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October 04, 2008

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backslacker

TREKKING TIBET, a traveler's guide by Gary McCue published by The Mountaineers Books (November 2010) has excellent coverage of areas outside of U-Tsang (including Kham and Ngara) is now readily available from Amazon.com and other sources. The book can be reviewed at: http://books.google.ca/books?id=Tm9M3fSS-w0C&printsec=frontcover&dq=trekking+tibet+gary+mccue&source=bl&ots=rQfTSYU_Un&sig=kSIrHcu_e7z4GG7eN3zVQxdL4bg&hl=en&ei=IWd9TdSzA5CKrQHjyc3_BQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBkQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

backslacker

To update the links for some of the unpermitted Tibet guidebooks, here is the following:

For Andreas Gruscke's books:

Kham: http://www.gruzim.de/Kham2.htm#0

Amdo: http://www.gruzim.de/Amdo1.htm#0

Also the Footprint Guide book covering all cultural Tibetan regions has been updated for 2009.

See: http://www.footprintbooks.com/guidebooks/southasia.cfm?ccs=76&cs=466

backslacker

I have read and used all the available guidebooks that cover "Tibet". Lonely Planet continues only to really cover the TAR in its Tibet guide book, with little useful information on ethnic Tibetan areas outside of the TAR. It's China guidebook is huge with little useful information on the Qinghai region. The only area outside of the TAR that is well covered is the Yunnan and Sichuan portions within the South West China guide book. Unfortunately, one needs to buy three LPs to get coverage. Except for the TAR, I would rate LP as extremely wanting.

Footprint's Tibet is definitely the most extensive and interesting guidebook of the Tibetan Plateau - though it takes a bit of time to figure out how to find regions within it. The author is being too politically correct (from a western perspective) by using Lhasa names for many sites, names that don't register with locals when you ask. Many Chinese pinyin approximations are closer to the names the locals use in areas of Kham. However, the regions of Kham that I travelled for one month last October 2008 were reasonably accurate. I am not sure what the hold up is with the 4e of the book, but I am looking forward to reading the updates.

Bradt covers areas similar to the LP, with very limited information on areas outside of the TAR, though its maps are helpful.

Though published in 2000, Kotan's Mapping of the Tibetan World remains the second most important guidebook for those travelling outside the TAR's usual tourist traffic. Their maps for getting to places such as monasteries out of town were very useful. Moreover, they cover even beyond the Chinese sections of ethnic Tibet to include Bhutan and Indian regions. It gives a terse but fairly well-rounded review of Tibetan regions.

I found none of the commercially available guidebooks of much use except for the above.

One more resource that was more accurate for many areas of Qinghai (and likely Sichuan, Yunnan and remote TAR) were the publications by Andreas Gruschke on the "cultural monuments" on the Tibetan Plateau. These can be purchased directly from the author at the following website: http://www.gruzim.de/Amdo.htm, and http://www.gruzim.de/Kham.htm.

Moreover, I brought the Kham-Qinghai book with me and it was a crowd please during my trip. Locals who had not been to another town on the other side of a pass for years, were leafing through the pictures pointing out some memory from childhood. Great books to warm up the local crowd.

Again, this is one opinion but based on actual use in country outside of the TAR regions. Footprint guide book, Mapping the Tibetan World book and Cultural Monument books were the only currently helpful ones prior and during my own trip covering about 4400 km in Qinghai in October 2008.

Losang

Nickie...thanks for your input. The Bradt book is also a good one so I edited the post to include it as well.

Nickie

There's another guidebook that I really like it's the Bradt guide to Tibet by Michael Buckley the last edition was published in August 2006, it's much easier reading than Footprints!! Bradt also do a guide to Yunnan but it hasn't been updated for awhile. There's also Tibet overland by Kym McConnell although the last edition came out in 2002 there's lots of useful advice for bikers ( I'm not a biker myself!!) I bought all these books in the UK I think I must have almost all the guidebooks that exist on Tibet + a hilarious book The hotel on the roof of the world by Alec Le Sueur who worked in Lhasa at the time of the Holiday Inn which has reverted back to it's original name the Lhasa Hotel
Nickie

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