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Traveling to China with kids



 
 
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  #11  
Old January 6th, 2005, 08:11 PM
PeterL
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"Dennis McCrohan" wrote in message
...
Hi-

I'm looking for some net.wisdom on traveling to China with my wife and
two kids (8 and 11). My wife has been looking at some of the
package-tours that you can buy here in the States. From the description
of these, it looks like you would spend most of your time in 5-star
Western hotels (Hyatt, et al), eating western meals, riding around in
tour busses with a bunch of other Americans (and I'm guessing that most
of them would be, ahh, "mature"), and basically running from one
tourist-trap to the next. And that after the first day or so my kids
would be bored and tired of it. And we mostly eat Cambodian, Thai, and
Viet food, not hamburgers, so McDonanld's is not considered a treat in
my family.


Depending on the tour, no you won't be staying at 5 star hotels or eating
western meals. You'd be eating Chinese meals and staying at 3 to 4 star
hotels. Yes you'd be riding with other Americans, unless of course you book
a tour from a Chinese travel agent, in which case you'd be riding with other
Chinese Americans.

Yes you can design your own tour. It'll require more work on your part, but
in the end it's probably more fun. Amusement parks is not what your kids
will be interested in. There are much better amusement parks in the US
anyway. Your kids will want to see Chinese sights, take in Chinese culture,
and perhaps, if there is a chance, interact with Chinese of their own ages.


My wife is ethnic Chinese, speaks some Mandarian (in addition to her
parent's dialect), and our kids have been taking Mandarian classes for
several years. So I'm thinking that we would be better off with a tour
designed with children in mind (nothing like having other kids to talk
to/play with during long bus/plane rides) or just putting a package
together ourselves and hiring a private guide. I'd still like to stay in
higher class hotels (yes, I know about the Chinese attitude about
bathrooms) but other than that I'd rather eat in local restaraunts
(assuming food safety isn't an issue) and do things that would be of
more interest to the kids (say visiting an amusement park, or a school)
rather than trouping thru the 17th Imperial bedroom of the day.

Anyway, I'd be interested in feedback on all this, particularly from
folks who have taken their own school-age children to China.

Thanks,

-dm




  #12  
Old January 6th, 2005, 08:11 PM
PeterL
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default


"Dennis McCrohan" wrote in message
...
Hi-

I'm looking for some net.wisdom on traveling to China with my wife and
two kids (8 and 11). My wife has been looking at some of the
package-tours that you can buy here in the States. From the description
of these, it looks like you would spend most of your time in 5-star
Western hotels (Hyatt, et al), eating western meals, riding around in
tour busses with a bunch of other Americans (and I'm guessing that most
of them would be, ahh, "mature"), and basically running from one
tourist-trap to the next. And that after the first day or so my kids
would be bored and tired of it. And we mostly eat Cambodian, Thai, and
Viet food, not hamburgers, so McDonanld's is not considered a treat in
my family.


Depending on the tour, no you won't be staying at 5 star hotels or eating
western meals. You'd be eating Chinese meals and staying at 3 to 4 star
hotels. Yes you'd be riding with other Americans, unless of course you book
a tour from a Chinese travel agent, in which case you'd be riding with other
Chinese Americans.

Yes you can design your own tour. It'll require more work on your part, but
in the end it's probably more fun. Amusement parks is not what your kids
will be interested in. There are much better amusement parks in the US
anyway. Your kids will want to see Chinese sights, take in Chinese culture,
and perhaps, if there is a chance, interact with Chinese of their own ages.


My wife is ethnic Chinese, speaks some Mandarian (in addition to her
parent's dialect), and our kids have been taking Mandarian classes for
several years. So I'm thinking that we would be better off with a tour
designed with children in mind (nothing like having other kids to talk
to/play with during long bus/plane rides) or just putting a package
together ourselves and hiring a private guide. I'd still like to stay in
higher class hotels (yes, I know about the Chinese attitude about
bathrooms) but other than that I'd rather eat in local restaraunts
(assuming food safety isn't an issue) and do things that would be of
more interest to the kids (say visiting an amusement park, or a school)
rather than trouping thru the 17th Imperial bedroom of the day.

Anyway, I'd be interested in feedback on all this, particularly from
folks who have taken their own school-age children to China.

Thanks,

-dm




  #13  
Old January 6th, 2005, 08:14 PM
PeterL
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default


"Bob Myers" wrote in message
...

