their numerous morning activities like
Taiqi, martial arts, ballroom dancing, playing musical instruments,
Mahjiang and Chinese Chess.
The entrance is CNY 30.

Lama Temple (Yong He Gong)
Located in the north of the city is the Lama Temple.

Summer Palace (Yu He Yuan)
The summer palace has been built be the mother of the last emperor, Xi Qi.
It is a pleasant garden with numerous imperial buildings on the whore of
a lake. The whole garden has been built out of taxes raised for building
a marine for China. o that nobody could accuse her of not building any
ships, the Emperor Dowager built one marble ship at a jetty.
It takes about an hour from the center to the Summer Palace. The entrance
is CNY 35.


The former main tourist hangout, the Qiao Yuan Hotel in the south of the
city, just opposite the Taoranting Park is currently undergoing major
renovations, and is now closed. So are the tourist services nearby.

Another cheap, but good place is the Long Tan Hotel, just opposite the
Long Tan Park.



The Chinese Wall or Great wall was built as a protection against the
Mongols from the north. It has been built in several stages and was at its
prime time more than 8000 km long. Today, most of it is in a state of bad
disrepair, and at some stretches even nearly invisible. However, the
Chinese government has recognised its value as a tourist attraction and a
place of historical significance, so it's starting to restore at least
part of it. There are several spots to visit it.

Ba Da Ling
The most famous and best known is Ba Da Ling. It is located 70 km north-
west from Beijing and easily reachable by tours. The wall is well
restored, but also extremely crowded.

Ming Ling
Less impressive than Ba Da Ling, but also less crowded.

Mu Tian Yu
Less crowded than Ba Da Ling, this place is very scenic.

There are several tours from Beijing to the Great Wall (mostly Badaling).
CITS charges USD 30 for transport, tickets to both theG reat Wall and the
Ming Tombs, Lunch and Shopping (they will bring you to a tourist shop
where you are supposed to buy overpriced goods, so that the driver gets a
commission.) It should be possible to get cheaper tours. Check out the
small restaurants near the Qiao Yuan Hotel in Beijing.
ANother possibility is to go by subway to Xizhimen station and then by
train to Badaling. This should cost about USD 2.

It is possible to walk along parts of the wall. You have to get permission
if you want to go astray the usual tourist spots. Also, in theory you'd
have to get permission to camp outside (but you're probably better off not
mentioning your plans.)

It is possible to ride a mountain bike over at least parts of the great
wall. Getting permission requires a _lot_ of red tape with the
government. Since the wall is not too well preserved for most of its
lenght you will have to bring more than enough repair material with you.
Your tires are likely to get punctured more than 20 or 30 times a day.


The Shaolin monastery is said to have been the home of monks that
developed the Shaolin Kung Fu. Nowadays it is one of the big tourist
attractions with Chinese spurred on by recent movies set in this

Nowadays, there is a school for martial arts in the surrounding
buildings. When I was there, I was astonished at the huge number of
classes full of eager students learning martial arts. There must be
several hundreds, if not thousands, at any one time.

The easiest way to go to this monastery is to use one of the many tour
busses from Zhengzhou.


Founded in 1200 BC, Luoyang is one of the oldest Chinese cities. It was
home to 10 dynasties, until the Jin moved their capital to Kaifeng. After
being destroyed by Jurchen invaders from the north, it sunk into
insignificance. Nowadays, it is a rather glum industrial center.

Baima Si (White Horse Temple)
13 km north of the city is the Baima Si. It was founded after two monks
sent as early as 67 to India to fetch holy scriptures returned. It is the
first Buddhist temple in China, and the first translations of the Holy
scripts from Sanskrit into Chinese were don here


The region of Xian has been inhabited as far back as 6000 years. At that
time the now rather barren plains were much greener and ideally suited for
farming. The first emperor of the unified China, Qin Shihuang founded the
capital of Xianyang, which is a bit west of Xian. Following the Qin was
the Han dynasty that moved the capital further easy, to the plain where
Xian now is. In 528 the Sui built the new capital of Changan that was to
become the greatest city in the world at that time, with about 2 million
people. It was enclosed by a wall stretching 8 km north-south, and nearly
10 km east-west.

