China Family Itinerary | China with Kids | Ciao Bambino!

A Nine-Day Family Travel Extravaganza in China

China is a compelling destination with ever-increasing relevance to the global economy and subsequently, the lives of those beyond its shores. The educational value of an immersive trip to China cannot be underestimated, but to entice the whole family, it had better be a whole lot of fun too!

As air travel between the USA and China becomes more plentiful, cheaper and more comfortable, the need to tick all the boxes on one exhausting journey is reduced. Traveling with kids is demanding at the best of times; adding in a mix of flight delays, unimaginable crowds and language issues makes it harder. So why not slice things up a bit? Did you know that you can enjoy a compelling journey within China, seeing all the cultural and historical diversity of the country, without even needing to fly?

The following outline was designed to offer just that: a nine-day family travel extravaganza without the fatigue. 

Shanghai skyline

A Great Kid-Friendly Itinerary in China


Start your journey in the vibrant commercial hub of Shanghai, an extraordinary city where the cultural subtleties of the past collide with the brazen ambitions of the future.

Where to stay:

Four Seasons Hotel Shanghai Pudong, a lavish hotel with cozy rooms, great dining and probably the best city-view pool in Shanghai.

What to see and do:

On the surface, the city may seem to be about shopping and commerce only, but dig just a little deeper and a world of excitement unfolds. Here are some of the top activities with kids:

> Explore the city in vintage sidecar motorcycles

> Take a private Kung Fu lesson in a park

> Witness the incredible Shanghai Acrobats

> Take a walking foodie tour, featuring the best local snacks

> Learn to make traditional Shanghai dumplings

> Embark on a treasure hunt in the Old City

Lake Taihu

Lake Taihu

Located less than two hours from Shanghai by car, the area around Lake Taihu offers a cultural experience second to none. The area is famous for its distinct Chinese scenery and authentic unspoiled culture. The focus is on learning, health and sustainability, a side of China too often ignored. To balance mind and body, activities here are aimed at both.

Where to stay:

Taihu Home, a cultural center-cum-boutique private luxury lodge, and the site of Mandarin Journeys’ Summer School program.

What to see and do:

> Take an introductory (or advanced) Mandarin language class

> Join in a traditional Chinese pottery workshop

> Witness the incredible Shanghai Acrobats

> Learn to cook refined medicinal-grade food

> Enjoy a tea appreciation and tasting workshop

> Hike and/or cycle in the hills around the lake


Formerly the favorite summer retreat for Shanghai’s elites in the Roaring Twenties, Moganshan is one of China’s magnificent bamboo forests and a place of immense natural beauty. 

Where to stay:

Andaman Moganshan, a tasteful, low-carbon luxury resort, perfectly integrated into the surroundings yet offering modern comfort.

What to see and do:

A favorite with Shanghai visitors and locals, and often the first-choice escape for expats, the area offers a wide selection of activities.

> Scenic hikes and walks amidst the towering bamboo

> Bamboo rafting and swimming

> Horse riding, Tai Chi, tea picking, picnics

> Wholesome living and organic food

> Spa treatments



Just a one-hour train ride from Shanghai but a world away, Hangzhou was famously described as “the most beautiful city under heaven” by legendary explorer Marco Polo. We do agree with old Marco, and so will you. This is the home of coveted Longjing tea, centered around the stunning West Lake scenic area. 

Where to stay:

Banyan Tree Hangzhou — secluded from the busiest city area and yet close the action, this serene retreat offers true luxury in a pastoral setting.

What to see and do

Hangzhou was once China’s capital and, as such, offers a wide range of historically important sights. In fact, the entire city should be considered an open-air museum; no stuffiness here!

> See the impressive “Impressions West Lake” performance, set on the lake and featuring hundreds of props and performers as well as advanced lighting and animatronics.

> Visit the revered Lingyin Temple

> Take a private gondola boat trip on West Lake

> Fly kites on Wushan Square

> Hike in the Longjing tea plantations

> Explore the ancient alleyways and temples

Ciao Bambino will be traveling with Mandarin Journeys and testing this itinerary in April. We can’t wait for them to share their impressions of this engaging itinerary for families!

Relevant Links:

Best family hotels and things to do in China with kids on Ciao Bambino

Marc Mekki is the founder of Mandarin Journeys, a travel company specializing in unique family-oriented holidays in China, Japan and Southeast Asia. Marc spent the last 14 years living, working and traveling in Asia, meticulously researching and curating the finest activities, hotels and food experiences. The Mandarin Journeys team are committed to educational, sustainable and immersive multi-generational holidays in the Far East. 

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  • Looking to get cost for 2 adults and 3 children 13,11,9 for Aug 2016 12 day tour. From Ireland. Want to see pandas.

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