"Dennis McCrohan" wrote in message
...
Hi-

I'm looking for some net.wisdom on traveling to China with my wife and
two kids (8 and 11).


Are you thinking more specifically than just "China"? Asking
about "traveling to China" is, of course, somewhat like asking
about "traveling to North America" - the question covers too
much territory to be really addressed well in short order. Some
parts of China, and especially Shanghai and Hong Kong, I could
definitely see as a family destination. (I haven't personally been to
Beijing yet, so I can't say much about that.) Other parts, though,
I can't imagine that the kids would find interesting.


Are you kidding me? First of all Hong Kong is not China. And both cities
are, IMO, pretty much just big cities. Kids of this age would find lots of
other locations much more interesting. Beijing is much better as a tour
site than either HK or Shanghai. Then there is Xian, and the Three Gorges
(less so now with the dam), Nanjing, and the southwestern part of China.


Also, are
you planning on any other stops in the region before or after
China?

My wife has been looking at some of the
package-tours that you can buy here in the States. From the description
of these, it looks like you would spend most of your time in 5-star
Western hotels (Hyatt, et al), eating western meals, riding around in
tour busses with a bunch of other Americans (and I'm guessing that most
of them would be, ahh, "mature"), and basically running from one
tourist-trap to the next.


And THOSE do sound like you're looking at places like
Shanghai or Hong Kong. Both cities have everything you
mentioned, from the Western hotels and restaurants to the
well-established tourist traps. However, both cities also have
far more to offer the visitor who is willing to ditch the package
tour, or at least to go out on their own in addition to such a
tour. Of the two, just for a place to start, I would have to say
that Hong Kong would probably be of more interest to the
kids than Shanghai, unless the kids are unusually (for their
ages) interested in seeing places or items of cultural or historical
interest.

I should also note that I'm not saying any of this from the perspective
of someone who has actually taken kids to any Asian destination;
my experiences in the Far East are from numerous business trips
there. But I can at least think about these things with regard to
how I think my own daughter (now 13) might look at them.

Bob M.




  #14  
Old January 6th, 2005, 08:14 PM
PeterL
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default


"Bob Myers" wrote in message
...

"Dennis McCrohan" wrote in message
...
Hi-

I'm looking for some net.wisdom on traveling to China with my wife and
two kids (8 and 11).


Are you thinking more specifically than just "China"? Asking
about "traveling to China" is, of course, somewhat like asking
about "traveling to North America" - the question covers too
much territory to be really addressed well in short order. Some
parts of China, and especially Shanghai and Hong Kong, I could
definitely see as a family destination. (I haven't personally been to
Beijing yet, so I can't say much about that.) Other parts, though,
I can't imagine that the kids would find interesting.


Are you kidding me? First of all Hong Kong is not China. And both cities
are, IMO, pretty much just big cities. Kids of this age would find lots of
other locations much more interesting. Beijing is much better as a tour
site than either HK or Shanghai. Then there is Xian, and the Three Gorges
(less so now with the dam), Nanjing, and the southwestern part of China.


Also, are
you planning on any other stops in the region before or after
China?

My wife has been looking at some of the
package-tours that you can buy here in the States. From the description
of these, it looks like you would spend most of your time in 5-star
Western hotels (Hyatt, et al), eating western meals, riding around in
tour busses with a bunch of other Americans (and I'm guessing that most
of them would be, ahh, "mature"), and basically running from one
tourist-trap to the next.


And THOSE do sound like you're looking at places like
Shanghai or Hong Kong. Both cities have everything you
mentioned, from the Western hotels and restaurants to the
well-established tourist traps. However, both cities also have
far more to offer the visitor who is willing to ditch the package
tour, or at least to go out on their own in addition to such a
tour. Of the two, just for a place to start, I would have to say
that Hong Kong would probably be of more interest to the
kids than Shanghai, unless the kids are unusually (for their
ages) interested in seeing places or items of cultural or historical
interest.

I should also note that I'm not saying any of this from the perspective
of someone who has actually taken kids to any Asian destination;
my experiences in the Far East are from numerous business trips
there. But I can at least think about these things with regard to
how I think my own daughter (now 13) might look at them.

Bob M.




  #15  
Old January 6th, 2005, 08:16 PM
PeterL
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default


"Dennis McCrohan" wrote in message
...
Bob Myers wrote:

"Dennis McCrohan" wrote in message
...
Hi-

I'm looking for some net.wisdom on traveling to China with my wife and
two kids (8 and 11).