Nowadays it is only a small part of its former self. As a reminder of the
old importance as a center of commerce with many trading partners as far
west as Persia and the Arabian world, there are still many Muslim.

Bell Tower
Originally from the 14th century, this huge tower was relocated in 1739.
It is possible to go to the top.

Drum Tower
Samller than the Bell Tower, it is just near the Great Mosque and marks
the entrance to the Muslim quarter.

Great Mosque
One of the largest mosques in China, this building dates back to the 18th
century. The mosque is still regularly used, with several prayer services
each day.

City Walls
Built on the remains of the Tang's Forbidden City during the Ming dynasty,
the wall has a total length of 14 km. It is about 12 m high, and about the
same width at the top.

Big Goose Pagoda
A bit south of the city wall is the Big Goose Pagoda. It was built in 652
after the holy monk Xuan Zhang returned from his journey to India where he
fetched the holy scriptures. This journey has found its way into the great
Chine classic 'The Journey to the West'. Xuan Zhang translated the whole
scriptures into 1335 volumes of Chinese text. It is 64 m high and built
out of wood and brick. It is possible to climb to the top.

Little Goose Pagoda
With 43 m high smaller than it's big brother, the Little Goose Pagoda is
not far away. It was built in 707, also to hold holy scriptures brought
back by another monk. Although its top has been destroyed by an earthquake
in the 16th century, it is still possible to climb to the top.

Banpo Neolithic Viallage
Discovered in 1953, the remains of a village inhabited at the time of
about 4500 BC to 3750 BC by the earliest settlers in the area are
beautifully displayed with labels in both, Chinese and English.
A trip to this village is often combined with a visit to the Terracotta

Terracotta Warriors
In 1974, some peasants digging a well by chance uncovered one of the
greatest archeological sites in the world. During his reign (from 247 BC
until July 210 BC), Qin Shihuang, the first emperor of China built himself
a mausoleum with more than 8000 terracotta warriors guarding his dead
body, not two of them looking the same.
There were two walls around the mausoleum, the inner was 1355 m long and
850 m wide, with a circumference of 3870 m. Originally a hill of 150 m,
the mausoleum itself is now (2200 years after it has been built) still 50
m high. It covered an area of no less than 350 x 345 m2. There are three
main pits with terracotta warriors inside.
Pit 1 is 230 m long and 62 m wide, and is the main battle formation. Pit 2
is in the shape of an L, 96 long east-west and 84 m long north-south,
making up another battle formation of mixed arms. Pit 3 is U-shaped. It is
generally believed that pit 3 is the commando post for the battle
formations of pit 1 and 2.
A fourth pit has been found during June and July 1978. It is shaped in the
fasion of the Chinese character zhong (middle). In December 1980 two
bronce chariots with four horses has been found. They are half life size,
with one chariot being 3.17 m long and 1.06 m high. It weighs 1241 kg and
is made of 3462 components, of which 1742 are of bronce, 988 of silver and
732 of gold, and is beautifully painted. The horses are 91 and 93 cm tall
and 110 to 115 cm long.šJThere are four main category of figures, chariot warriors, infantry men,
cavalrymen, and horses. There are generals, middle ranking officers, lower
ranking officers, ordinary soldiers and armoured warriours. The latter can
be further dividede, acording to their headgear into warriors with a
square scarf, a cylindrical bun, a flat bun and kneeling warriors
(crossbowmen). All in all, there are over 130 battle chariots, more than
500 chariot horses and some 116 cavalry horses. The horses are 2 m long
and 1.72 m high.
The entrance fee is exorbitantly high (for Chinese prices), but still
worth it. It is possible to buy small replica of the figures for a couple
of Yuan. Remember to barter.


The main traveller hangout is the Victory Hotel in the south of the city.
It is very cheap and dirty.

Many hotels offer tours to the Terracotta Warriors and other sights around
Xian. However prices differ considerably, as does quality. Ask if the
entrance tickets to the sights are included or not. Also, be careful if
the guide offers to buy tickets for you, since some try to charge you more
than what you would pay at the ticket booth. Of course, you may be lucky,
and the guide buying you Chinese tickets saves you some money.


