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VIPKid China Field Trip

Extra Budget Items for VIPKid Field Trip

While the tour price of the VIPKid is actually quite reasonable, it is only a portion of the budget you need for this trip.  First, you must book your own flights.  Also, my son and I added a few days in Shanghai as well as a quick jaunt to Hong Kong so that I could work on my bucket list of seeing all the Disneylands in the world.  But here is a rundown of some of the “extra” budget items you may have.

Evening shows –  We did two different evening shows which cost 380 and 580 CNY so plan on about another $150 if you plan on seeing the shows.  (Of course, we had to have popcorn at one!)

Evening meals – You have many options for evening meals.  We were able to find a great restaurant just down the street that both my son and I could eat for under $10.  However, there were other places that were not as economical.  I would budget at least $20 per person per meal for each evening.  Add more if you plan to hit the nightlife and do a little drinking.  If you are going farther from the hotel, you may need to add in some transportation costs.

Dino Swag – We were offered quite a bit of Dino swag that is not available in the store at one of the meetups.  I spent quite a bit more than I had originally planned, but hey, it’s Dino!

Souvenirs – You will want to buy some souvenirs.  You may need to add an extra suitcase if you go too crazy.  This part of your budget will vary quite a bit.  There are so many opportunities to buy some very unique items.  You will want to plan on taking enough so that you don’t regret not buying that special item.

Bullet Train Upgrade:  I believe it was an extra $55 to upgrade to first class on the bullet train.  I will say, I really enjoyed the nice, big, comfortable seats.

Free day – This was a place that I spent a bit more than expected since we spent our free day at Shanghai Disneyland.  The tickets to Disneyland are quite reasonable, about $60 a day and the metro tickets were VERY cheap, less than $2 round trip.  Also, consider the meals and souvenirs at Disney are not as cheap as eating outside the park, but there are few options nearby.  We had a great meal inside the park, but it was more than we had paid for any single meal.  Obviously, you can choose a much less expensive option for your free day, but what can I say, I’m a Disney Nut!

Bund River Night Cruise –  You can pay for an upgrade on the Night Cruise that will get you a little snack, a drink (beer or juice) and a nice seat on the upper floor.  (I’m sorry I can’t remember the price, but it was actually not very expensive.  I know it was less than $20 each.

Massage – We also had a chance to get a massage done in our room for 200 CNY ($28) for 90 minutes.  I will say it was absolutely amazing!  This price included the tip and it sure helped the sore muscles from walking so much.

I will say that I had planned on spending $500 extra on the trip, and that went very quickly.  I would have liked to have a bit more for souvenirs (I really wanted a nice piece of jade, but that was definitely out of my budget), but I still was able to bring some many things that I really wanted.  We did end up buying an extra suitcase mostly because my son really wanted it (Avengers suitcase from Disneyland) not because we necessarily needed it.  Just be prepared that you do have more expenses than just the tour package.

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Teaching at VIPKid VIPKid China Field Trip

Should I use WeChat?

WeChat is an app available for your phone that is more or less a Chinese government allowed combination of Facebook, Facebook Messenger, YouTube, Instagram, and Whatsapp all rolled up in one.  You can message people as well as call or video chat with them. This is the one service that we found words very well while traveling in China.

If you are planning on going on the VIPKid Field Trip to China, you will be highly encouraged to get on WeChat.   Our tour guide would use it to find us if we got lost and post updates on meeting times and places.  It was very important that at least one person in every room had a working WeChat account.

That being said, there are some issues with WeChat.  It often decides that you are an unauthorized user and you have to get someone to scan in your QR code and verify you.  The problem is that it can’t be just anyone.  They have to have had their account for more than 6 months and they can only help one person per six month period.  My first account was blocked and I was never able to get back in.  I had to “borrow” a phone number from a friend in order to open a new account.  (This person will never have a need to use WeChat).  I’m not sure why it worked the second time, but I have a good theory.  The first time, I downloaded the app and opened an account, but didn’t do anything more.  The second time, I did the same, but set up my profile, added a few friends, and had a short chat with one of them.  I highly suspect that WeChat freezes any account that doesn’t complete the profile or add users.  So set up your account when you have enough time to add a couple of friends and add a profile picture.  (I can’t guarantee that this will work, but that is my guess why my first account got frozen).

