Ever wondered where to go for the perfect winter break, action-packed, and fun-filled for kids and parents alike? Check out this year’s deals at locations only a short flight away from Beijing.
Famous for its ice sculptures and skating on the frozen river, Harbin is also a convenient place to go skiing from Beijing.
Where to stay?
Club Med, Yabuli: 200km from Harbin city is Yabuli ski resort, the largest ski resort in China. Club Med Yabuli does a great family package deal with activities including Nordic walking, flying trapeze and yoga as well as use of facilities such as the spa by beauty brand L’OCCITANE.
DEAL: The package (including accommodation, open gourmet food and bar, ski passes and lessons, evening entertainment, and kids activities, including activities like making craft masks, cooking pizza, playing group games, and kids ski lessons) starts from around RMB 5,700 per person for 5 days in December. Skip the January peak season for better prices in 2017.
Flights are only 2 hours from Beijing Capital International Airport (BCIA), or you can take the Beijing-Harbin High-speed Railway (6-7 hours).
Japan is home to some of the most famous ski resorts in Asia, and boasts high quality powder snow, which has earned Japan an international reputation among skiers and boarders alike. There are over 500 resorts to choose from, featuring luxury hotels, onsen hot springs (the perfect post-ski pastime!), lively restaurants, and friendly locals. The most renowned resorts are located in the north of Japan, on the island of Hokkaido. Family-friendly packages are often discounted at early-bird prices, and there is plenty to do – most of these resorts have a variety of activities such as sledding and play zones for young children, some even with childcare rooms, as well as activities for adults aside from snowboarding and skiing.
Where to go?
Niseko is known internationally and has been voted the best overall resort in Japan by the powderhounds.com. Sub-arctic Siberian winds mixed with the warmer Sea of Japan create the perfect climate for regular, light powder snowfall throughout the whole winter, and the view of nearby Mount Yotei, a dormant volcano, and the Shiribetsu River also make it the perfect destination for photographers. This resort is also one of the few places in Japan that offer top-quality off-trail skiing. These areas are accessible through special gates and guided tours – helicopter tours even allow you to ski off-piste on the volcano Yotei!
Niseko is made up of three main resort areas and an all-inclusive ski pass allows you to access all of the slopes on the mountain (Grand Hirafu, Niseko Village, Annupuri).
DEAL: A 5-day pass for peak season (December 10, 2016 – March 20, 2017) is approximately RMB 1,470/880 for adults/children.
Grand Hirafu is the largest of the resorts at Niseko, and is adjacent to the town Hirafu at the foot of the mountain. Here is the most popular place for night skiing, as well as having a Snow School, Snow Park for children, and hiking tours available around the snowy slopes. This resort also has a Kids Room where parents can safely leave their children to be cared for while parents zip around.
Hotel Niseko Alpen, Grand Hirafu: this simple hotel is only a short walk away from the main Hirafu ski lift, the perfect location for making the most of your skiing experience. Guests can choose from Japanese-style with tatami mats or Western-style rooms with beds, or a mixed style combining the best of both worlds.
DEAL: Prices start from RMB 400 per person per night including breakfast, access to hot springs and a perfect location for skiing.
AYA Niseko: newly opening in December 2016 is the AYA Niseko, a ski-in ski-out serviced apartment complex right at the bottom of the slopes. For those looking for a more independent holiday, this may be the perfect option. Guests are able to enjoy services such as the yoga room, natural onsen hot springs, art gallery, kid’s club and ski school as well as 24-hour reception.
DEAL: Rates start at around RMB 1,000 per person per night for a 47sqm Studio in January.
Hilton, Hokkaido: there are also many other resorts in the surrounding area. For those looking for a more luxurious stay, look at the Hilton branch in Hokkaido. Ski-in/ski-out access, a fitness centre, golf course, and hot air ballooning are only a couple of examples of the amazing amenities. Crowned Japan’s Best Ski Hotel by the World Ski Awards (2013, 2014 and 2015), there isn’t much that beats the location or view of the ‘sea of clouds’ blanketing Mount Yotei from the Hilton. Expect spectacular panoramic views of the slopes, and top quality hospitality.
DEAL: December rates start from ~ RMB 1,800 per room per night for 2 adults and 1 child in a King Deluxe Family Suite.
Club Med also provides a relaxing stay, offering horse-rides, hot springs and various activities for kids as off-slope pastimes.
DEAL: December is peak season, but discounts are available for February/March 2017.