Urumqi is a boom town profiting from the railway. There are no big sights,
but the city itself has a unique atmosphere. Apart from the Han Chinese,
Urumqi is also home to the Uygurs.

There are dorm beds for CNY 30.


Long time ago the center of the silk road and an important trading point,
Kashgar nowadays is a moderate center with some 120000 inhabitants. It
makes an excellent starting point for trekking.

The bus to Khotan is CNY 54 and can be purchased half an hour before
departure of the bus. Take some water with you, this is desert land with
60 km and more without a drop of water!


In Khotan there are still many Uigurs.


Nanjing was the old capital in the south (hence its name which means
'South Capital'). It is one of the most beautiful cities in China, with
wide tree lined avenues.

It has an interesting historical museum and an old tomb from one of the
Ming emperors.

Sun Yatsen Memorial
A short way outside the city is the memorial to the father of the modern

Chang Jiang (Yangtse) River Bridge
When the Chinese wanted to build a bridge in the fifties, they naturally
looked for help towards the Sowjet Union. But it was about the time that
relations became increasingly distorted, so that China instead turned to
the Americans. After some studies, they declared it impossible to build a
bridge over the Chang Jiang. So the Chinese, stubborn as they were,
started to build by themself. Finally, after many years of constructions,
the bridge could be opened on 23 December 1968. It is a double-decker,
with a 4500 m long road on the upper floor and a 6700 m long railway
below. In one of the bridgeposts is a museum, depicting this triumph of
Chinese communism over American capitalism.


Both, Nanjing University and Nanjing Normal University have dormitories
available for budget travellers.


Also called 'The Venice of China', this town indeed resembles its
counterpart in Italy. There are many canals laid out in checkerboard
style throughout the city.

Suzhous main attraction are its many beautiful gardens. Some of the
biggest and  best known are: Zhouzheng Yuan (a humble administrator's
garden), Shizilin (Lion's Grove), Changlangting (Surging Wave
Pavillion), Yiyuan (Garden of Harmony), Hanshan Si (Cold Mountain

North Temple
Located in the north of the old part of Suzhou is the North Temple with
its nine story pagoda. There is also a museum of traditional handicraft.

Silk Factory
Suzhou is famous for its silk production. It is possible to visit a
factory and see how the silk is processed from the silk worm to the
final woven cloth. At the end of the tour you'll be able to buy the
final products in the factory shop. Make sure you check the prices, they
indeed have special prices as anounced, but especially high for


Shanghai is the new rising star in the East. It is a gigantic bustling
city with a lot of cunning entrepreneurs. Being the largest city in
China, it hosts over 12 million inhabitants. It's famous Nanjing Lu is
the best known shopping street in China.

The center is dominated by colonial buildings, culminating in 'The Bund'.
Nowadays, Shanghai starts to transform itself into a city of modern
high-rise glass and steel buildings of the same internationality found
all over the world.

The old part of the city was the Chinese part during the occupation and
during the daytime is transformed into a market selling everything that
a tourist might want to buy.

The Bund
The Bund is the beautiful waterfront dominated by the huge buildings of
the banks and former trading houses. Get a view of it in the evening
when it is beautifully lighted and the river front bustles with live.

Yu Yuan
The Yu Yuan is probably the most beautiful and certainly the most famous
of all the gardens in China. In front of it is the famous tea house.

Jade Buddha Temple
House of a 19 meter high white jade Buddha, this temple still is
actively used. Interestingly enough, except in the Jade Buddhas room,
photography is permitted.


The cheapest hotel in town is the Pujiang Hotel, just across the Wusong
River (Suzhou Creek) from the Bund. It is a bit shabby, but they have
good dormitories with air conditioning, and also single and double rooms.

Another cheap hotel is the Music Conservatorium (Yinyue Xueyuan) in
Fenyang Lu.

More expensive is the Donghu Binguan at USD 60 for an air-conditioned


When I was in Shanghai, eating became a bit of a problem. I had trouble
finding a restaurant that still had open after 8 pm. Of course, I could
always have gone to one of the big hotels, but I prefered the normally
priced Chinese restaurants.