Also, you need to start arranging with your students in order to meet them.  We had a very small window between when we found out about the trip and the actual trip, that I was only able to arrange one meetup.  I suggest even if you aren’t planning a trip, start adding your students’ parents to WeChat.  It’s fun to get to know their personal lives a bit more and they will appreciate learning more about you.  I struggled a bit with this as many of my students are lower levels and we had a hard time understanding each other.  However, holding up your QR code and saying WeChat usually does the trick.  I also add my WeChat name in feedback (although I haven’t had any additions from doing this yet).  I highly recommend adding a nickname to the WeChat as the request comes through so you can match the student with the parent (and most of my names have come through in Chinese characters).

WeChat is not like Facebook in the fact that you can go back and look at posts from years ago.  The “moments” only last a few days.  I usually get on WeChat a couple of times a week to check up new moments and I usually only post about once a week.  I don’t have a huge following.  I have a few students’ families and some of the new friends I met on the trip (although we tend to use Facebook more now that we are home and away from the Great Firewall).

Some teachers choose not to use WeChat.  I was on that side of the debate until I traveled to China.  Since then, it has helped me develop more of a relationship with the few students moms who have added me.  I love seeing pictures of my students on their trips and doing things with their families, and they always “like” the pictures that I post as well.  As always, keep your WeChat super professional and don’t post anything that would be against the Chinese government’s policies so you don’t cause any issues to your students.  Also, keep your professional standards when talking with parents and always be respectful of your work with VIPKid.  This is not the place to air your dirty laundry.

I still don’t think of WeChat as essential for my teaching.  Nevertheless, it was essential on the trip.  I do feel that it has helped develop a deeper relationship with the families that I am connected with.

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VIPKid China Field Trip

Traveling in a Group

The VIPKid Field Trip was basically a group tour with some VIPKid activities mixed in.  The travel agency we used was great and our tour guide was amazing.  However, if you have never traveled in a group tour setting, there are some things that you may need to consider.  I do recommend that the first time you travel to an unfamiliar place, a group tour is a great way to go as you know a bit more what to expect and your tour guide can assist you if you have any issues.  This is especially important if you are traveling somewhere that you do not speak the language.  After you are a bit more familiar with the area, you might feel more confident to take a trip by yourself.  When I visit China again, I will more than likely not do another group trip.  I got a taste of how things work in China and I feel that I could make my own arrangements next time.

When you are on a group trip, it almost has the feeling of a school field trip.  You are more or less expected to stay together.  While it is perfectly acceptable for you to make other arrangements or skip a particular activity, that is your own choice and you will be on your own for that.  (Our tour guide would help us figure things out even beyond our tour, but that is not always the case.)  There will be people who walk faster or slower than others.  There will be people that are louder or quieter than others.  Basically, you will be getting very familiar with your group because you will be in tight quarters on the bus and in some of the venues.  Obviously, there are personalities that you will enjoy being with, and others that you would rather avoid.

Breakfast was served buffet-style at the hotels.  Lunch (on this particular trip) was always served family-style at several round tables with a huge lazy susan.  We did not order our particular meals, rather a variety of dishes were brought out and we could each serve ourselves a portion.  If you have particular dietary restrictions, this seemed to be quite a bit of a problem.  The restaurants cater mostly to the group, not to individual preferences and due to the language issues, it was sometimes hard to get extra service when needed.  (Also, they almost always ran out of forks.  So, be ready to use chopsticks!).

In a group setting, we were occasionally given a bit of free exploration time.  Almost every time that happened, someone in the group ended up being late to our meeting point.  This of course made the rest of the group have to wait until all members are accounted for.  Also, be prepared to line up two-by-two and be counted about 25 times a day (I will say it helped me learn some of the Chinese numbers a little better hearing our tour guide count over and over again).  There is a certain challenge to seeing the beautiful sights you are visiting while keeping up with the group.

The final issue is that after several days of strenuous walking, many of us were not as pleasant as we could have been.  I know that I was pretty cranky on a couple of the days when I didn’t think I could possibly walk another step.  However, I try not to let my exhaustion wear off on anyone else, but there will inevitably be some people in the group who are not as pleasant.  This can cause some unnecessary tension.  This group was especially challenging as most of us did not know each other at all before the trip and we are all independent contractors who work from home, so we all have our own particular ways of doing things.  This just means that we are usually all accustomed to doing things in our own way and not necessarily conforming to a group.  (Honestly, this brought back nightmares of some of my elementary school field trips!)

