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Throwback Saturday: Weekend Warrior - Lost with the Phoenix - A window into ancient life in one of China’s most beautiful towns



Mainly inhabited by Miao and Tujia minorities, Fenghuang (凤凰) lies at the western border of Hunan province. It is a well-preserved ancient town that takes visitors back to the China of hundreds of years ago.

Cross the stone bridge over the Tuo River, stroll down the paved roads, and meander through alleys filled with the fragrance of handmade ginger candy. Stay in one of the suspended houses built on the riverbank at the bottom of mountains; you will feel like staying forever. 

Fenghuang is Chinese for “phoenix,” the mythical bird that returns to life by rising from its own ashes. The town’s history can be traced back to the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC) but it only got the name “Fenghuang” during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912). According to legend, two phoenixes flew over the town and found it so beautiful that they hovered over it and were reluctant to leave.


Family Travels: Melbourne Memories - The Yin-Kanbur family travel to Oz

Travelers: Lee Kanbur, his wife Sze Yin, and their sons Koray (age 6) and Dilhan (1). Koray attends Tianjin Wellington International School.
Destination: Malaysia and Australia
Travel dates: December 2014/January 2015
Travel plans: The family flew with Malaysian Airlines to Kuala Lumpur for two days before continuing on to Melbourne and Adelaide in Australia. They stayed with family and organized the trip independently. Flights were RMB 18,500; food and shopping came to approximately RMB 43,000.
 


Throwback Thursday: Safety First - Tips for staying out of trouble in the capital (HRG 2015)

As strangers in a foreign land, safety is always a top priority. Fortunately, by international standards Beijing is a very safe city with low rates of violent crime. Most incidents are limited to petty crimes like scams and pickpocketing. Like any other major city, however, more serious incidents such as traffic accidents, health emergencies, and serious crimes do occur; when they do, knowledge and preparation are key. We outline some common scams and offer basic safety tips for Beijing newbies.


Day Tripper: Ride On - Saddle up at Equuleus

Summer is here and naturally thoughts turn to unbridled fun and horsing around outdoors. In addition to being an enjoyable form of exercise, horseback riding can help kids develop a sense of mastery and self-sufficiency, and cultivate patience, respect for animals, and emotional discipline.

Equuleus International Riding Club opened in 2000 and is the only British Horse Society (BHS) approved club in mainland China. With 180 stables, it houses around 130 mostly imported European horses, including warmbloods and thoroughbreds. There are six arenas in total, five of which are Olympic-competition standard, with three each of indoor and outdoor arenas. Additionally, four grassy areas are used for competitions and events.


What's Fun In: The Rest is History - Six family-friendly museums


China Science and Technology Museum  中国数字科技馆

There’s a reason we keep recommending this place. Everything is interactive and kids have to be dragged away from practically every display. From robots to ships, space, and beyond, visitors can explore various facets of science and technology in a clean, air-conditioned space that offers a welcome respite from the heat.
Located near the Olympic Village, China Science and Technology Museum is suitable for children of all ages. Most of the exhibition halls are located on the third floor, so head there first if you’re short on time. There’s an area for younger kids, which costs extra. Food and drinks are available on all levels and the toilets are very clean. 

Admission: RMB 30 (adults), RMB 15 (kids), cinema: RMB 30 (adults), RMB 20 (students), kids’ area: RMB 20 (kids), RMB 10 (adults).
Tue-Sun 9.30am-5pm. 5 Beichen Donglu, Chaoyang District (5904 1000, ticket@cstm.org.cn)
www.cstm.org.cn 朝阳区北辰东路5号


Back to School: Class Struggles - How to adjust to the school routine as a family & Where to Buy Stationery

Starting a new school year can be a mix of thrill and trepidation. Many expats have the added challenge of settling down in a foreign country. We spoke to Bruce G. Hammond, vice principal at Tsinghua International High School (THIS), Dr. Alan Mease clinical psychologist and medical director at Beijing LIH Olivia’s Place Pediatric Clinic, and Dr. Caleb Korngold, psychiatry section chief at Beijing United Family Hospita

Newbie Crash Course
Fall brings a flock of new expats ready to embark on a China adventure. A new schooling environment in a new country will naturally result in some level of anxiety for both parents and children. Dr. Mease says that the parents’ attitudes drive the success of the children’s adjustment. “If the parents are negative about China then the kids will be as well.”


