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China with boys aged 9 and 8

Robina, Australia
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China with boys aged 9 and 8

I was wondering if anyone had any experience travelling with children this age to China?

We are considering taking 2 of our kids on a special trip away next year and we're considering China as a potential destination.

From the reading I've done to date, would be looking at 3 days in Beijing including a trip to the Great Wall, overnight train to Xian, 2 days Xian with the Warriors and exploring Xian, and then finishing with a few days in Shanghai.

I am not keen on organised group tours - would rather be independent, but with a local guide.

I'd love to hear from anyone who's done something similar with kids - especially with regards to food and safety, and any must-do activities in these locations.

Acrobat shows, and ?bike-riding on Xian wall are 2 on my list!

Miami Beach, Florida
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for Shanghai Region
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1. Re: China with boys aged 9 and 8

I cannot help you with personal experience with kids 8 & 9, but I can tell you that kids that age loved the 10K hike on the GW from Jinshanling to Simatai. They were running in front of their parents most times (best to keep them close, of course because of some unsteady footing). The teenagers I saw were less excited and more "cool" about the whole thing. This is a whole day on your own, with taxi to and from.

Since you are going the best way, independently, I highly recommend the DK Eyewitness Guide to China. It is the only guide which shows you in advance everything you are likely to see, so you can prioritize your time wisely.

The great Shanghai aquarium has to excite your kids, as it excited the kid in me. I also suggest one of the walking tours of Shanghai in the DK book for you and your kids to see the "real" Shanghai history and architecture from the street level.

St. Petersburg...
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2. Re: China with boys aged 9 and 8

Last summer my 2 sisters and I, along with my 9 year old niece went to China. We traveled independently..4 nights in Beijing, 2 nights in X'ian, then Chengdu & Yangshou also & ending in Shanghai.

My niece LOVED China. She is a bit a of ham and just loved all the attention she got.

She loved the Great Wall, particularly the cable car ride up and the slide down. We went to the Mutianyu section. We went to the Acrobat show in Beijing (spectacular with GREAT 2nd row seats,arranged by our guide, Qing) Plug for Qing: She is great with children.

We went with Qing to the rail station and she helped us purchase tickets from Beijing to X'ian. The train worked out great.

In X'ian, we stayed at the X'ian Garden Hotel which made it very convienent to walk to the Big Goose Pagoda to see the Fountain Light show. She also liked the hotel because of the peacocks in the courtyard. She also gave the tai chi lession in the courtyard a whirl.

It's the simple things that are fascinating to kids. Eating with chop sticks, squat toilets, bargaining. In Chengdu we spent an afternoon in the People's Park and I think she rode the bumper cars like 8 times.

We never felt unsafe & food was never a problem. Most kids like rice:)

3. Re: China with boys aged 9 and 8

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4. Re: China with boys aged 9 and 8

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Brisbane, Australia
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5. Re: China with boys aged 9 and 8

Lisa, you do not need a guide, if you have travelled independently before it will beinfe. I did this last year with my 11 year old son. We had a few days in Beijing and he lvoed the forbidden city, summer palace, temple of heaven and we rode bikes through the hutongs and around Beijing and it was very, very safe. It was just us two for the most of this tripa nd my husband joine dus for a some of it and thn flew out again.

We went to Xian ot he overngiht traina nd rode the city walls, which he loved, saw the warriors. We then overnighted again to Chengdu to see the panda's adn big buddha and a few more palces out there and back to Beijing.

He loved it all, the people loved him and took photo's of him with them (not us)!! He loved the food and ate everything, there area also plenty of western restauarants such as subway, starbuck, macca's and KFC!!!! If they struggle, but we hardly ever went, the loacl food was too yummy!

We did an acrobat show in Beijing and he loved that too. Was a great trip. The Wall being out highlight. We did our Wall trip with an agency called cycle china, just google them. Barganining is fun if your kids catch on and in the end our son did all the barganing and he became very good at it!

China is a safe, cultural and wonderful place to take kids.

Robina, Australia
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6. Re: China with boys aged 9 and 8

Thankyou all for your input to date.

I bought the DK Eyewitness Guide yesterday and it's fantastic so thanks for that recommendation.

The bike-riding sounds great, well everything sounds great actually and I am already excited for next year.

I was originally planning this trip with just my hubby for my 40th this year but got cold feet and ended up booking a relaxing week in Hawaii instead! We have 4 kids and needed some time-out!

We also figured China would be a place we would love to explore through the eyes of our kids and so postponed this adventure until now. So now for some serious planning!

Another query - has anyone done the overnight train from Xian to Shanghai?? I have a SERIOUS FEAR of flying and I'm not keen at all on flying internally in China, and I won't be persuaded to do so no matter what anyone posts here!!

I see you can get a soft sleeper with 4 berths so that would be fine and I guess we get to see more of the "real China" this way during the daylight component of the train journey - has anyone done this trip?

hualien
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7. Re: China with boys aged 9 and 8

Lisa,

We have 2 kids aged 8 and 9 too, and we did our China trip part 1 just last summer and I have a part 2 planned but has postponed it till next year due to the Olympics.The kids had a wild time there so I thought I'd share our experience.