With all of these things taken into consideration, I will also say that I highly value the friendships I made on this trip!  I met some amazing people who share the same passion as I do (and the crazy, early morning work schedule).  While we may not be in contact often, I consider them now my friends and hope that our paths cross again soon.  So, traveling in a group definitely has benefits that outweigh the challenges.

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VIPKid China Field Trip

The Realities of Jet Lag

I had always heard of jet lag and had experienced it when I traveled to Europe, but the jet lag I experienced on this trip to China was extreme.  I’m not sure if this had to do with my age, the shorter travel stay while I was away, or the different direction I was flying, but I experienced extreme jet lag after this trip.  I spent two days pretty much only sleeping and waking up to eat and use the restroom, but it took almost 3 weeks for me to get back to a more or less normal feeling.

The jet lag when we got to China did not seem as bad.  This may have been in part due to the excitement of seeing such new and interesting places.  I do highly recommend that you sleep as much as possible on the plane (I even took melatonin to make sure I slept) so that you can get on the Chinese schedule as quickly as possible.  We did, however, experience waking up wide awake at crazy hours and difficulty going back to sleep.  To combat this, we continued using melatonin for a few days and even if we couldn’t sleep, we did not get up and do anything.  This got better after the first three or four days (probably due to the fact that we were walking so much and we exhausted).

I have read some tips to help with jet lag.  First, make sure you are well hydrated both on the plane and as soon as you arrive at your destination.  This may have been part of my problem.  I took advantage of the free wine offered on the flight, and that, of course, can make your body not be well hydrated.  I did try to stay up a bit longer on the flight home so that I would be closer to the US schedule when we landed, but I was not very successful.  Thankfully, we had a couple of days of recuperation after the trip before we were expected to return to our “normal” routine.   If you are a VIPKid teacher, give yourself a few days of rest before you open your schedule.  If you are wide awake and can’t sleep, you can always open up some short notice classes.

Just be aware that you will experience jet lag to some degree.  Be prepared and take care of yourself.  Give yourself the time you need to recuperate so that you aren’t miserable.

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Chinese Culture VIPKid China Field Trip

Extreme Bargaining in China

Bargaining in China is an expected part of your shopping experience.  While I have visited other cultures, they did not seem as extreme as what I experienced in China.  So be prepared for a very unique experience.  We had a few minutes at the famous Pearl Market in Beijing to do some shopping.  There were many stores offering “high-quality reproduction” handbags and sneakers.  I was not really interested in shopping much as I was on a very tight budget, but I did watch some of our fellow travelers make deals.

We did see some building block sets (think Lego) that were very interesting.  There were sets that haven’t been made by Lego and not in their licensing.  There was one particular set that caught my son’s eye.  It was a book built of Lego and when you opened it, there were probably 40 or so Iron Man minifigures.  My son really likes to collect minifigs and customize them so this was right up his alley even if they weren’t legit Lego.  We had a quick discussion and decided that they weren’t in the budget and we didn’t have enough room in our luggage to get it home (besides the questionable quality of building blocks that aren’t actually Lego).  Just for the fun of it though, I asked the price to see how it compared to a Lego set at home.  I don’t remember the exact price, but it was about 1900 CNY (about $275 US dollars).  I really was just curious and did not want to haggle as we were not trying to carry this thing around all day.  I thought I’d throw the salesperson off and told her we were only able to spend 200 CNY….so no, thank you.  She lowered the price to 1000, then 800, then just for us she would do 500.  I kept trying to be polite and tell her we weren’t interested, then she said she’d give it to us for 250.  As we were walking away, I heard her say 150 (about $22 USD).  I don’t know the exact exchange rates for all those numbers, but that was a HUGE drop in price.  I don’t think the ladies with the purses were that extreme, but it gave me a new strategy for bargaining.  I throw out the lowest low-ball offer possible and see where they land.  As an online seller, this just goes against my morals, but I found that it was near impossible to find a reasonable price otherwise.

