View of Hong Kong from Ocean Park Tower
Hong Kong is a popular destination among many of my Beijing friends, and for good reason. It’s an inexpensive flight, and once you’re there, it’s an easy city to travel within. The public transportation system is extensive and easy to use. There aren’t any language barriers because so many people speak English. Hong Kong is a beautiful city. It’s clean. And there is a lot to do.
There is so much information out there already about what to do in Hong Kong and how to get around, I feel a bit silly writing about it myself, and yet, we had such a good time visiting during the Chinese New Year holiday, I can’t help but chime in and add my two cents.
When we returned to China in August this year, my family decided to be committed to exploring China rather than remaining in our expat bubble here in Beijing. I really did have good intentions of recording and sharing our adventures, but intentions are one thing . . . and (clearly) our actions might not match them in the long run. But now, here I am, remembering my commitment to record our adventures. The most significant one we took this year I absolutely loved, but it was ages ago, and I have yet to talk about it.
During the China National Holiday in October (yes . . . it’s taken me that long!), my children were released from school for a week and we decided to try something totally new and go on our first road trip in China to the city of Hohhot in the Chinese province of Inner Mongolia. We really enjoyed our time there. It was nice to see parts of China outside of Beijing where we live, and it was a trip that I would definitely recommend to other expat families here.
A couple weeks ago, when my children were released from school for spring break, we were eager to get away and experience something new. Many of the expat families we know who travel around Asia have recommended Hua Hin, Thailand. I had visited Thailand only once in the eleven years I’ve lived in Asia, and I happened to catch a virus that, for the whole week, made my head feel like it was going to explode. With so many recommendations for the particular resort that we stayed at and the great deal we found on air tickets, we couldn’t resist the temptation to go and give it another try. I was ready to make some new memories of Thailand—ones that included the country itself rather than feeling miserable and unable to get out of bed.
Finally, the cold winter weather is getting warmer. This past Sunday was beautiful. The Air Quality Index (AQI) was low (below 50) and even with the chili breeze, my family was itching to get out and explore.
I mentioned in a previous post that living in the suburbs makes it difficult for us to get into the city, especially since every Saturday and Sunday we have commitments like Kung Fu lessons for my son, Skype calls to family back at home, and church on Sundays. We live far enough out that a commute into downtown takes up a lot of time, but we just couldn’t help ourselves on Sunday. We came home from church, grabbed a snack and left right away. During our explorations, we found a treasure that will surely become a favorite place for my family—a park I know we’ll go back to many other Sunday afternoons.
Happy Chinese New Year, everyone! Living in China certainly has its challenges, but it also has its perks, among them being that my children get Chinese holidays off from school, allowing us extra time to travel and explore. This week my children were off from school as China welcomed in the year of the monkey.
My family recently had the opportunity to travel to Taiwan during our recent Christmas holiday. In a previous post, I discussed why I love traveling with my young children. In this post I want to talk about Taiwan in general—overall impressions for those who might be interested in Taiwan and recommendations for my expat friends who might think of traveling there.
About two years ago, my family had so many commitments that during the five or six weeks of summer, ten flights shuttled us back and forth between four different states. If Hubby and I had been traveling as a couple, or if I had been traveling on my own, I wouldn’t have given ten flights and four states much thought. But with a three-year-old and a one-year-old, I looked ahead to all those flights and living out of a suitcase with more dread than excitement. That summer ended up containing more joy and discoveries than we would have experienced had we decided to find an easier escape for our summer weeks away from school, but going into it, all I could think about was meeting the needs of a preschooler and baby during five weeks of complicated travel logistics.
Let’s face it. Life changes when you have children. And for my own family, one of the things that changed dramatically was our travel—our choice of destinations, how often we could go, the activities we were able to do, and how we looked forward to (or dreaded) the travel in the first place.
Now that my children are five and three and are getting easier to travel with, my family decided to venture somewhere new during our recent Christmas break. Though not a very popular vacation destination among other expat families living in Asia, we decided to explore Taiwan.