China has been high on my bucket list for years but I worried that I wouldn’t be able to visit with kids. We took the plunge and went with our toddler and had a great time but there are definitely some things that you need to know before visiting China with Kids! Her ewe round up all our top tips and advice so you can have a successful trip to China with kids!
Getting a Chinese Visa for Kids
Everyone visiting China, that includes children and babies require a visa! There is a 72-hour visa-free transit policy in China allows air passengers from 53 countries to transit and stay for up to 72 hours (3 days) in 18 China cities without a visa, this includes Beijing and is perfect for those people who just want to do a trip to the Great Wall as they transit through Beijing!
. As we were traveling for longer than 72 hours we were required to get a longer Chinese visa. To do this UK citizens must have a passport with six month’s validity along with a completed application form, passport photocopies, supporting documents, photographs and an invitation letter to apply for the Chinese visa by post or in-person at a Chinese Visa Application Service Centre. We went to the Chinese Visa centre in Manchester and actually the process, so long as the online instructions were followed, was very simple!
Please note: Visa requirements can change – please make sure you check that you have up to date information before travelling to China!
Healthcare in China
Though there are lots of pharmacies and hospitals in the large cities of China, the prevalence of spoken English varies in these places. Be sure to bring any required medication with prescriptions with you (check what is allowed). I also always bring my child medicine box for things like calpol and bonjela with me!
While China was once protected by the Great Wall of China today it’s more like The Great Firewall of China!
The restrictions on certain websites can may traveling with children to China difficult! Things like downloading your child’s favorite shows is almost impossible so you may want to make sure you have an ample supply before you arrive or be sure you have a good VPN that works in China! Express VPN is the one that was recommended to us and worked really well during our stay!
Eating in China with Kids
This was one of my biggest stresses before travelling to China! However, I needn’t have worried! Our little one loved noodles and steamed eggs which is one of the first foods children eat in China! Our guide at the Great Wall of China made sure the restaurant we want to limited salt in our food for our toddler so if you have a guide be sure he knows any dietary restrictions or requests you have! If you are travelling alone, ask your hotel to write down some food staples like noodles and stir fry vegetables so you can hand these over when going into a Chinese restaurant!
For those with less adventurous kids there are many of the main chains in China now! While we were there we saw KFC, Starbucks and McDonalds to name a few! So if you are worried head to a mall and you are bound to find some Western food!
However if you are worried, why not pack a few Ella’s Kitchen pouches and other snack foods that your children like!
Please note that you shouldn’t drink the tap water in China so stick to bottled water!
Chinese Air Pollution
When you are in Beijing it is pretty easy to gauge the quality of the air just by looking out of the window. There is an unmistakeable yellow haze that paints the sky and visibility becomes severely reduced. However it is important to know exactly how bad the pollution levels are. We used two main resources to monitor the air pollution levels while we were in Beijing. The first is run by the US State Department and has a useful guide on interpreting the air pollution numbers.
We also downloaded the Air Visual App which provided hourly updates on pollution levels and was easy to use and understand.
We also found having a good hotel was an essential when traveling to Beijing. We stayed at the Grand Hyatt and we found that the hotel played a large part in us having a great time in Beijing when the air quality was poor. The hotel was attached to a mall so it meant we could go out without going outside and most importantly it had an absolutely fantastic pool. This meant the whole family could be entertained even in bad weather.
Also remember to pack a well fitting face mask with filters to keep out the worst of the pollution!
Getting Around China with Kids
For Visiting some of the bigger attractions such as the Great Wall of China we definitely think it is worthwhile getting a guide! Although possible to travel to places like the wall yourself it is definitely easier having a local guide organising everything for you!
Traffic can be awful and taxis don’t necessarily have seatbelt! While buses can be very crowded and intimidating for little children. We recommend using private hire companies to get around!
What to Pack for China with Kids
Remember when travelling to China that the country has extreme of weathers in both winter and summer so be sure to pack appropriately!
For children remember to pack those reins for some of China’s extremely busy tourist attractions and face masks especially if you are visiting in winter when the pollution is at its worst!
At Western hotels and at most tourist attractions you will find western toilets but if you are traveling more remotely/locally expect Squat toilets! Children will need help with these if they have never used before and remember to roll up trousers before going! At places like the Great Wall there are no toilets (obviously) so be sure to make use of toilets before you head up!
Should you Take a Stroller to China?
In the modern buildings such as malls then strollers are absolutely fine however at China’s great sites such as the Great Wall of China and the Forbidden City, it is definitely easier to use a carrier due to uneven surfaces! However if you child doesn’t use a carrier be sure to take a pair of toddler reins with you as some places can get very busy!
Selfies in China
Our daughter is blonde curly haired and blue eyed and is of much fascination when she visits Asia! I never have problems with people asking for photos and she enjoys the attention but if you child fits this description it is worth warning them about this before they travel!
Have you been to China with kids? What are your top tips?