7 Must-Read Travel Books To Visit China

Must-Read Travel Books To Visit China

My solo trip to China for 14 days turned out great though I never thought to visit this country in East Asia. Yes, China was never my bucket list destination. I was confused about whether I should traveling alone in China or not. I found language is the main barrier, so how to overcome it? Before planning a trip to China, I started reading a lot more. I did also download some essential Travel Apps, especially the Baidu Translate voice translation App was really helpful. Now I must say I had a good time in China. I enjoyed learning many new things during my first China visit. So why not visit too? The following 7 must-read travel books to visit China and travel smart, even it is your first ever visit.

I visited different destinations from the North, East, and South part of China. I loved the ancient charm of China, mostly in Beijing. It was amazing to walk through the Great Wall of China, the wonder of the world. It was great to explore Bei Yuan Men Muslim Culture Street and Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an. Xi’an Muslim Street food tour was exciting. 

The architectural beauty of the Bund in Shanghai is the best. I enjoyed shopping and eating from Nanjing East Road in Shanghai. The classical beauty of the Humble Administrator’s Garden in Suzhou and the most picturesque Hongcun Village in Huangshan made me speechless. Moreover, I loved all about the so green city of Guilin. 

The Best Books on China Travel
Many UNESCO World Heritage Sites to the unspoiled nature of China are stunning. This country has so much to offer for all kinds of travelers. The listed China travel guide books will help you to plan your trip and give depth knowledge to know all about the country. You’ll get to learn many expert travel tips, Chinese culture and tradition, must-visit travel attractions, and top things to do during China travel. 

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Fodor’s Essential China (Full-color Travel Guide) 

Fodor's Essential China (Full-color Travel Guide)

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Fodor’s Essential China Travel Guide is one of the must-read travel books to visit China. It covers all top recommendations, exclusive tips, and insider advice directly by local experts. You’ll get all up-to-date information plus many customized itineraries that will guide you to plan your best China tours. There are also ‘Best Of’ lists where the focus on the best things to do, see, eat. Many restaurant and hotel reviews are also there based on key cities in China.

Fodor’s China Travel Guide is packed with all exclusive color photos along with many detailed maps. You’ll learn necessary and useful Chinese phrases, and also many practical money-saving tips will help you to travel like a local in China. Moreover, it covers all top sights like the Great Wall of China, Terracotta Warriors, Shanghai Disneyland, Forbidden City, Sichuan, Hong Kong Victoria Peak and Lantau island, Chengdu Panda Breeding Research Center, and more. 


  • Customized China travel itineraries
  • All spectacular color images
  • Over 60 detailed maps
  • Special features on Chinese food and Chinese tea
  • Exclusive features on Great Wall of China, Forbidden City in Beijing, and Terracotta Warriors in Xi’an
  • Useful Chinese phrases
  • China destination-based hotel and restaurant reviews 
  • Best things to do in China
  • Best places to see in China
  • Practical money-saving tips
  • Insider travel advice on hidden gems and local tours

Travel to China: Everything You Need to Know Before You Go

Travel to China: Everything You Need to Know Before You Go

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Travel to China: Everything You Need to Know Before You Go by Josh Summers will guide you to figure out everything about China on your own. The author has shared his expert travel advice and answered all your queries under the FAQ section about traveling to China. This China travel guide book covers China visa details to apply, trip preparation tips, transportation guidance, tips on using the internet during your stay in China, information on learning the Chinese language, and more. 

Travel to China guidebook also comes with a printable packing list for China travel, recommendation on travel operators for local tours, many special discounts on the travel services. No matter you are traveling alone, or in a group, this guide book has covered every detail to prepare you for a trip to visiting china for the first time.


  • China travel guide
  • How to apply for a China visa
  • Essential tips on China Travel 
  • Guide to travel within China
  • Best way to learn the Chinese language
  • Tips on using phone and internet in China
  • How to stay healthy and safe
  • Tips on pay for things in China
  • Printable China packing list 
  • Local tours in China
  • Money-saving tips 

Lonely Planet China (Country Guide)

Lonely Planet China (Country Guide)

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Lonely Planet China Country Guide to give you the best travel experiences and help you to explore all top sights along with off the beaten path destinations. It covers cultural insights, customs, art, history, cuisine, landscape based on different parts of China mainly Beijing, Shanghai, Anhui, Shanxi, Hunan, Zhejiang, Fujian, Guangdong, Jiangsu, Hong Kong, Xinjiang, Macau, Tibet, and more. You’ll get all insider tips and reviews to explore the best of China with Lonely Planet China. It also comes with a free printable map of Beijing city plus other city maps. 

You may also like to read Lonely Planet Beijing City Guide and Lonely Planet Shanghai City Guide. Those travel guidebooks cover up-to-date information and tips based on the best city attractions, what to do, what to see, where to eat, sleep and shop during your city tours. 


  • China travel itineraries    
  • Essential tips on any budget
  • More than 190 maps and images
  • Chinese culture, customs, history, art, calligraphy, architecture, landscape, cuisine, religion
  • Reviews and insider tips for traveling like a local    
  • Hidden discoveries along with all top China destinations

Are You Traveling Vietnam? Check Out 7 Books To Read Before Visiting Vietnam

China – Culture Smart!: The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture 

China - Culture Smart!: The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture

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China – Culture Smart!: The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture by Kathy Flower is a must-read to be familiar with Chinese customs and culture. It’s not only about knowing the culture but also showing the respect of their culture during your visit and stay in China. 

This travel guide book comes with 2 free audible books. China Culture Smart provides you an excellent introduction to essential culture and customs in China. You’ll also get to know the changes between the ancient and modern Chinese traditions and customs from this essential guide book. 


