Surprisingly some of our most exciting itineraries have been proposed by families. China is actually an ideal destination for families – Chinese people dote on children – just as we would coo over a Chinese baby. It is a relatively safe place (although all normal precautions should be observed). In the main cities there are enough fast food outlets to obtain familiar food. One or two nights on a train are comfortable enough but sufficient to give a sense of adventure and there are more than enough remarkable sights which you wouldn’t find elsewhere. Because of the constraints of school holidays, many of our tours take place during the summer when China is hot, hot, hot! Most hotels, vehicles and restaurants are air-conditioned. There are plenty of opportunities for some light trekking, cycling or other activities.
Here we have put together some of the briefs which we received, with links to the day by day itineraries and a guideline to the costs, please contact us if you would like us to arrange something similar.
A Family Christmas & New Year in China
Mother & 2 sons wanted to spend Christmas together in China – some culture, a little trekking on the Great Wall, some interesting train travel and somewhere luxurious and relaxing – not too cold – with the opportunity for some trekking and adventure. See itinerary
A Family of 4 – father in the travel industry, mother a university lecturer and two young children. The mother had a meeting with other educationalists in China and they wanted a programme which would be thrilling for the children and not over strenuous.
After Beijing, they took the train to Tai’an to visit Mt Tai, from there to the birthplace of Confucius in Qufu, both in Shandong Province, then by way of contrast they flew to Guilin and chose to spend a night or two in the picturesque hamlet of Yangshuo.
Our journey ‘Confucius Birthplace and the Heart of Chinese Civilisation’ was inspired by their programme and the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing Olympics with its strong Confucian message of harmony and hospitality. See itinerary
An Adventure Trip to Lake Kanas
Two families with four sons between them aged 10-19 – based in UK & Portugal in the antiques business – wanted to do something completely different and visit Lake Kanas. Lake Kanas is little known (outside China), it is a Nature Reserve – in northern Xinjiang Province and is popular with Chinese honeymooners, it has an alpine feel and is cooler than the rest of China. The authorities carefully control visitor numbers to protect the local ecology.
With their strong interest in Chinese antiquities, en route for Xinjiang they visited some important cities on the Silk Road – Luoyang & Dunhuang for the Buddhist Grottoes. See itinerary
Summer tour in China for Two
We were contacted by a couple from Cyprus – a lawyer and his wife who wanted a comprehensive tour of China & Tibet, as well as the Yangtze River, Xi’an, Guilin & Shanghai. They travelled in Summer 2006 and this is the feedback we received :
‘ Yes, we are back in one piece! We made it through Heathrow with relatively little discomfort, thanks mainly to the fact that BA has a separate channel for business class passengers at Terminal 1.
Overall the tour was very good indeed. I would give it an 8 out of 10.
All the places we visited were worth visiting, I do not think we could have left anything out, certainly not Lhasa. Chongqing and the Yangtze river cruise demonstrated that it is not only Beijing and Shanghai that are developing, but the entire country.
As to the time spent at each place, I think we could have spent an extra day in Beijing and done Guilin in one day instead of two, although it is certainly a beautiful place. Also, spending a whole day in Suzhou to visit two gardens and cruise on the canal is too much: we could easily have done it in half a day and be back in Shanghai for lunch.
Hotels: the best was the Marriott at Chongqing (ironically, we arrived there after midnight and checked out before 9am the following morning) and the worst was the Lhasa Hotel, although its Himalayan restaurant serving Tibetan food was quite good. The Prime Hotel in Beijing was good but not outstanding, the Sheraton in Xian had a very good Chinese restaurant and lively bar, but was outside the walled city in an area where there is nothing within walking distance, and the Royal Garden in Guilin was very good. The Peace Hotel in Shanghai: it is a pity that such a historically famous hotel has been allowed to go down the scale, not that it is bad but it can no longer be considered as being among the top hotels in Shanghai. Even the two restaurants on the 8th floor are now hardly included in the good restaurant guides.
The “Eastern King” was good, but the food was very standard, if not poor. The lady crew member who guided us through the three gorges was very good.
Food: generally, the standard of meals offered was not high. The exceptions were the two lunches in Lhasa, the dinner at Guilin and the Mongolian barbecue in Shanghai. I am sure they can do better, or, alternatively, not include meals and give us a choice where we would wish to go.
Guides: they were generally quite good and punctual. The best one was in Xian.
Transportation: the drivers and cars provided were very good. The internal flights were also very good; we did not expect to find everywhere new terminal buildings and what appeared to be brand new aeroplanes.’
Family tour to the Tibetan Temple at Labrang and trekking in Lijiang
This family had teenage daughters – their special request was to have hotels with swimming pools, as well as to visit places which were off the beaten track. See itinerary