Are you thinking more specifically than just "China"? Asking
about "traveling to China" is, of course, somewhat like asking
about "traveling to North America" - the question covers too
much territory to be really addressed well in short order. Some
parts of China, and especially Shanghai and Hong Kong, I could
definitely see as a family destination. (I haven't personally been to
Beijing yet, so I can't say much about that.) Other parts, though,
I can't imagine that the kids would find interesting. Also, are
you planning on any other stops in the region before or after
China?


We would be just going to China. The "usual" destinations of most of the
pre-packaged tours are Bejing, Xian, Shanghai.

But I think we are still pretty open at this time. As I hinted, I'm less
concerned about seeing particular sites than an overall experience that

would
be good for our kids.


Yes you do want to plan your trip around specific sites. Imagine going to
China and not seeing the Great Wall or the Forbidden City or Xian. It's
like going to NYC and not visiting the Lady. Your kids will go back to
school and when asked what did you see in China, give a blank look. "Well,
we didn't see anything in particular. We just had a good overall
experience."


-dm




  #16  
Old January 7th, 2005, 12:02 AM
Bob Myers
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default


"PeterL" wrote in message
...
A "Special Administrative Region", thus not China. OK it's semantics.


Tell you what - call up your local consulate of the People's
Republic of China, and ask them what nation you're in when
you're in Hong Kong.

Would you suggest someone who wants to visit the USA to go to Puerto Rico

or
Guam?


There's more than a little difference in the two cases.
Hong Kong, despite being much more ethnically and
culturally diverse than the rest of the country, IS still
(and actually, now to a notable degree more than while
still under British rule) a predominantly Chinese city.
IF what the original poster was looking for was a place
to expose the kids to a good deal of Chinese culture,
while still being more family- and English-friendly, I
would certainly consider Hong Kong as an option.

Even politically, there is a distinction here, as Puerto
Rico has commonwealth status with the U.S. (and
a very different relationship with the U.S. than, say,
a state or a territory). Guam is a U.S. territory, and
so it IS technically correct to say that you are on U.S.
soil when visiting there - but still, both Puerto Rico and
Guam are far more culturally distinct from the
"mainstream" U.S. than Hong Kong is from the PRC.

But I really think we're splitting hairs at this point. I merely
pointed out Hong Kong as a viable, family-friendly
option to someone looking for a "Chinese" destination;
if you don't agree with that recommendation, fine, but we
each can offer our own opinions here, I believe.

Bob M.


  #17  
Old January 7th, 2005, 12:56 AM
Spehro Pefhany
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

On Thu, 6 Jan 2005 16:02:23 -0700, the renowned "Bob Myers"
wrote:


"PeterL" wrote in message
...
A "Special Administrative Region", thus not China. OK it's semantics.


Tell you what - call up your local consulate of the People's
Republic of China, and ask them what nation you're in when
you're in Hong Kong.

Would you suggest someone who wants to visit the USA to go to Puerto Rico

or
Guam?


There's more than a little difference in the two cases.
Hong Kong, despite being much more ethnically and
culturally diverse than the rest of the country, IS still
(and actually, now to a notable degree more than while
still under British rule) a predominantly Chinese city.
IF what the original poster was looking for was a place
to expose the kids to a good deal of Chinese culture,
while still being more family- and English-friendly, I
would certainly consider Hong Kong as an option.

Even politically, there is a distinction here, as Puerto
Rico has commonwealth status with the U.S. (and
a very different relationship with the U.S. than, say,
a state or a territory). Guam is a U.S. territory, and
so it IS technically correct to say that you are on U.S.
soil when visiting there - but still, both Puerto Rico and
Guam are far more culturally distinct from the
"mainstream" U.S. than Hong Kong is from the PRC.

But I really think we're splitting hairs at this point. I merely
pointed out Hong Kong as a viable, family-friendly
option to someone looking for a "Chinese" destination;
if you don't agree with that recommendation, fine, but we
each can offer our own opinions here, I believe.

Bob M.


If you want to land in China, exit to Hong Kong SAR, then return to
China, you had better get a new visa when in HK (or in rather limited
circumstances, at the border) or get a multiple-entry visa in advance.
For all practical purposes, it's a separate country, with a rather
different culture and it uses different written characters
(traditional rather than simplified). I think the two are about as
different as Britain and the US. They look pretty similar if you're
from another planet, but there really are a lot of differences.


