Shanghai with 5-year Old Grand Daughter

We are thinking of going to Shanghai at the beginning of next year. We have a 5 year old granddaughter who will be travelling with us and was wondering if this would be a good place to take her or do you think that she may be too young to appreciate it.

Please advise.

Sally from Wellington, New Zealand

Dear Sally,

Thanks for writing, I can only give you my opinion on whether traveling with a 5-year-old to Shanghai might be worthwhile. At this age, kids don't really have an appreciation for the historical/cultural aspect of the trip; however, what really counts is the overall experience, and they do start seeing the world with different eyes, not everything works like it does at home.

Here's a page that covers that topic and might be of help:

Personally, I started hauling my son since he was two months old and never regretted it. When he was five, I think we took him to London and Paris, he does remember "the big clock" and the "tall tower" where his ears got soooo cold, but at that age, not much sticks, and forget the Mona Lisa. So same goes for Shanghai, kids have the most fun at the markets not the museums!

Hope this helps, everyone you ask will have a different opinion, so do what feels best to you, have a great trip and come back and tell us about it!

Have you ever done a tour in China by train? If so, would it be suitable for our grand daughter, or should we just stay in Shanghai & do day trips?

How long would you stay in Chengdu to see the pandas?

Kids love trains, specially the overnight ones, my son thought it was a real adventure. Keep in mind Shanghai is gearing up for the Expo in 2010, the entire infrastructure is getting an overhaul, new metro lines being added, high speed rail construction everywhere, etc. so there might be delays and a bit of confusion with train schedules but not much different than it has been in the past, it seems the entire country, but specially the big cities have been under construction permanently. Trains run reliably well, sometimes a bit too crowded but overall, an easy and economical way to get around.

If you have the time, definitely go to Chengdu, there is more to do here for kids than Shanghai (in my opinion) there are several places to see the pandas and lots of day trips or overnight trips from here. You could easily spend a week in the area. These pages will give you an idea of things to do:

Again, thanks for writing!

Beijing and Hong Kong in the Spring, Tibet with Children

We are traveling whit family kid's 9 and 10 in Beijing Feb 27 and Hong Kong March 07. Can you give us recommendations for hotels, restaurants, activities?

Is it possible to go to Tibet with kids?

from Canada

There is plenty to do in both Beijing and Hong Kong with kids. For our recommendations on things to see and do, check out these pages:

Things to do with kids in China

As far as hotels and restaurants, we cannot give specific recommendations since it will depend on your personal preferences and budget. Generally speaking, we like the Wang Fu Jing area in Beijing, as it is very pedestrian friendly, with lots of restaurants, food markets, shopping, etc. The kids like walking around the night markets and trying all sorts of new foods.

In Hong Kong, it's also a matter of preference whether you stay in the mainland or island areas, as transportation is easy, cheap, and accessible. We like the Tsim Sha Tsui area, for some, this might be too congested, but that's what Hong Kong is all about!

To book hotels, we like using Hotels Combined, which lets you search all the different hotel offerings for the time you are planning to travel.

Who has the best hotel deals?
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Regarding Tibet with kids, specially your ages 9 and 10, it is possible, but there are some precautions you need to take, altitude sickness, food, are some. You can find more information here:

Tibet with Children

as well as some recommendations in some areas in Sichuan Province where you can also enjoy Tibetan culture, at much lower and less harsher conditions.

Enjoy your trip!