China: Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai

China: Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai

The Greats of China

Fly in/out: Hong Kong/Shanghai

Recommended ages: 6 and up

Pace: Moderate

Currency: Hong Kong Dollar. For street markets, bring Renminbi

Time Zone: 13 hours ahead of CST

Ball Park Price: $2500/person for four travellers, not including airfare.

Best Season to Travel: March-October but avoid Chinese holidays


DAY ONE & TWO: Fly Chicago to Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) via United. Check into W Hong Kong Hotel. See Victoria Harbor light show and Nathan Road.

Hong Kong Harbor Light ShowDAY THREE: Spend day in North Hong Kong/Central District. Take a Ferry from Star Ferry Pier Explore central shops and alleys. Spend evening in Kowloon area. Walk through Temple street night market.

DAY FOUR: Explore Hong Kong shopping. Fly to Beijing via Air China. Check into Grand Hyatt Beijing. Arrange hotel transportation. Explore area around hotel including Wangfujing Street and the indoor hotel pool.

DAY FIVE: Full day tour with Catherine Lu tours. See Tian’anmen Square, Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven and Acrobatic show. Back to hotel and enjoy the underground pool.

DAY SIX: Travel 2 hours to the Mutianyu, Great Wall of China with Jingjing tours.

Markets in Shanghai
Markets in Shanghai

DAY SEVEN: Full day tour through Hutong district in a rickshaw, visit cloissonne factory, explore Bird Nest and Water Cube, (the Beijing summer olympic landmarks), and Summer Palace.

DAY EIGHT: Depart Beijing to Shanghai on Air China. Explore Riverside Promenade and a market. Check into Radisson Pudong and enjoy outdoor pool.

DAY NINE: See Yuyuan Gardens and Bazaar, Shop the “black markets” for designer items to take home. Bund sightseeing on underground tunnel/ferry and back.

DAY TEN: Depart Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG) on United direct to Chicago.

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Vacation Highlights

  • Hong Kong was a nice entry point to allow kids to adjust to both the timezone and the new surroundings.
  • Hong Kong is an easy to navigate and condense city to travel without needing a guide to get around. Cabs are easy to hail and most places are within walking distance.
  • Cloisonne FactoryBeijing is a bustling city that is both beautiful to see and fascinating to observe.
  • The Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China provided the variety that the kids needed to enjoy the full day at the Great Wall. Utilizing a private tour guide to provide transportation, purchase tickets and help navigate to the tram, walking portion and alpine slide was key for our family.
  • The day exploring Hutong market was a great lesson in understanding the Chinese culture for the kids. We got to see inside a chinese family home and help make pottery in a Cloisonne Factory.
  • A fun way to end the trip was shopping in some of the more famous Shanghai markets to take items home.

Great Excursions

  • Star Ferry in Hong Kong–great way to view Harbor in Hong Kong
  • Forbidden City and Tian’anmen Square – not to miss to understand China history and government.
  • The Great Wall, Mutianyu District. Loved the tram, climbing the wall and alpine slide on the way down for kids.
  • Hutong District Tour-great way to learn about Chinese culture.

Exploring China

Places to stay

  • The W Hong Kong
    The W Hong Kong
    The “W” Hong Kong had a roof top pool which was a bonus feature for the kids. We also had two adjoining rooms in the hotel. Hotel was centrally located.
  • The Grand Hyatt, Beijing was great for the family. We had a two bedroom and 2 bath room with kitchenette. The hotel featured an amazing underground pool. It was also centrally located. Offered great family packages.
  • The Radisson Blu Pudong Hotel provided a great location and an outdoor pool for afternoon fun for kids.
Radisson Blu, Pudong Shanghai
Radisson Blu
Grand Hyatt Beijing
Grand Hyatt Beijing


  • In Hong Kong, enjoy Dim Sum at Dim Sum 63 Sing Road.
  • In Beijing, we mostly stayed with noodles and followed our guides and hotels advice on places to eat. The adventurers can try peking duck, or black scorpions on a stick.


Helpful Hints

  • Restrooms in China
    Restrooms in China
    For the long flight, supervise children’s eating and sleeping habits. Our son wasn’t feeling well after the long flight and we were greatly concerned as there are health sensors in Hong Kong and most of China’s larger airports. Bring a miniature first aid kit with you as a carry on, just in case!
  • To prepare for China, you need to address the toilet situation in China. Some bathrooms are not fully equipped. Bring hand sanitizer and toilet paper with you always. Keep in mind, some young children in Beijing do not wear disposable diapers and a practice is that they use the sewer system. Prepare yourself and your children for this possible event.
  • Paparrazzi
    Chinese “paparazzi” is everywhere. Many chinese tourists like to take pictures of our family especially kids. As we’re taking pictures of them, they’re taking pictures of us. Funny scenarios, but one to also prepare your children for.
  • Bring layers for change in temperature throughout day and night time excursions.
  • We loved our tour guide through Beijing, Jingjing Tours. With the right research, we didn’t feel like we had to have a tour guide but it was a wonderful addition for the kids.


  • To enter China, you need a visa as well as six months’ remaining time before expiration on your passport.
  • Watch Mulan for younger kid and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon with older kids.
  • Surf the web for other activities to explore with kids

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