Thinking about Moving to China? Family Fun and Travel

Matt | Family,Traveling | Friday, June 24th, 2011

Continuing on with questions about moving to China, here are a few more of them you might want to ask or answer before you come.

What entertainment is available for children or families?

My first reaction to this question was I’m not really sure as I arrived in Beijing a single guy and left a happily married man. The more I thought about entertainment for children and families the more my mind centered on expat magazines, such as TheBeijinger, Timeout and CityWeekend, and how the often have sections devoted solely to children and young families.

When you arrive in Beijing you can pick up the expat magazines at most western restaurants and cafes such as Grandma’s Kitchen or The Bookworm. I would recommend you pick up a few of these magazines shortly after you arrive and scan through for anything that looks good. Once you pick an event, you’ll likely meet some expats with kids who can give you better information on what they recommend for children. As there is a strong expat community in the larger cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, with many international schools, there are also a lot of organizations that are family friendly. It took me two years to figure this out, but after I did I quickly found a Saturday morning ball hockey league which led me to ice hockey and I also found many Toastmasters clubs. These magazines are great for connecting you to many interesting and exciting happenings in the large cities.

For example,

http://www.thebeijinger.com/events

http://www.cityweekend.com.cn/beijing/listings/parents-and-kids/

http://www.timeoutbeijing.com/Kids.html

If you are planning on moving with a young family this is obviously a much more challenging decision than when I decided to come alone back in 2005. If possible, I recommend you take a trip to China, by yourself or with the entire family, to get a better perspective of what one to two years living overseas may look, feel and taste like before you move your family.

How much would I pay for a personal day tour to several places?

This is a tough question as it depends on what you want to do. The expat magazines have loads of travel excursions that range from reasonable to expensive. Also most hotels, if not all, will have a travel desk where they can book your day trips or future travel plans. To give you a general idea I recommend you pick up a travel guide book, such as Lonely Planet or Fodor’s, as the prices range depending on the type of travel you want to do. Also, be careful as to when the guide was printed as some prices may be higher than the book, but it should give you a general framework to budget with.

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