If you were wondering what all the fuss and crowds were about last week, you were probably trying to visit one of the 119 major Chinese tourist destinations overseen by the National Tourism Administration (NTA). They just released these National Day tourism statistics on the week long holiday. As it happens, more than 24 million people went to sites governed by the NTA, almost a 10% increase on numbers from the same period last year. Turns out, everyone loves to vacation in China, and more and more people here can afford it.Travelers all over the world have come to rely on their Lonely Planet guides, and of course travelers in China are no different. This week the fine folks at Lost Laowai posted their review of the new Lonely Planet China, and it's a particularly useful review. The real question on everyone's mind when considering a purchase of something like a guide book is a question of worth. Is there a bunch of new information? Is there anything in the old one that isn't in the new one? Well, the reviewer gives a blow-by-blow comparison between old and new, so check it out and decide for yourself. One of many things to be amazed by in China, is the sight of sky high piles of recyclables being towed behind bikes. The balance, patience and ingenuity is astounding. Photographer Alain Delorme has assembled this wonderful collection of photos taken around Shanghai and though he does alter the colors, the towers of junk are very real. If you're looking for something to do in Sichuan Province, it's worth heading over to Go Chengdoo to check out their profile of the ancient city of Tiefo. After a quick historical introduction, it's got all the travel information you need to get there. It also has great pictures, so if you're not going on vacation anytime soon, beware: you will want to. And for this week's last link, we've got some great tips for beginner Mandarin speakers. Besides actually taking the time to study Mandarin, the most important thing to remember is to use that time well. Over at Chinese Hacks, they've got all sorts of suggestions for productive self-study.