Best School Trips in Beijing China 2022
Having run about 2000 kids worth of school trips within Beijing we can tell you one thing: running school trips in Beijing is not the worst and being stuck in Beijing ‘city’, though frustrating, is not as bad as the claustrophobia can make it seem. Why is that? Because Beijing is this big:
That’s bigger than Qatar, bigger than Lebanon, even bigger than the Bahamas put together. There are mountains, rivers, and almost 300 separate villages. There are a whopping 20 nature reserves which cover almost a full 10 percent of the municipality. Prior to covid, school trips to Beijing from other provinces, from the US, from the UK, involved: a visit to the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, the 798 art district, maybe the Pearl Market plus a meal of Peking duck at some point during the week. This was the standard school trips to Beijing. Domestic schools, bilingual and international schools alike, made their annual or bi-annual school trips to Bejing, China’s most far flung and adventure-riddled locations like Yunnan, Guizhou, Tibet… Though thankfully, we’re still visiting those places virtually,
we miss them dearly.
However, because WildChina has 7 different offices all over China: Huizhou (Guangdong), Shanghai, Beijing, Chengdu (Sichuan), Dali (Yunnan), Songyang (Zhejiang), Xian (Shaanxi), and our Terratribes outdoor base out in Yangshuo (Guangxi) – we have been gathering, compiling, and building up all of our inside information about how to go local. Today, we’d like to share some (not all!) of our favorite locations for our school trips to Beijing. One of our colleagues posted something similar over on her Linkedin, you can find the link here.
4 School Trips to Beijing (Or Within The Area)
This is one of our go tos where you can actually do a hike off of the beaten path. The site of our annual wilderness survival summer camps, we’ve taken students kayaking, hiking, camping etc… It’s far enough to feel like you’re going away without it being too far for a day trip. In fact, this has been where we’ve been doing most of our outdoor education day trips in Beijing!
2. Gubei Water Town
Though at this point we believe that we have perfected school trips to the Forbidden City or the Hutongs, we recognize that these city tours don’t make up for the thirst for an ‘away’ cultural excursion. (Side note, instead of the Forbidden City why not take your kids to the Niujie mosque? It’s a chance to have interesting conversations about religions and diversity etc…
Gubei Water Town is a classical water town that you’ve probably been to over the weekend to enjoy but never felt the need to explore in depth. For those of us who have been in China for a while – tourist sites, especially water towns, can begin to feel like a rinse-and-repeat affair. But that’s why we feel like it is especially important to visit them via a tailored experience because we take the time to ensure that the visit delivers in-depth learning beyond the tourist store fronts. It’s close to the great wall (the Simatai portion), you can do a nice great wall hike there. However, the real highlight is that with us at WildChina we can get your kids exclusive access to the Wall at night for a little special wow moment. It’s perfect for an end of school year celebration if you still can’t leave the province.
Aka where all the outdoor activity sites have been established because it’s beautiful, accessible, and has the infrastructure to support a school trip in Beijing. If you divided Beijing into a pizza of where you could run school trips, this would be the most popular piece of the pie.
There’s tons of great lakes, rivers, streams, rock climbing, via ferrata kayaking etc… If you’re looking for an amazing Duke of Edinburgh hike though we recommend going west! Yes, West. It’s better for the silver award as you can go days without seeing anyone.
4. Small Random Villages
Finally, as we mentioned at the beginning of the article – school trips to Beijing municipality is larger than the country of Qatar. There is so much to Beijing beyond the city center. There are over 200 tiny little villages that provide rustic charm, and the real chance to connect with many different communities.
Keep in mind, however, that these villages are not developed for tourism. There is no Brickyard Hotel that has integrated their local charms into a sleek boutique offering (we love the Brickyard Hotel for our teacher getaways, of course) so what you see at these villages is largely what you get.
These villages are lacking of young people. Most, if not all, of the young people have relocated to the city proper for work. In fact, when we were there last semester with our school groups, our teenagers were the only teenagers in the entire village during the entire Beijing service learning week! As much as we are charmed by their villages, the elders at the villages are charmed by our youthful, helpful energy as we put on shows, cook food, and help build community centers for them to enjoy.