For our first trip, we did Xian-Nanjing-Suzhou-Hungzhou-Shanghai in that order.For our 2nd trip, we plan to do Beijing,shenyang,datong,pingyiao,luoyang and Kaifeng.

Many has warned that the kids would be bored to death in China as it is mostly about relics, antiques, historic sites etc. and kids this age just doesn't know how to appreciate them.Well, on the contrary, our children not only enjoyed every min of their time there,it was their most rewarding trip so far(prior to this,we have done mostly resort and theme park type of holidays with the kids).

For, planning, i had both the DK eye witness as well as lonely planet.DK has lots of wonderful pictures so u could decide what u really want to see n what not; then lonely planet is good for the logistics.

For Xian, I had really wanted to do the overnight soft sleeper train but had to forego that idea cos my MIL who went along with us ,wasn't keen on it. Many on this forum has adviced favorably and i think u should do it esp if ur kids are boys, they would LOVE it.

Xian is basically an ancient town, capital to various dynasties, namely, Zhou,Chin,Tang etc.

Sites we visited:

The great Mosque (tried their famous beef 'mo' while there), Hua ching pool,Forest of Stelae Museum,site of the terra cota armies,tomb of Qin shi huang di,Xian city wall,drum and bell tower , small/big pagoda, Tang garden, Mao n qian tomb, famen temple.

activities for kids:

1.Cycling around the city wall; well, we didn't get to do this cos we arrived too late (past 5pm).Try to do this in the early afternoon.

2.fountain show near the pagoda(?).I'm not sure about this,as we kinda missed it too.U may want to do a search for posts by xiantraveller who gave very good details of to dos with kids.

3.Tang dinner (well, not for the kids, more for adults)

4.visiting Tang garden in a tram.

5.horse riding up to qian tomb.

To prep the kids prior to the trip, i bought several comic books that mention china n xian specifially.

They are:

1) Tin Tin n the blue lotus, tin tin in tibet.

2)Magic tree house series(there's one on the terra cota armies).on after thought, this is a book, not comic.

3)a series by Korean authors.We bought the Chinese translated versions, not sure if they have eng ones but u may do well to run a search as i think this is by far the best series for the purpose.They have two books on the terra cota armies, one on Beijing, one on Xian and one on Luoyang.The web for the taiwanese distributor is www.suncolor.com.tw

There's also a DK book on China that introduces the various architectures, eg pagoda, temple, chinese houses etc with related activities like clay moulding etc.

Next, I also found an interactive e map n got the kids log on for about 15 min every night a week prior to the trip to get them orientated to the city of say, Xian, Nanjing, SHanghia etc.

The DK eye witness is also a useful source.I would scan pictures of the sites that we plan to visit, print them out onto a sticker paper(or whatever u call it), n bring them along on our trip.Every night, after we 've returned to our hotel, i would get the kids to take out their sketch book n do a journal of what we did that day.They were free to use the stickers as they like.

We also brought our laptop along, and the kids would play with the afore mentioned e map when they get bored in the hotel.Somehow, we couldn't kind cartoons or kids ' channels while in Xian.

A word of warning: Xian can be very hot if u co in the summer n it's adviceable to bring at least 500cc of mineral water for each person in the group.

For Shanghai, must dos for kids include:

acrobat show, Meglev train ride to or from airport, ferry ride across Pudong river.

We also took the bullet train from suzhou to Shanghai (my son is a train buff) but i guess that won't fit into ur itinerary.

Things we didi: Hongkou Park and Lu Xun's former residence, Sun Yat Sen Mem residence, Yu garden, Shanghai Museum. We had planned to go to an acrobat show in the evening on our second day in Shanghai but after our dinner at M on the bund, the kids got too tired n we had to cancel . It is a big loss as we've seen a similar show in Beijing years ago(just me n my hubby) n know it's good.So please, please, do not miss it.

Surprisingly, our kids' fav in Shanghai is the Shanghai Museum. There's a kid's website by our National Palace Museum here in Taiwan that offers good and very in depth introductions to the exhibits (well, basically about the same things as our exibits originally came from Beijing too).If u're interested u could pm me as i don't have the web details with me right now.

As for Beijing, we're also doing it next year so we might be able to share notes later.

Well, have fun planning!

Robina, Australia
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8. Re: China with boys aged 9 and 8

Wow Mariatan - you are a goldmine of information!!

Thanks so much- it all sounds great and I love your ideas to help prepare the kids before we go.

All fantastic - and I have printed them all out so I can go on a search for them!!.

I had contemplated a day-trip to Suzhou as it looks pretty in photos - is it worth sacrificing a day or half a day from Shanghai ( it's an hour away from Shanghai, right?) to go there??

My boys too like trains so that might be fun.

Thanks again,

Lisa

9. Re: China with boys aged 9 and 8

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