The great news about living in Beijing is that there are amazing places only a few hours away: Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, and many more. When it’s time for you to escape Beijing, I suggest the Philippines. I had never been to the Philippines before and am so happy we went.
- It’s cheap. Using Cebu air and booking in advance you can find one-way tickets for as little as RMB 400. Round trip airfare for RMB 800? Amazing. And decent hotel rooms can be booked for RMB 190-240 per night.
- Child Care. Kai is only 4 and a half months, bringing him felt pretty risky, but I couldn’t leave him behind! We were informed by our hotel that they had a nanny nearby that they often use. When we met Alona we instantly loved her sweet and soft energy. We totally felt safe leaving Kai with her for a few hours at a time. She even cried when we said goodbye.
- Scuba Diving. I finished up my PADI Open Water Diver course there and was then able to enjoy recreational dives only a few minutes away from the beach. Being underwater in a tropical paradise makes Beijing feel like it’s in another universe. Truly an amazing escape.
- Cheap airfare seems too good to be true? Well… it kind of is. Our flights were in the middle of the night; quite disruptive for even the most relaxed of sleeping schedules. Also, even though we paid for one, Cebu Pacific doesn’t stock basinets on the Beijing-Manila route. It wasn’t easy holding our baby throughout the night.
- Bugs. When you combine rain and sun you get beautiful, tropical greenery – but you also get mosquitoes! Kai racked up at least half a dozen bites.
- Food. This is more of a luxury problem than a con but it’s not Thailand. Name a few Filipino dishes. Can you? There aren’t really any that have world recognition. Whereas when in Thailand you can enjoy tom yum soup, pad Thai noodles, and delicious curries… the Philippines… eh, not so much. The fruit is amazing though! Mm mangoes.
Overall, in my opinion, the benefits totally outweigh the negatives. In addition to the advantages listed above, the Philippines are truly gorgeous and the people are kind. Because of the super maternal culture there it is a great place to bring kids. It is an easy place to get to with friends from the city or even a quiet holiday alone with the family. The best part though is simply that it’s magical. When the sun is setting behind the hills and you are overlooking a blue bay that you have just spent the day swimming around with all the colorful fishes below… it can’t get much better. Check it out!
Theresa Pauline is a yoga teacher, social entrepreneur, momma, wife, and beijingkids contributor. You can find out more about her at www.taozitreeyoga.com
Photos: Theresa Pauline