We're frequently asked how kid friendly Beijing is. Yes, it's a bustling city and traffic can be hectic, but it's widely acknowledged to be a safe city. Crime is low and very rarely directed at foreigners. Children roam freely within their gated communities. Schools offer a plethora of extra-curricular activities. Sports Beijing, an expatriate community organisation, also offer activities, from chess to golf to ice-hockey. It's best to register early to avoid disappointments. There aren't many parks in the city, but Chaoyang Park, the Temple of Heaven and the Summer Palace are huge, the latter two are ancient. The surrounding mountains, an hour's drive from the city, offer vast areas to roam.

Children, especially toddlers, are doted upon. Having a stranger pat your child's head or pinch his cheek may seem like an intrusion of his space, but it's the cultural norm here. Yes, it takes time to adjust, but like many of their expatriate peers, most kids quickly adapt.

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