Some of our friends purchased other items.  I saw them literally being dragged across the aisle to a different stand.  And if you let them put a hand on your arm to direct you, watch out!  They would not let go.  In general, the store attendants will pull out a calculator and show you a price and often calculate the US dollar conversion.  These calculations rarely were the same as my conversion app on my phone.   Of course, they always let you know that you can use your credit card.  One friend was giving advice to another and the lady thought she was convincing her to not buy the handbag, so she shooed the first friend out of the area.  Of course, when we all got on the bus and compared prices some of us had gotten great deals while others were taken advantage of.  I generally keep my head down and walk quickly in these kinds of shopping malls, but that doesn’t work in China.  The salespeople would still approach very aggressively.  While I did buy a few souvenir items from a quieter salesperson, I felt like it was a battle to leave the store.  My son and I gave up quickly and went to sit out on the front steps while our group reassembled.  This kind of shopping is not for me!

Some stores are not into bargaining.  Typically, they have the prices clearly marked on the shelves or on the products themselves.  If you see price tags, then it is probably safe to say that the store does not typically haggle over their prices.  You might still ask for a slight discount at the register (especially if you buy a number of items), but generally, the price is what is marked.  I much prefer these stores.

This being said, the tour arranged with the VIPKid Field Trip is not really a tour that accommodates shopping.  There were a few occasions that we were given a certain amount of free time and we could find shopping opportunities if we wanted.  Many of the travelers arranged shopping time in the evenings on their own.

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Chinese Culture VIPKid China Field Trip

Tipping in China

For the most part, gratuity is not accepted in China.  Our tour guide explained to us that she had seen Americans leave a tip at the lunch table, and the waiter chased them down the street to give back their money.  It is not culturally acceptable to give a tip for service.  If you had amazing service, you might tell your server that you would like to give him or her something extra, but don’t be surprised if they refuse it.  During our trip, we arranged a massage.  The price of the massage had already included a generous tip.  I also noticed that when taking taxis, the drivers did not give me back the correct change.  Therefore, I just took that “mistake” as their tip.  I did not have the language skills to make sure I got the correct change, and it was usually an amount that I would have considered a good tip.

If you are going on one of the VIPKid Field Trips, you will have a tip that you will need to budget for the tour guides and the bus driver.  You will get information about this before you leave.  (Ours was about 450 CNY  which is around $65 US.)  We had one person that was chosen to collect all the tips from the travelers and divide them out to the tour guides and the drivers.  Just be prepared as this is an “extra” budget item you will need.

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VIPKid China Field Trip

What to Pack for your China trip in Winter

The biggest variable for what to pack is your clothing.  First of all, that is a broad statement.  It is the same as saying “what should I pack to visit America in winter”.  There are many more variables that you must take into consideration.  Our trip visited Beijing, Shanghai, and my son and I took a side trip to Hong Kong.  The average temperatures in each of these cities are quite different.  Beijing was pretty cold, Shanghai was not quite as cold, and Hong Kong was downright tropical.

Suggestion #1:  Look up the average temperatures for the cities you are visiting beforehand to get an idea.  Then check out the 10 day forecast before you leave.  I always say, prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

Suggestion #2:  Dress in layers!  Most days I had at least three different layers that I could take off as the day warmed up.  We carried a backpack most days so we had a place to store shrugged layers or carry extras such as scarves, hats, and gloves.

I packed the following clothing items:   hat, gloves, scarf, heavy coat, sweatshirt, thermal underwear, extra socks, and my “regular” clothing items based on the number of days and the projected weather.  I did not find an easy way to get my laundry done between our packed schedule and the language barrier.  I did plan on my jeans getting at least two uses each.

Medicine:  Since I was packing for both my son and myself, I had a larger than usual amount of medicine.  When I travel in the US or Mexico, I typically don’t pack more than what I need on a daily basis because a pharmacy is on every street corner (I speak Spanish so the pharmacies in Mexico are equally accessible for me).  Since I do NOT know Chinese, I pack a bit more than I normally would.  I had medicine for headaches, stomach aches, sinus issues, throat lozenges, and diarrhea.  I do suggest using a probiotic (even if this isn’t in your normal routine).  It seems to help your food digest better especially when you are in such a different culture.  The food in China is typically less processed and fresh.  I had absolutely no issues with the food aside from eating too much!  I also suggest melatonin to help you sleep.   I took melatonin on the plane to China so I could get a sleep cycle in before we arrived.  I also took one every night the first week of the trip because my body had a bit of trouble adjusting.  (I had no trouble falling asleep as I was exhausted, but I would wake up just a couple of hours later).  I will say that I used a gummy supplement that included melatonin and elderberry for immunity.  I am very happy with this and have added it to my daily routine.  Pollution may cause sinus issues.  I typically take an allergy pill, so I kept up that routine in China.  My son took some of the allergy medicine as well as he was having a bit of trouble with the changes in the atmosphere.