Capital Walks: Beijing walking tours for the whole family - 798 Art District

It’s August in Beijing; the city’s expat community has shed its departing families and welcomed a fresh batch. Whether you’re new to Beijing, or just returning from vacation, walking the city’s streets is a great way to acquaint, or reacquaint, yourself with the capital. We spotlight four walking itineraries across the ‘Jing selected by some of its best tour guides. Get out and explore before school starts! This part two of a four part series, find part one here, two here, and three here

Featured Guide: Clemence Grinnell and Mirella Coolen (Off the Wall)
Clemence Grinnell moved to Beijing in 2014, with her husband and three boys aged between 7 and 16. Before their move to Beijing, the family lived in France, where Grinnell worked in the tourism business. This summer Grinnell took over the Beijing operations of Off The Wall from its founder Mirella Coolen, who recently relocated to Shanghai.
Off the Wall’s tours take place on foot, or by bike, to places where you can discover the richness of Chinese history and observe the contrast with modern China. Taking you off the beaten track, their tours help you discover a myriad of hidden gems. Children over 12 are welcome on all tours. For younger children, contact Clemence to discuss. For further information, and the current tour schedule and prices, phone 138 1147 8712, email offthewallbeijing@hotmail.com, or visit www.offthewallbeijing.com.


Capital Walks: Beijing walking tours for the whole family - Maliandao Tea Market

It’s August in Beijing; the city’s expat community has shed its departing families and welcomed a fresh batch. Whether you’re new to Beijing, or just returning from vacation, walking the city’s streets is a great way to acquaint, or reacquaint, yourself with the capital. We spotlight four walking itineraries across the ‘Jing selected by some of its best tour guides. Get out and explore before school starts! This part two of a four part series, find part one here and part two here.

Featured Guide: Phoebe Han (The Hutong)
Phoebe Han is originally from Xinjiang and has been The Hutong’s tea expert for three years. She also arranges and coordinates activities for the company. To book a tour with Han, visit The Hutong’s website at thehutong.com. For more information, email info@thehutong.com or call 159 0104 6127. The courtyard at located at 1 Jiudaowan Zhongxiang, Dongcheng District.

The Hutong’s tea tour incorporates a variety of tea shops, focusing on China’s diversity in tea production. From the oolongs of Fujian to the green teas of Anhui and Zhejiang and rich pu’er teas from Yunnan, Guide Phoebe Han regularly takes visitors through the maze that is Maliandao Tea Market.


Capital Walks: Beijing walking tours for the whole family - Shichahai

It’s August in Beijing; the city’s expat community has shed its departing families and welcomed a fresh batch. Whether you’re new to Beijing, or just returning from vacation, walking the city’s streets is a great way to acquaint, or reacquaint, yourself with the capital. We spotlight four walking itineraries across the ‘Jing selected by some of its best tour guides. Get out and explore before school starts! This part two of a four part series, find part one here.

Featured Guide: Nelly Alix (Beijing by Heart)
Nelly Alix, a scholar of Chinese studies, has been living in Beijing and exploring its captivating history for seven years. She is the co-founder of Beijing by Heart, a company specializing in tailored tours and history walks.

Beijing by Heart offers private tours and small group walks in English and French. The history walks are suitable for small groups of two to eight people and cost RMB 300 per person (RMB 150 for ages 8-16). For more information, email info@beijingbyheart.com, call 5873 0051 or 186 1130 2864, or visit www.beijingbyheart.com.


Capital Walks: Beijing walking tours for the whole family - Qianmen

It’s August in Beijing; the city’s expat community has shed its departing families and welcomed a fresh batch. Whether you’re new to Beijing, or just returning from vacation, walking the city’s streets is a great way to acquaint, or reacquaint, yourself with the capital. We spotlight four walking itineraries across the ‘Jing selected by some of its best tour guides. Get out and explore before school starts! This is part one of a four part series.

Featured Guide: Daniel Newman (Newman Tours)
Englishman Daniel Newman began his China story at age 18, first coming here to study martial arts before returning home to receive an MPhil in Modern Chinese Studies from the University of Cambridge. He has lived in China for the past nine years and is the founder and managing director of Newman Tours.

Newman Tours provides public, private and tailored tours led by western English speakers in and around Shanghai, Beijing, Xi’an, Hangzhou and Suzhou. Their tours around Qianmen include The Forbidden City Tour, The History of China in 50 Objects at the National Museum, Beijing, and The Beijing Future Tour, and cost RMB 190 - 440 per person, depending on the type of tour guide and tour type selected. (RMB 120-340 for children under 14). To find out more visit www.newmantours.com, email info@newmantours.com, or call 138 1777 0229


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