A good place to look for resturants is in the small streets just north of
Wusong River.

Two bars with lots of live music, food and drinks and both, tourists and
locals are the Long Bar and Malone's, both near the Shangri-La Hotel.


Hangzhou is a pleasant town with many parks and the beautiful West Lake.
Within the lake there are some island connected by causeways.

In old China Hangzhou was famous for the beauty of its women.

A short bus ride away from Hangzhou is the tea village Longjing (Dragon
Well). When I was there, a nice woman was showing me the tea plantation
and how she processed tea in her own house. Of course there was a higher
motive to this tour: she wanted to sell me some of her tea. Since the tea
was very good and fresh, and the price was ok, this was a good deal.


The Chang Jiang is Chinas longest river. Currently, 40 km upstream of
Yichang, there is a new dam under construction that will put the Three
Gorges between Yichang and Chongqing under water.

There are four classes on the regular boats: second to fifth. In communist
China there is no first class, as this is consieder bourgois. Second class
is a double room and public showers and toilets that are lockable (in
contrast to the other showers and toilets that are in one big room with
everybody watching everybody else.) Third class is in an eight berth room,
while fourth class is in 14 berth rooms. Fifth class is no berth at all
and probably not quite official.
When I took the boat I was bold enough to use the second class shower and
toilet and most of the time stayed in the second class part anyway. Since
I was a foreigner nobody dared to say something (or they didn't know that
I stayed in third class.)


Chongqing is one of the biggest cities in China and also one of the most
polluted cities in the world (it made the top ten!). It is situated on a
hill at the confluence of the Chang Jiang and the Jialing Jiang. To get
a beautiful view you can take the cable car across the Jialing river.


Located conveniently in the center of the town is the Huixian Hotel. It
has cheap, but nice dormitories.

More expensive is the Three Gorges Hotel (San Xia Bingua) with CNY 240
for a double.

Worth a visit even just to look at it is the Renmin Hotel, modelled
after the Temple of Heaven in Beijing.


The capital of Sichuan is a beautiful city with some wide streets and some
nice old parts.


The place to be is the Traffic Hotel. It is pleasantly located just south
of Nanhe River.


Between the main road Renmin Nanlu and the Traffic Hotel there is a nice
footpath along the Nanhe River with many cheap restaurants. These
restaurants also offer excursions to various attractions all over Chengdu,
like visiting factories, a traditional Chinese hospital and Sichuan Opera
(where you can dress up like an actor and sometimes even take part) in the


This beautiful nature resort in northern Sichuan closesl resembles
Alpine regions with snow covered mountains, beautiful lakes and many
waterfalls. There are many Tibetan settlements. The altitude is about
3000 m warranting cold nights and tempertures could drop below zero
degrees. Bring along warm clothes!

To make the trip, count at least five days, better a week or more. If you
have more money than time, you might also consider flying with a
helicopter from Chengdu.

There is an entrance fee of several USD. Inside the park, cheap
accommodation is available. Make sure you bargain!


South of Chengdu, this is one of the four sacred mountains of China. You
can be sure that there are scores of tourists, mostly Chinese. The typical
tour is to get up one day, spend the night at the monastery on top, view
the sun rise on top of the mountain and then get back down again.

There are several cheap hotels. You can also try your luck at one of the
monasteries, usually the cheapest places, but also the most crowded.


Wedged between the Erhai Lake and the Cang Shan Mountains at an altitude
of 1975 m above sea level, Dali is one of the main tourist hangouts in
China. Dali has a mild climate, with an annual mean temperature of 15 C
and only about 56 days of frost and an average annual rainfall or 1100 mm.

Already inhabited during neolithic times, Dali became an important market
place just off the Burma road during the time of the Han dynasty. As early
as 109 BC, the Han Emperor Wu Di set up administrative institutions. The
King of the Menshe tribe founded the state of Nanzhao (Souther Princedom)
in 739. Nearly two centuries later, in 937, Duan Siping, chief of the Bai,
overthrew Nanzhao and founded the Dali kingdom, which lasted until Kublai
Khan conquered it in 1253 and integrated it into Yunnan province.

