Jenny Lin

Jenny Lin

Jenny Lin is a writer and editor currently based in Columbus, Ohio, where she is adding a master's degree in public health to the one she already has in journalism. She is married to a Chinaman and spent the last three years immersing her three children in local life in Beijing. She has worked for a wide variety of media, from state TV to wire news to magazine.


What to See on Family Visit to Beijing’s Sanlitun

Put Sanlitun on your agenda for a family visit to Beijing. It is one of the most popular expat areas in China’s capital. Sanlitun is widely known for its nightlife but has a lot to offer for a family visit as well. Here are the main places I would suggest putting on your Sanlitun agenda: 1) The Bookworm. A cozy bookstore/library where you can eat and drink and browse books for both grown-ups and kids. 2) The Village: A spacious open shopping area. Stop at Page One for more books, including a huge supply of children’s books and activities....

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Make the Most of a 72-hour Visa Free Beijing Stay

The new 72-hour visa-free visit in Beijing is not a long time for a family visit from places as far as the US. But summer travel is just around the bend, and if you have the occasion to bring the kids to Beijing for even a short time, here’s one suggested Beijing family friendly itinerary (more details at the links provided): Spend a day in the northwest corner. Start at the Beijing Zoo and Aquarium. The aquarium is an impressively sized area with a variety of fish and exhibits. It’s on the zoo grounds, so get the combo ticket....

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Take the Family to Beijing’s Botanical Gardens

A family visit to Beijing should include a visit to the Botanical Gardens in the Western Hills of the city and right next to Xiang Shang (Fragrant Hills). The garden is on a huge grounds, including some memorials, flower/blossom gardens and a giant sleeping Buddha at the north end. It’s worth buying the combo ticket that includes the conservatory. Be prepared for the changing weather inside though, whatever season you go. The jungle is damp and sticky but fun and beautiful with waterfalls and a wooden bridge kids will enjoy crossing. This is followed by the desert (very hot!)...

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Family, Forgiveness and Travel to Reunite with Mom

Mother’s Days are a good time to reconnect and reunite with family, sometimes even by travel. Sometimes those reunions can be not quite a barbecue at the park, but meaningful nonetheless. I just traveled halfway across China to meet my mom-in-law for the first time – 10 years after marriage. My husband put up less resistance than I thought when I broached the idea of inviting her during our visit to her family in Chongqing.  Since she was more or less a deadbeat mom, despite the family’s pleas to give her a chance, he didn’t encourage contact with her...

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Taking the Kids to the Great Wall: Badaling

No family visit to Beijing, or China for that matter, is complete without a visit to the Great Wall. There are many options as to what part of the Great Wall you can visit, depending on whether you prefer rougher terrain, steeper climbs and more run down but quieter areas. However, if taking children to the Great Wall, one of the more touristy spots will be more convenient. We took our children, aged 7 and 3, with a 6 year old friend, to the popular Badaling. The Badaling section of the Great Wall has some steep parts, more challenging...

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Teaching Kids about Medicinal Plants in Beijing

China is a great place to learn about traditional or alternative medicines. If you just want to give the kids a beginning introduction, there are a couple medicinal plant gardens you can even bring the kids to in Beijing. In the northwest, next to Baiwang Mountain, also worth a visit, is the public medicinal plant garden. Go in late spring after planting is done, and you might have to bring a Latin or Chinese dictionary to figure out which plant is which. I wasn’t that prepared when I took my 7-year-old twins, but took pictures of different plants to...

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Get Starry-Eyed at Beijing’s Planetarium

If you’re in Beijing with the family, beef up your astronomical knowledge and interest at the Beijing Planetarium. It’s right across from the Beijing Zoo and Aquarium and can provide some fun indoor activities, including movies.Make your way first to the ticket counter outside across from the entrance near the subway. If you only have time to visit the exhibits a 10 yuan ticket will get you inside. But there are some 3D or 4D movies you can buy tickets to that will also get you inside. Consider the actual planetarium show to learn about the hemispheres and constellations....

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Find Bargains at Beijing’s Zoo Market

Beijing has many local markets with great kids items that are fun to browse and bargain at during your family visit to Beijing. One popular Beijing market is the Zoo Market. The Zoo Market is practically behind the Planetarium and across, surprisingly, from the Beijing Zoo. From the Beijing Zoo exit D, walk alongside the Planetarium and follow the crowds into the building behind the bus station. Or take a bus to the Beijing Zoo stop. Once you get inside the Zoo Market, there are floors and rows of goodies. Men’s clothes, women’s clothes, kids’ clothes, toys, office supplies, shoes of all sizes. I know...

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Travel With the Family on Public Transport in Beijing

When visiting China with your family, and Beijing in particular, public transportation can be the best way to get around. And it can be much faster and much cheaper than taxis or hiring a driver. The Beijing Subway is continually growing and stretching farther and farther out of the city. This of course means it is even more crowded than when it was smaller, but the vast distance can be covered for a mere 2 RMB (30 cents) per person. Free under 1.2 meters. It is also fast and dependable no matter what time of day. Rush hour is...

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The Upside of Life and Travel in China with Kids

Three years living in Beijing, China with three young kids has been educational, entertaining and exasperating. It’s taught me a lot, including patience and learning to look on the bright side. We’re excited to be leaving to spend some time in the US, but now I want to reflect on our experiences and the good that we enjoy here but won’t in the US. 1)      Good public transport and cheap taxis: Sure, traffic is a huge headache in Beijing and safety is an issue but the bus and subway systems are very well developed and with some research in...

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