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Beijing with young DC

(18 Posts)
AmericasTorturedBrow Tue 21-Oct-14 07:03:52

We're going to Seoul next year, cheapest flight stops over in Beijing so we're thinking of extending the stopover to 7-10 days.

Any thoughts/tips/ideas? DC will be 3&6 and we'll be there late March

MrsTerrorPratchett Sat 25-Oct-14 20:22:12

I was just in China in March/April and when I was in Beijing, I thought how much DD (3yo) would have loved it. Things to consider are many, though.

When we were there the skies were clear, the air was fresh. This is VERY unusual. You are going about the best time of year for weather but it can still be really nasty air. You need a plan B if you can't cope with the bad air.

DD is extremely social and this is good in China. People were very interested in me, with my blonde hair and would have been very interested in DD. I am in about 400 photos with Chinese families on holiday. If your children are shy or anxious, the crowds and interest in them might be difficult.

Tomb Sweeping day is at the beginning of April and Beijing is very busy at this time. We loved it as Beijing was full of Chinese tourists but it was a crush at the major sites.

We stayed at a really lovely impossible to find hotel in one of the hutong (little old-fashioned lanes) called the Red Wall Garden. NOT to be mistaken for the Red Wall or the Red Garden or any one of the hundreds of similarly named hotels. It was very child friendly and quiet. A real consideration in Beijing. The staff were lovely.

I don't know if you've been to China before but if you haven't, I can give you a few China tips as well!

Phineyj Sat 25-Oct-14 20:29:43

Well, I wouldn't do it because my experience was the air was so awful that I spent the entire trip feeling like I had the worst cold ever ( I have no respiratory problems btw). A student of mine who went a year later, who has asthma, ended up hospitalised. The toilets are also surprisingly bad, even in supposedly posh hotels. Having said that, I don't regret going as it was very interesting, and the children will find it an adventure (the toilets very much took me back to French campsites circa 1980!) If you do go, take/get lots of packets of tissues, cold remedies, hand wipes/gel and face masks. Also something bland you can have for breakfast as reheated rice is not to everyone's taste.

ShanghaiDiva Sun 26-Oct-14 22:43:57

China's holidays are based on the lunar calendar so check when tomb sweeping is in 2015 as it will be incredibly crowded during a public holiday.
We moved to china when dd was 2 and she had at the time bright blonde hair. A lot of Chinese people wanted to touch her, photograph her and pick her up - so you may need to prepare your kids for lots of attention!
Pollution levels are high, so consider masks for your children.

TwoLittleTerrors Mon 27-Oct-14 11:56:53

I wouldn't just because Beijing is notorious witj air pollution. You ass

AmericasTorturedBrow Tue 04-Nov-14 15:35:37

Thanks for the responses, lots to consider and the air pollution is the biggest one, particularly regarding our children. Bit of a downer because I would love to take them. Might it be worth flying into Beijing but getting out of the city? I've never been to China though fairly well travelled, as are the DC. DH has been to China but only with work

MrsTerrorPratchett Tue 04-Nov-14 16:39:37

We went to Yunnan as well. It's just beautiful, air is better, weather was delightful and we had great fun. Lijiang was lovely, so was Dali and Kunming (although the guide books say otherwise) is nice too.

It's a flight away but worth it.

Rojak Thu 06-Nov-14 21:34:18

I think in cities in China, you just expect air quality to be bad.

But you could get lucky and have clear skies.

I did Beijing with kids a bit older than yours over 5 days.

We stayed in a hutong hotel in the city and that was a handy base for doing the Forbidden City and Tianenmen Square.

You can do rickshaw tours through the hutongs. The ride will appeal to young children.

For the Great Wall, there are several hotels either next to or with direct access to the wall outside Beijing and that is a nicer way of exploring the wall instead of going to the wall and back in a day trip. You get more time and can go up when it's less busy.

There are also kungfu or acrobatic shows - my kids liked those. They didn't enjoy traipsing through the markets as much.

ShanghaiDiva Fri 07-Nov-14 11:32:16

Even if skies are clear, pollution can be bad. We have had beautiful weather this week, but aqi was around 250 - 280 which is classified as very unhealthy.

AmericasTorturedBrow Fri 07-Nov-14 14:55:54

Thanks for those tips Rojak

So in regards to air pollution, what's the latest research/thoughts on being exposed to it for just 5-7days? As opposed to living there? I don't want to put any of us at risk but also don't want to miss the opportunity of risks are negligible

MrsTerrorPratchett Fri 07-Nov-14 17:01:47

A couple I know, originally from China, went back for a holiday. They were only in Beijing for a couple of days, before heading off into the country to see their family. One trip to the Great Wall, hours in the bus, and he had the 'Beijing cough' for a month. I'm sure there is probably no long-lasting effects but not nice for a grown man so probably pretty grim for a child.

I don't want to put you off though, because it really is a wonderful place and I would love to take my DD there at some point.

deXavia Fri 07-Nov-14 17:16:36

We currently live in Hong Kong, lived in Seoul before and have visited Beijing and Shanghai several times. So yes, the air can be awful - for 5 - 7 days unless there are medical reasons to be worried I would say go for it. Personally for Beijing I do think "throwing money at it" can help. We've stayed at the Hyatt - they have 2 bed suites so it you need to let the kids mooch in the room, then you can. We also took a private car to the Great Wall - you can do it at your own pace and go to some of the quieter sections. If they are fussy eaters take snacks, but if not set off early after breakfast, explore the Wall, then stop somewhere for a late lunch. At that age they probably won't want to hike for miles.
Assuming you are not Asian, the kids will be spectator sport and a thousand pictures will be taken - its hard to do anything about it but pre-warn the kids. Its not meant in an aggressive way, but it can be intrusive, DD loved it, DS adopted a "paparazzi" hands over the face stance!
But after Beijing - oh wow - Seoul. Love the city, love Korea - your kids will have a ball there.

AmericasTorturedBrow Fri 07-Nov-14 20:45:29

deXavia also great advice. We're excited about SK, staying friends who also have a toddler but any tips or highlights do throw them into the mix

DialMforMummy Sat 08-Nov-14 01:54:32

Beijing is an ace city, lots to do very exciting and very safe, but pollution is a real issue.
Unless your DC have respiratory problem, I really don't think a few days will have a great impact.
If you are worried you can buy face masks (go for vogmasks, not all face masks are effective) and see if the upmarket hotels have purified air. 7 to 10 days is quite a long time in a city with small kids though, I think you can do Beijing with Wall included in 5 days. PM if you have more questions, I live there.

deXavia Sat 08-Nov-14 04:25:32

So many things in Seoul for that age group.
The museums are really set up for kids with lots of interactive exhibits. I'm sure your friends will know great places and of course Lotte world and Seoul Park which are big theme parks.
Some more obscure stuff our two loved at that age - Nanta it's a play, impossible to describe but google it and my two thought it was hysterical. Changing of the Guards is incredible there are many to go to but check if the War Memorial has it's main parade on a Friday - it's got military roots but also lots of cultural displays, drums and is by far the best changing of the guards (just IMO obviously!)
Harder with kids but if you get a chance walk around Bukchon which is the old village, stunning but very hilly!
Enjoy - it will be a great adventure

ShanghaiDiva Sat 08-Nov-14 05:12:40

Agree about nanta, my two loved it. There is another one (name escapes me) about burglars breaking into house where family of tae Kwon do champions live. My kids liked this one too.

AmericasTorturedBrow Sat 08-Nov-14 06:10:26

This is awesome - DialM if we end up booking these flights I shall def on you

DialMforMummy Sat 08-Nov-14 07:31:27

No problem!

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