Best regards,
Spehro Pefhany
--
"it's the network..." "The Journey is the reward"
Info for manufacturers: http://www.trexon.com
Embedded software/hardware/analog Info for designers: http://www.speff.com
  #18  
Old January 7th, 2005, 12:56 AM
Spehro Pefhany
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

On Thu, 6 Jan 2005 16:02:23 -0700, the renowned "Bob Myers"
wrote:


"PeterL" wrote in message
...
A "Special Administrative Region", thus not China. OK it's semantics.


Tell you what - call up your local consulate of the People's
Republic of China, and ask them what nation you're in when
you're in Hong Kong.

Would you suggest someone who wants to visit the USA to go to Puerto Rico

or
Guam?


There's more than a little difference in the two cases.
Hong Kong, despite being much more ethnically and
culturally diverse than the rest of the country, IS still
(and actually, now to a notable degree more than while
still under British rule) a predominantly Chinese city.
IF what the original poster was looking for was a place
to expose the kids to a good deal of Chinese culture,
while still being more family- and English-friendly, I
would certainly consider Hong Kong as an option.

Even politically, there is a distinction here, as Puerto
Rico has commonwealth status with the U.S. (and
a very different relationship with the U.S. than, say,
a state or a territory). Guam is a U.S. territory, and
so it IS technically correct to say that you are on U.S.
soil when visiting there - but still, both Puerto Rico and
Guam are far more culturally distinct from the
"mainstream" U.S. than Hong Kong is from the PRC.

But I really think we're splitting hairs at this point. I merely
pointed out Hong Kong as a viable, family-friendly
option to someone looking for a "Chinese" destination;
if you don't agree with that recommendation, fine, but we
each can offer our own opinions here, I believe.

Bob M.


If you want to land in China, exit to Hong Kong SAR, then return to
China, you had better get a new visa when in HK (or in rather limited
circumstances, at the border) or get a multiple-entry visa in advance.
For all practical purposes, it's a separate country, with a rather
different culture and it uses different written characters
(traditional rather than simplified). I think the two are about as
different as Britain and the US. They look pretty similar if you're
from another planet, but there really are a lot of differences.


Best regards,
Spehro Pefhany
--
"it's the network..." "The Journey is the reward"
Info for manufacturers: http://www.trexon.com
Embedded software/hardware/analog Info for designers: http://www.speff.com
  #19  
Old January 7th, 2005, 01:27 AM
Peter Neville-Hadley
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Annette wrote:

Zoos should be
avoided, but the Milu Deer Park just south of Beijing is well-run and
designed to appeal to children, for instance.


I was thinking of suggesting Beijing's zoo as well when I started reading
the thread.


As well as who? I specifically recommended avoiding zoos in China. The
circumstances in many of them are dreadful enough to make children burst
into tears.

I mentioned the Milu Deer Park because it's a rare example in China of
an animal-related entertainment which is humanely and imaginatively run.

The operation's director studied in Germany and worked in Ireland, and
has brought back Western standards of care and presentation, as well as
educational elements for children, and clever presentations on
disappearing species.

On a lighter note, in addition to the large herd of Pere David's deer,
and assorted other deer and horses, there are deer of the Bambi variety
at large for petting, and picnic tables.

Peter N-H
http://list3.xianzai.com/mailman/listinfo/oriental-list
  #20  
Old January 7th, 2005, 01:27 AM
Peter Neville-Hadley
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Annette wrote:

Zoos should be
avoided, but the Milu Deer Park just south of Beijing is well-run and
designed to appeal to children, for instance.


I was thinking of suggesting Beijing's zoo as well when I started reading
the thread.


As well as who? I specifically recommended avoiding zoos in China. The
circumstances in many of them are dreadful enough to make children burst
into tears.

I mentioned the Milu Deer Park because it's a rare example in China of
an animal-related entertainment which is humanely and imaginatively run.

The operation's director studied in Germany and worked in Ireland, and
has brought back Western standards of care and presentation, as well as
educational elements for children, and clever presentations on
disappearing species.

On a lighter note, in addition to the large herd of Pere David's deer,
and assorted other deer and horses, there are deer of the Bambi variety
at large for petting, and picnic tables.

Peter N-H
http://list3.xianzai.com/mailman/listinfo/oriental-list
 




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