In the region of Dali live mostly Bai. Especially the women dress in a
very colourful style. A good time to visit is when one of the many
festivals is due.


The San Yue Jie (Third Moon Street Fair) is held between the 15th and 21st
day of the third lunar month (usually April.) Originally a Bhuddist
festival, nowadays there are dances, races and singing, and a big market
with many goods to trade or buy.

During the Rao Shan Lin (Walkabout Festival), from the 23rd to the 25th
day of the fourth lunar month, people dance and sing from one temple to

In the height of the summer, on the 24th day of the sixth lunar month, the
Huo Ba Jie (Torch Festival) is held. There are dragon-boat races, and in
the evening fireworks are displayed and people carry blazing torches
around the town and its surroundings.

Zong Sheng San Ta (Three Pagodas)
Built in the 9th century, these three pagodas are just outside Dali.

Guanyin Tang (Temple of the Goddess of Mercy)
Five km south of the city, the Guanyin Temple is built on top of a huge
boulder. Legend has it that the Lady Guanyin has placed it there to
protect Dali from an invading army.


Situated at an altitude of 1890 meters near the pleasant Lake Dian, the
capital of Yunnan offers a mild climate all year round.

Stone Forest
Some way outside Kunming is the Stone Forest, a collection of stone
pillars remotely resembling trees. There are daily tours leaving Kunming
sometime around 7 to 8 am. The bus takes about 3 hours one way.


The Kunhu Hotel has cheap rooms.

The Jin Long Hotel (Golden Dragon) has a Anglo-American breakfast buffet
(for those of you that are starving of Western food.)


Guilin is in the middle of one of the world's most stunning landscapes.
There are innumerable hills jutting out of the flat earth at random.

There are tours on the Li River to Yangshou where you can admire the
beautiful landscape.

Elephant Rock
One of the mountains in the center of the town is aptly named 'Elephant
Rock'. It indeed resembles an elephant with its big trunk hanging over a
small part of the river.

Reed Flute Cave
One of Guilins main tourist spots, the Reed Flute Cave appeals perfectly
to the Asian taste of Kitsch. It is lit by neon lights in all possible
colours. However, it is still worth a visit.


Yangshou is located some 90 km south of Guilin. It is a small town located
in the midst of one of the world's most stunning landscapes. Whereas
Guilin is a big expensive city, Yangshou is the backpacker hangout, with a
Western orientation and few rip-offs (people there know that most
travellers know the prices and wouldn't buy at their place anymore.)

Moon Hill
Some km south of the town is a strange mountain with a big hole right
through its middle. This shape gave it its name, Moon Hill. There is a
footpath to the top, and the view from the top is breathtaking.
When I was there, an old woman was selling drinks. Of course, I was
thirsty. As soon as I had taken the first couple of gulps, I noticed the
sweat pouring out of my pores. I was so occupied by the view that I
simply forgot that I was dehydrating.


In former times the foreigners were confined to their trading outpost on
Shamian Island where they hung up plates stating that dogs and Chinese
were not allowed on it. Nowadays, everything is Chinese and foreigners
are welcome everywhere as long as they bring money.

Cantons market is an experience in itself. There is a saying about the
Cantonese that they eat everything that flies, except a plane,
everything that swims, except a ship and everything with four legs,
except a car. So you'll be likely to find every imaginable kind of food
somewhere around.
If you consider buying a pet, the market is the place to get it. But do
make sure you get it alive. There is a story (nobody knows if it is really
true, but it's a nice story anyway.) of a British student who was thinking
of buying a puppy to keep her company. After finally agreeing on a price,
the Chinese selling it wanted to be nice and helpful and, to the horror of
the student, started to prepare it!

Yuexiu Park
Guangzhou's largest park covers 93 hectares. It includes the Sun Yatsen
Memorial Hall, the Zhenhai Tower and the Sculpture of the Five Rams.

Orchid Garden
This pleasant garden, constructed in 1957, shows over 100 variants of


The main backpacker hangout is the Guangzhou Youth Hostel, located on
Shamian Island.