Flights go from BCIA to Sapporo’s New Chitose Airport. Resorts will run shuttle buses with around 2.5 hours travel time, and most packages will have the option to include airport transfers.
Why Cambodia? The majestic temples, phenomenal food and perfect climate to get away from the Beijing cold are only a few reasons to visit this beautiful country. November to February is the best time to go – the weather is relatively dry and the temperature is ideal for either lounging by the pool or wandering around the temples. Whilst it is therefore busy at this time of the year, there are still plenty of family deals for you to enjoy. Travel in the first week of December or late January to avoid peak airline fares and tourist crowds. Optimum weather continues in February so Chinese New Year is still a perfect time to travel! Here are a few options for a spacious but well-located base from which to explore Siem Reap.
Where to stay?
De Sarann Villa: for those looking for a unique family experience at great value and in one of the most beautiful cities, this boutique villa complex may be the perfect fit. Family suites and tailored tour guides are available on request.
DEAL: Rates start at RMB 2,000 per night for a Royal Family Suite Villa (with Private Pool), 3 persons, December 2016 to January 2017.
HanumanAlaya Villas: the Hanuman travel group has set up a beautiful, spacious and perfectly located holiday spot. The villas are only a short walk or tuk-tuk ride away from the major sights, yet set in a quiet and private environment. Whilst areas like the Old Market and other tourist spots may be heaving in peak season, nearby areas such as Wat Bo or along the river near the villas are more relaxing yet beautiful places to explore. The HanumanAlaya Villa complex also works with its sister company, Hanuman Tourism, to bring reliable guides and well-organized tours of Cambodia to its guests. Tickets and tours can be arranged through the resort this way, which saves parents the stress of finding all activities themselves whilst taking care of children. The space available in these villas is ideal for families, and the perfect oasis in the busy city for children to relax and enjoy their holiday.
DEAL: The Pool View Suite is recommended, fitted with 2 queen-size beds and a balcony. Rates for a Deluxe Suite Room start at RMB 1,580 for December 2016 to January 2017.
As there are no direct flights to Siem Reap from Beijing, plan at least a day for travel, maybe two, depending on your family’s constitution and organizational ability. Stopover options include Kunming, Seoul, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Guangzhou. If you can’t make a day of the layover, we suggest Hong Kong International for its views, Hongqiao in Shanghai for the children’s rest area, and Seoul Incheon for the many free perks, from shower areas, massage chairs, transit tours, to rest lounges.
The closest tropical resort to Beijing, Sanya is located on the southern Chinese island of Hainan. With beautiful beaches and an abundance of water-sports and resorts to enjoy, Sanya is very well known as an ideal holiday getaway from the mainland. Yalong Bay in particular is popular due to the large concentration of luxury hotels – almost all international 5-star brands will have a branch there. However, this does mean the beach can get crowded in places – it is recommended to find somewhere with a private pool as another option, or a spacious villa complex in which a family can have more privacy instead of having to mix with tourist crowds. Some families also rent apartments nearby other beaches, perfect for social family gatherings.
Where to stay?
The Mandarin Oriental, the international luxury 5-star brand, combines “contemporary design with laid-back beach chic” in Sanya. This hotel consciously caters for families. Their services include the CoCo Kids Club and they provide any complimentary amenities you may need such as baby cots, highchairs, bottles and sterilisers, as well as kids’ bathroom items including bathrobes and slippers, available on request. There is a range of rooms, suites and villas with sea views or private pools to choose from, as well as extensive dining and spa facilities.
DEAL: Rates start from RMB 1,550, with complimentary round-trip transfers for villa guests.
A luxurious gem on the Yalong Bay PGA International Golf Course, the Grand Metropark Resort Sanya is a spacious villa complex ideal for families and large groups. They have spacious villas and activities for all ages, from a playground and kids club for the younger ones to (non-motorized) water-sports, hot tub and a private beach for teenagers and adults to enjoy.
December rates start from RMB 800 for a Deluxe Room per night for 2 adults, and approximately RMB 2,500 for a Deluxe 2-Villa Bedroom per night including tax and service fees (4 adults).
Deals on the four hour flights from Beijing to Sanya dip to a low RMB 540 (one way), but cost per person is typically in the RMB 2,000 – 4,000 ranges. Train sleepers range from RMB 850 – 2,900, but the trip isn’t for the faint of heart or the easily bored child, as the wheels keep turning for an astonishing 39 hours.