  • Chinese history
  • The culture and customs of China
  • The outline of present China, peoples, and cultural changes

China Survival Guide: How to Avoid Travel Troubles and Mortifying Mishaps, 3rd Edition 

China Survival Guide: How to Avoid Travel Troubles and Mortifying Mishaps, 3rd Edition

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China Survival Guide: How to Avoid Travel Troubles and Mortifying Mishaps has written by two authors Larry Herzberg and Qin Herzberg. This couple is a professor by profession of Chinese language and culture at Calvin College in Michigan. They travel every year in China and have shared their practical travel stories and experiences with travelers in China. 

This reliable and affordable pocket-sized China travel guide book has covered many recommendations and insightful tips on what to avoid, what to do, things to see, and places to visit in China. You’ll also learn about Chinese etiquette, train travel tips, practical guidance on accommodations, haggling, bathroom, and medical emergencies. 


  • How to avoid China travel troubles
  • Chinese etiquette
  • Invaluable and Insightful tips on China travel
  • Practical advice based on travel experiences
  • China train travel information

DK Eyewitness Travel Guide China

DK Eyewitness China (Travel Guide)

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DK Eyewitness Travel Guide China by DK provides depth insight and expert tips on all the most magnificent sights of China like the Great Wall, Terracotta Warriors, the Forbidden City, and the Yangtze Three Gorges. It is fun to explore cities and towns with the help of this travel book as it comes with many custom maps, diagrams, and colorful photos. 

DK China Eyewitness Travel Guide is packed with local experts’ recommendations on best accommodations and must-try Chinese dishes. Many festivals and markets have also listed to explore during your visit to different towns in China.  

DK Eyewitness Top 10 Beijing (Pocket Travel Guide) and DK Eyewitness Travel Guide Beijing and Shanghai are also in-depth travel guidebooks to get all the best tips and information on two of the most popular cities in China. 


  • Detailed coverage on the most significant sights of China
  • Colorful photos, custom maps, and illustrations
  • Local experts tips on best places to stay and eat
  • Must-try Chinese cuisine
  • Chinese festivals
  • Expert tips on China travel destinations

Are you only visiting Beijing, Xi’an, and Shanghai? Then Frommer’s EasyGuide to Beijing, Xian, and Shanghai is definitely an easy guide for you to read before a visit

Lonely Planet China Phrasebook & Dictionary

Lonely Planet China Phrasebook & Dictionary

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Lonely Planet China Phrasebook & Dictionary is another must-read travel book to visit China by Lonely Planet authors. How important it is to know Chinese phrases you’ll realize once you take entry in China. It is merely wise to know useful travel relevant phrases and vocabulary to travel like a local around China. 

It is good to know only the Mandarin language is spoken by 70% of the peoples in China. But this phrasebook covers many types of Chinese language styles like Shanghainese, Cantonese, Hakka, Sichuanese, Hunanese, Tibetan, Chaozhou, Mongolian, Xi’an, and more along with Mandarin.

Many practical and survival phrases from this book will help you to handle and prepare yourself in any travel situation. It will also guide you to eat and shop like a local with full confidence. Moreover, you’ll also be able to start a conversation with locals on any emergencies. This pocket-sized multi-language guide comes with a user-friendly layout and a perfect one for every traveler to travel safely. 


  • Practical and survival phrases
  • Dictionaries for quick reference
  • Chinese language map
  • Travel specific useful phrases and vocabulary
  • Multiple Chinese languages 
  • Easy-to-use pronunciation on phrases

You can also try Eyewitness Travel Phrase Book Mandarin Chinese (DK Eyewitness Travel Guides Phrase Books) to prepare you the best way to learn Mandarin Chinese language.

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The Best Books To Read Before Visiting China

The Best Books on China Travel

Are you planning a trip to China? Share your top recommendations and must-read travel books before visiting China.

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Last update on 2023-06-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

11 thoughts on “7 Must-Read Travel Books To Visit China

  1. Sarah says:

    Some good guidebooks here. The Lonely Planet phrasebook was a lifesaver when we visited China. My dreadful pronunciation caused a lot of laughter lol

  2. Sharon says:

    This is a great idea for a post. I’m reading books and articles now on Normandy, as we have a trip booked for next month. It always helps me enjoy a destination more if I know about the history and the highlights before I travel!

    • Nafisa Habib says:

      Absolutely, also helps to save time, you can take quick decision which destination should not be missed to visit. Simply cool to have an idea about the highlights before traveling any destination.

  3. Nitin Singhal says:

    Thanks for these lovely guidebooks recommendations. You really did your homework before travelling to China. I don’t think I would be able to complete more than a book ?

    • Nafisa Habib says:

      Hahaha, actually as I travel alone always a bit extra protective about myself to travel safely and nicely around. One or two books are completely alright, just to have some idea before a first trip 😀

  4. Linda (LD Holland) says:

    Thanks for the reminder of our great trip to China. We saw many of the things you talked about. It is great to share books that will help people before they go. We went with an organized tour with a local tour leader. So that gave us lots of information. But reading in advance would add to the details you learned. A phrase book is a great idea. Our guide gave us daily lessons on key things we needed to learn. But we wish we had learned more.

    • Nafisa Habib says:

      I’m happy to take you back to your trip to China 🙂 I took some guided tour as well during my visit. It was all nice to learn a lot more from the local guide on the spot. I believe an organized tour is must when you’re in China.

  5. Pingback: My Solo Trip To China (Two Weeks Itinerary) | My Own Way To Travel

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