As one of our top three places in the world, we find China to be one most unique cultural experiences we’ve had as well as an incredible food experience. The Chinese love children and are extremely family-friendly, and at every turn, you will be surrounded by ancient history. We just cannot stress enough that your should visit China with kids.
But before you visit, you will need to prepare. While China is technologically advanced, it can feel as if you are in a time warp — very few people speak English, you cannot just call a taxi, and all the social media tools, apps and email you typically use, including Uber, are not available to you in China.
From the basics you’ll need to enter the country, which has stricter visa requirements, to some things may be unusual for your family to encounter, here’s how you can prepare for your trip to China with kids.
We cannot rave enough about Shanghai! Actually, we rank Shanghai one of our top five cities in the world to travel with kids. After visiting the more traditional and old-school Beijing, Shanghai was such a change of scenery. The city is very cosmopolitan, like New York City, Mumbai or Tokyo, and incredibly organized. This is a city that wants to be the financial capital of modern Asia and that goal is pretty evident in everything they do.
With a desire to be an international business city comes people from all around the world and from all over China. This means the food in Shanghai is to die for, coming from all the regions of China, as well as around the world! We had some of the best foods we have ever eaten while here. From its beautiful harbor, the energy of the city and its people, the illuminated skyscrapers and, again, the food (we seriously cannot say enough about it), Shanghai should be on everyone’s travel list. This is a city you do not want to miss. Go, now. We mean it!
We hate when we read travel websites that do nothing but rave about how wonderful every destination is. It’s misleading. We want to be honest about our experiences, and we honestly don’t recommend families visit Macau. It is a nice enough place, super new and super clean, and one of the only places in China you can gamble. Unlike Las Vegas, however, it just doesn’t have the same energy and things to do with kids. Unless you want to visit to gamble and play games in the casinos, which are nice and super expensive (more expensive than Las Vegas!), it’s just not on our list of cities to visit with kids.
It’s historical, a culture all its own, and, oh yes, the food is off the charts! Beijing is where the Ming and Qing Dynasties thrived with imperial families ruling for centuries. You’ll find palaces, temples, gorgeous parks, and, of course, various entries to the Great Wall of China. Not only is Beijing’s culture unique in how the country celebrates its spiritual beliefs — they once considered themselves between Heaven and Earth — it is also the center of communism in China and provides travelers with another unique perspective on the world.
Yes, although the language can be a barrier, we also found the people of Beijing to be extremely friendly to families, going out of their way to take care of children. It really is a magical city that everyone should visit.