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Bradt Guide: China - Yunnan Province

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2001

    An well crafted introduction to travel in Yunnan, China.

    I strongly recommended this volume. As the guide book industry mushrooms and more and more countries, cities, and landscapes come under the microscope a case can be made that increasing specialization brings complication for the traveler and added pressures upon both inhabitant and environment at the destination. The traveler yearns for a volume that is more than simply a where-to guide but a companion to be read with enjoyment and reflection. Those to be visited not only want but also deserve a volume that can engender a fair boost to the local economy but is also something that is sympathetic to their concerns and ways of life without being either patronizing or false. In Bradt¿s Guide to Yunnan this careful balance is achieved. The author, Stephen Mansfield, is very well regarded as a stylist with a careful eye, fully appreciative of culture, topography and ethnology. The 'background information' section to the book is carefully researched and offers a good introduction to Yunnan, China¿s most ethnically varied province. Sidebars throughout the volume offer insight with one near the beginning 'Parking Lots in the Jungle,' offering a particularly incisive look at the role, not always above board, of modern economic pressures. The separate and highly detailed sections on Dali, Lijiang, Xishuangbanna, Deqin, Tiger Leaping Gorge, Zhongdian, etc., also offer much more than the typical guidebook melange of useful hotel and restaurant possibilities. I spent two weeks in Dali many years ago I can say that in this book one gets a sense of place, in fact, a desire to go if one hasn¿t and a desire to return if one has. In that sense this volume has the ability to provoke a sense of travel. My one extremely minor criticism is that there are not more photographs (there are 8 pages of them in color) in the volume as those that do appear are both professional and complement the text style. Then again, many travelers are happy to wait to see with their own eyes and in that sense this book, which one should buy and read before visiting Yunnan, will certainly help them understand better what they do see.

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