Pollution Masks:  I don’t suggest packing these unless you already have them.  Pollution was not a big issue for most of the days on the trip.  There were a couple of days that you could notice the difference in the air quality, but I didn’t feel like I needed a mask.  Also, if you get there and you feel like you need a mask, they are found everywhere (even in vending machines) and are quite cheap.

Battery Chargers:  You will be taking a lot of pictures.  My phone died several days because I had it on taking pictures so much.  I highly recommend taking one of the portable power sources that fit in your pocket so you can recharge.  Sometimes, there are outlets on the bus or at the lunch locations, but you can’t count on that.  You don’t want to miss taking pictures because of a dead battery.  You may want an adaptor, but most of my devices connected with USB and there were USB chargers in most of the hotel rooms.  If you need a “regular” plugin, you may need an adaptor.

Toilet Paper:  Toilet paper is not always readily available in China.  We carried our own.  I will admit that I took a roll from our hotel room because I had not planned this out very well, but the toilet paper rolls in China are not the quality I like to buy here in America.  I would have rather had a roll of my Charmin.  Side note:  rather than pack kleenex as well, we just repurposed the toilet paper so there was less to carry.

Snacks:  If you are a picky eater or have special dietary needs, you may want to pack some portable snacks.  If you don’t know how to use chopsticks (and aren’t willing to learn), you may want some eating utensils.  The restaurants often did not have enough “western utensils” for our large group.

Shoes:  You will be walking a LOT.  Make sure you have shoes with good support.  I packed several pairs of shoes so that I could switch them out as I am prone to problems with my feet.

Passport with visa:  Obviously you need your passport with a Chinese visa.  You will need to have it with you most of the time.  Some attractions require your visa for entrance.

Money:  I will have a separate article about money in China.  It is a good idea to have at least a small amount of Chinese currency on you at all times while you travel in China.  There are places you can exchange money or use an ATM, but most foreign travelers will pay with credit card or Chinese currency when traveling in China.

Finally, I recommend taking a backpack with you on the daily outings.  Make sure it is manageable, but carry some extra essentials.  We had these things in our backpack most days:  toilet paper, antibacterial wipes, ibuprofen, tums, multiple portable battery packs, USB cord, small amount of cash, gloves, and some crackers.  I also carried a smaller purse with our passports, cash, and my credit card, room key, battery pack and USB cord, and other small incidentals.  If you are traveling solo, you might put your wallet in the backpack to conserve space.  We used a backpack and a purse so that neither of us would be without our essentials.  Remember you will be walking a LOT, so you don’t want to carry a heavy backpack.

I hope this helps give you ideas on what to pack.  Feel free to comment or contact me if you have any other questions.

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VIPKid China Field Trip

Help Getting your Chinese Visa

In order to travel to China, you must have a Chinese visa.  There are several companies that help you with this process.  Typically, I am comfortable with doing my own paperwork, but we had a slight problem.  In order to get your visa for China, you must have at least 3 months left on your passport.  When we started to do the paperwork, we discovered that my son’s passport was actually expired!  This was the first time I had used an agency to expedite a passport application, but as soon as we received his passport, we immediately sent for his visa.

We used the VisaHQ service.  It was quick and easy to fill out.  Just remember if you are working for VIPKid,  you are not an employee.  You are an independent contractor.  They sent updates at every step along the way, and we got our visas very quickly (we did pay a bit extra to get them expedited, but at this point I was getting very nervous).  I did make a mistake when I was filling out our paperwork which resulted in a double charge, but they corrected it within a few hours (it may have been sooner, but I did not check until a few hours had passed).

I know that some people on our trip lived close enough to the places that handle the visas and they were able to do their own paperwork.  And while we are relatively close to Houston (about a 5 hour drive), I was not able to make the trip twice to drop off the paperwork and pick up the visas at this busy time of year.  It was much more economical and less stressful to pay VisaHQ to handle the paperwork for me.   I know there are other options available, but VisaHQ seemed the best fit for us.

