Question by Dafan: Planning Family Trip to China?
My adventurous family and I are planning a trip to China in June 2010. We are planning to arrange all travel ourselves and stay in non-Western hotels. I’m a teacher, and I hope to see the sights while avoiding (to the greatest extent) having a typical tourist experience. I especially hope to get a sense of China’s past (philosophies, history) vs. her present/future, and to be an observer of Chinese “life”.

I would love to hear advice from experienced travelers to China! Here’s our basic itinerary. I’m struggling over whether to stay in Guilin or just go to Yongshuo instead. Thoughts??

Beijing – 5 days (4 nights) – Great Wall, Forbidden City/Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace, Back Lakes, Daoist/Buddhist temples, Panjiayuan Jiuhuo Shichang Shopping District

Xi’an – 1.5 days (2 nights) – Terracotta Warriors, City Wall/Muslim Quarter, Wild Goose Pagoda, museum

Shanghai – 3 days (3 nights) The only guided tour I have planned is in Shanghai (includes Bund, Yu Yuan Gardens, Jade Buddha, Pudong, Xin Tiandi, People’s Square). Also plan to see Old Chinese City, French Concession, take the Maglev train, and am debating the Huangpu River Cruise

Guilin/Yongshuo – 1.5 days (2 nights) Don’t know which one to see, but I want to do the Li River Cruise. I’ve heard it’s 1/2 the cost if you start in Yongshuo.

Hong Kong – 4 days (4 nights) Repulse Bay, beach, Lantao Island, ???

Best answer:

Answer by Collen
That’s an ambitious itinerary! How old are your children? Traveling in China can be very tiring, regardless of your age, but your children may need more downtime than you, especially while they’re adjusting to the time difference. As China Traveler pointed out, your hectic schedule doesn’t leave much time for interaction with Chinese. One activity I would suggest is to take in some parks — Beijing has wonderful parks and you might want to go early some morning (say 6 a.m.-ish) to view all the activity such as ballroom dancing and exercises that go on. Later in the day, parks could provide a chance for your kids to play with Chinese kids (if it’s after school or on a weekend) and for you to interact with their parents. Language could be a problem, but smiles go a long way!

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