Just opposite is the famous White Swan, one of the best hotels in China,
and probably also in the world. Even if you don't stay there, make sure
you visit its stunning entrance hall.


A specialty of Guangzhou are its Dim Sum, little snacks eaten whenever
one feels like it. A good place to sample a wide variety is the Taotaoju
(Abode of Tao Tao) restaurant. On its three (or were it four?) floors
you select the Dim Sums directly from trolleys wheeled about as you are
going on with your meal.

On Shamian Island there are many small restaurants where you can eat
well and quite cheap.


Shenzhen is Chinas boomtown with a growth rate of over 40%. While it had
only 30'000 people a few years ago, it boasts of a population of over 2

Since there are not many tourists, people are friendly and tend not to
cheat Westeners.


There is a Shangri La Hotel.



This section presents a small extract of the literature about and from
China. It is by no means complete, nor does it necessarily present the
best books available. Most of the books listed are there because I happen
to own them.



Lonely Planet. China - A Travel Survivel Kit. Robert Storey, Chris Taylor,
Clem Lindenmayer. March 1994. 4th Ed. ISBN 0-86442-207-5. 1064 p, 202 maps
Contains many good hints about travelling. Has good lists of hotels,
restaurants, etc. It is considered to be the 'Bible' of independent
travel in China.

Chan, Charis. Imperial China. Architectural Guides for Travellers.
This book concentrates on the northern part of China. It seems to have
excellent descriptions and explanations of all the sites.

Collins Illustrated Guide to All China, Charis Chan (Collins 1988).
Many nice pictures, good reading for an accompanied tour or at home.

China. Geo Special. October 1987 (German).
Contains many beautiful pictures and interesting articles on various


Chengdu Guidebook. 92 p., Sichuan People's Publishing House.
For only a couple of yuans, you get an excellent guidebook on Chengdu.
Apart from some pictures and a good coverage of the sites, is also
contains many ideas for off-the-beaten-track tours and usefuladdresses. It
is in English, but has been written and published in China.

Beijing. Robert Storey. Lonely Planet. ISBN 0-86442-206-7. 292 p, 24 maps

The Great Wall. Cultural Relics Publishing House. 118 p. 1988.
ISBN 7-5010-0140-5
A souvenir album about the Great Wall, with many pictures and a good
historical account both in Chinese and English.

Terracotta Warriors and Horses of Emperor Qin Shi Hunag. Hong Kong Man Hai
Language Publication. 1987. ISBN 962-297-0098.
A souvenir album of the terracotta army with many pictures and a lot of
historical and archeological details.


Grigsby, Roger. China by Bike. Mountaineers: Books, Seatle.

Theroux, Paul. Riding the Iron Rooster. Starting in Europe, the author
includes his experiences on the Transsibirian Railroad as well as the
subsequent months travelling by train throughout China.



Practical Chinese Reader. Commercial Press, Beijing. 1981, 6th Ed 1989.
An excellent book series consisting of at least 6 volumes. There are also
the Chinese Character Excercise Books.

Chinesisch. Kessler Verlag. 1988.
A Greman translation of the Practical Chinese Reader. This version is used
at the University of Zurich.


Cantonese. Kam Lau. Lonely Planet, 2nd Ed. Oct 1995. ISBN 0-86442-340-3.
224 p.

Mandarin (Chinese). Chris Taylor. Lonely Planet, 2nd Ed. ISBN
0-86442-086-2. 184 p.


Consise English-Chinese, Chinese-English Dictionary. Oxford University
Press 1980. The Commercial Press. ISBN 7-100-00589-2
This small dicionary has still 600 pages. Since the paper is very thin it
is the ideal companion for your travels. Buy this book in China; it should
cost about CNY 20.

Das neue Chinesisch-Deutsche Woerterbuch. 1985.
The large, 1162 pages thick book costs an incredible low CNY 14.20 and is
probably the most comprehensive dictionary available.

Deutsch-Chinesisches Taschenwoerterbuch. 1986.
Published in China, this pocket book costs only CNY 1.15. It has only 240
pages and is good for carrying around.