Please let me know if you have any other questions.  If you would like to read more about our trip, click here to go to the Introduction.

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VIPKid China Field Trip

VIPKid Field Trip to China – Introduction

On September 17, the Weekly Teacher Update included a little blurb about a Field Trip to China scheduled for November 13-21.  At first, I didn’t really give it much thought because traveling to China seemed impossible.  I’m not sure exactly why I looked at the information further, but it sounded like fun (and was a very good price).  I debated most of the day and decided that I’d put my name in and see if I was chosen (they had a certain number of people that could go on this particular trip).  I talked to my son (who is 20 years old) and asked if he would be interested in going with me, but I told him that I really didn’t think we’d be chosen.  He agreed to accompany me if I was selected to participate.

Please note:  VIPKid actually offers a few different kinds of field trips.  There is one field trip that is expenses paid that you may win a spot for meeting certain criteria.  This particular field trip that I participated in was self-paid, although the tour was offered at a very discounted rate and included some special VIPKid activities. 

A few days later, I was actually visiting a friend in Las Vegas when I got the news.  I was going to China!  I had to pay a part of the tour within 48 hours (this was the difficult part of the trip, the preparation timeline was very short).  I figured out how to make the payment for my son and me and soon we were completely signed up to go to China.  I even added on a couple of extra days in Shanghai to visit Disneyland and a short visit to Hong Kong Disneyland.

One thing that is important is that China requires a visa for American travelers.  It takes a bit of paperwork (some back and forth with the travel agency) and either two trips to Houston (in my case) or paying a service to handle your visa application.  When it came time to get the visa, I asked my son if his passport had at least 3 months left.  His reply was, “sure, it expires in January 2019”.  My heart dropped!  Not only did he not have the required 3 months left in his passport, but his passport was also EXPIRED!  This meant we had to send off an expedited passport application, and I had to wait to send off our visa paperwork together, so that had to be expedited as well.  (You can read more about that here.) Thankfully, it all went very smoothly and we were able to get our paperwork in order with time to spare.  The Chinese visa is good for 10 years, so we won’t have to go through this again if we decide to visit China again within the next decade.

I had never really thought I’d travel to China, so there were many things I felt like I needed to research.  I’m pretty much a minimalist in packing, but since this was a totally foreign country where I do not speak the language, I felt I should be a bit more prepared in case of an emergency.  Looking back, I overpacked, but I was prepared for any kind of illness with medicine for all kinds of situations.  Thankfully, we didn’t need hardly any of the medicine, but I’m glad I had it on hand just in case.  I also have had serious issues with plantar fasciitis.  I packed four different pairs of shoes so that I could switch them out.  (This trip includes some serious walking. We walked several miles every day.  Every night, I was exhausted when I got to the room, but thankfully, the plantar fasciitis did not cause any additional issues!)

We had really a short time frame to get our tour paid for, the airfare booked, and all the arrangements for the visa.  It was a bit of a rush and more than a bit stressful.  I believe the field trips are being planned out with more advance notice, so that will be a great thing for those traveling.  I would have liked to have more time to get my WeChat working (I kept getting locked out) and connected with more of my students.  This is my biggest regret of the trip.  I was not able to connect with very many of my students and only was able to meet one of my precious bao baos.

I will be writing a series of posts about the trip.  First to show the beautiful places we saw, and tips for you if you decide to make this trip.  I hope this is helpful and please make sure to comment with any questions you might have.

Introduction to VIPKid Field Trip (November 2019)

Arrival in Beijing

Day One – Beijing – The Great Wall and the Golden Mask Dynasty

Day Two – Beijing (Summer Palace, VIPKid Headquarters, The Legend of Kung Fu)

Day Three – Beijing (Temple of Heaven, Tea Ceremony, Pearl Market, Peking Duck)

Day Four – Beijing (Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Hutong, Olympic Park)

Day Five – Bullet Train from Beijing to Shanghai

Day Six – Shanghai (Disneyland and VIPKid Meetup)

Day Seven – Shanghai (Bund, Yu Garden Shopping, Zhujiajiao River City)

Day Eight – On our own in Shanghai

Other Articles of Interest:

Help Getting Your Chinese Visa