Das kleine deutsch-chinesische Neologismenwoerterbuch. ISBN 7-5600-0210-2.
190 p. CNY 1.50.
This extremely small dictionary contains mostly new words with Western
origin, like Eurovisionssendung, or Wehrdienstverweigerung, etc.

Fun with Chinese Characters 1, 2, 3. The Straits Times Collection. Federal
Publications. Singapore. 1980, 1982, 1983. ISBN 981-01-3004-X, ISBN
981-01-3005-8, and ISBN 981-01-3006-6.
The tree volumes with together about 480 pages presents the origin of the
Chinese characters in many humorous cartoons and descriptions. Excellent
for students.


Die Krallen der Tiger und Drachen. Wirtschaftsboom und Selbstbewusstsein
in Asien. Sabine Stahl/ Ulrich Mihr (Hrsg.). Droemer Verlag 1995.
An excellent book about the current political and economical developments
in Asia.

The People's Republic of China. Reflections on Chinese Political History
since 1949. Witold Rodzinski. William Collins 1988.

China - Ein politisches Reisebuch. Karl Grobe-Hagel. (German) VSA-Verlag


Cheng, Nieh.  Live and death in Shanghai.
A former director with a big American company, she had to serve several
years in prison during the cultural revolution. A gripping account of the

Jung, Chang.  Wild Swans - Three Daughters of China.
The story of Chinese family from the beginning of the 20th century until
1978. An excellent book that explains a lot of China's 20th century


I Ging.
More than four thousand years old, the 'Book of Changes' still is in wide
use. It is used as a source of wisdom as well as to predict the future.
The best translations into Western languages are based on the translation
by the German Richard Wilhelm, who, at the beginning of the 20th century
used nearly ten years of his life to translate it into German.

Sun Tse. The Art of War.
The classic account on how to conduct war. Mao studied it extensively and
used many of the desribed tactics and strategies to succeed in the Chinese

Wang, Shicheng. Djin Ping Meh.
About 400 years old, it describes the life of a rich Chinese with his six
wives and his many friends.

Wu, Chengen. Journey to the West. Foreign Language Press, Beijing
Based on many centuries of traditional mythology, this classical book was
put into its present form in the 1570s. It tells the story of the good
monk Sanzang who went to the West to fetch the Holy Scriptures.
Accompanied by his three disciples, the Monkey King, Brother Pig and Friar
Sand, he has to survive many adventures.


Buck, Pearl S. Although born in the USA, Pearl S. Buck grew up in China.
She went to college in Nanjing and felt more Chinese than American. She
has written many books about China.
 - Imperial Woman. 1956

Ding, Ya.  Les Heritiers des Sept Royaumes. Editions Stock, Paris, 1988.
           Die Erben der Sieben Reiche. Benziger, Zurich. 1990.
A history of the beginning of the democratic movement in Beijing at the
end of the 80s.

Larsen, Jeanne. Silk Road. 1989. ISBN 0-7493-0524-X.
A delightful story of a young girl's search for her mother, set during the
Tang dynasty. Many Chinese legends and mythologies are artfully woven into
the tale.


During the last decade, Chinas movie industry has become increasingly well
known all over the world. One of the main reasons for that was the work of
the actor/ director duo of Gong Li and Zhang Yimou. Their movies are:
Red Sorghum (? German title: Das rote Kornfeld), 1988
Ju Dou, 1990
Raise the Red Lantern, 1991
The Story of Qiu Ju, 1992
The Haunted Soul of a Woman Artist, 1993
Lifetimes, 1994
Shanghai Triad, 1994


The newest version of this guide is available on WWW at
The archive for this guide is at in /pub/usenet/news.answers/travel/china-guide/

The FAQ of soc.culture.china can be found on WWW at



I have been able to include a lot of information from other people and
sources. Where it is necessary to do so, I put the author in front of the
paragraph, mostly so when personal experiences/ feelings are important.
Whenever possible I tried to contact the author of the information to get
permission and I include his/ her e-mail address for reference.

Jin Ye 
Wuchun Wu
Edmund J. Murphy


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