Quality Family Relaxation at JW Marriott Hong Kong


Quality Family Relaxation at JW Marriott Hong Kong pin

When visiting China, families might want to explore Hong Kong, since it is such a unique destination. When we visited the island, we opted to stay at the luxurious JW Marriott Hong Kong because of its quiet location and proximity to public transportation.


What Makes it Family Worthy?

The JW Marriott in Hong Kong is located in an upscale high-rise building at  One Pacific Place, 88 Queensway. This hotel has 602 rooms, including connecting rooms, and is situated just above the Admiralty subway station.

Teenagers traveling with their families would enjoy the freedom of hanging out in the posh mall on the lower levels, while their parents would be relieved that their children don’t even have to leave the premises to do so.
Furthermore, with its proximity to the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center as well as the Hong Kong Park this hotel caters to both business travelers and families.

Quality Family Relaxation at JW Marriott Hong Kong sky

Hotel Decor

The Marriott Hong Kong boasted mostly neutral and dark colored furnishings, with splashes of color strategically placed throughout the lobby. Many of the public areas featured elegant and elaborate Chinese themed decorations like silk paintings and jade carvings as well as area rugs and koi fish in bowls. And of course, the open hotel design gave guests every opportunity it could to show off the fantastic views of the surrounding area.

Quality Family Relaxation at JW Marriott Hong Kong dishes

Our Welcome

As we normally do, we did call the hotel ahead of time to ask for a feather free quiet room. Upon our arrival after a very long haul flight, the staff surprised us by not only having the room ready early in the morning but by sending a welcome gift of sticky buns to our room for us to enjoy.
Quality Family Relaxation at JW Marriott Hong Kong bed

Our Room

We were assigned a top floor corner room with large 180-degree windows from which we could see the city skyline.
Our room had two comfortable double beds which felt more like American queen sized beds with some white sheets and two fluffy pillows each. Situated between the two beds was a nightstand with a wall lamp and phone. A  sitting area, work desk as well as a safe and mini fridge completed the furnishings.

What we loved about the hotel was in in-room technology that included gadgets which were some of the more elaborate ones we’ve seen in recent years. Not only did we see plenty of outlets to charge our electronics, but the room came with remote controlled window shades, and a doorbell with a do-not-disturb button, which came in handy for communicating with the staff. Our son was so fascinated with the bamboo scroll that displayed the TV channels that he asked the staff if he could take one home.

Family Stay at the Manhattan Beach Marriott chair

Our Bathroom

Our luxurious bathroom, tiled in tan colored marble, had a separate shower with a glass enclosure and tub sectioned off from the toilet area, leading to overall greater privacy. Furthermore, it was well- stocked with an array of toiletries, such as nail files, Band-Aids, and bath salts along with the usual shampoos and soaps.

Quality Family Relaxation at JW Marriott Hong Kong pork leg


The Marriott had a helpful concierge service and a tour desk that could assist travelers in arranging various activities in Hong Kong.
The property featured was a spa, an outdoor pool, and a state-of-the-art gym for guests to use. The provided Wi-Fi was free, fast and quite reliable.

Executive Lounge

This hotel had one of the best executive level lounges we’ve ever seen in the course of our travels. The tri-level venue had an extensive selection of reading the material available for travelers, and the gorgeous city views provided the perfect complement to dining.
Not only was the service outstanding, but a plethora of well-prepared dishes were served at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Quality Family Relaxation at JW Marriott Hong Kong hall

For breakfast, we found food stations with stacked with salads, baked goods, cheese, and waffles. There were also cereals, yogurts, eggs, and smoked meats as well chicken porridge, fried noodles, and barbecue pork buns.
For Happy Hour, the various dishes and appetizers along with the drinks were so filling that we usually skipped going out for any additional meals.
We loved the fact that guests could choose from the two available seating areas, with the upper deck somewhat quieter than the lower level.

The Marriott Hong Kong lavish Sunday Brunch

We did get to enjoy the pricey hotel brunch while we stayed, and it was superb.
The brunch boasted a dedicated sushi station. Next to this station, we saw other seafood such as crab, lobster, tiger shrimp, and caviar.
There was a carving station with a ham under a heat lamp and sauces. Near this station was a salmon section with three types of salmon, lox, and trimmings.
We enjoyed the egg station with hardboiled eggs and Eggs Benedict. This station had a make your omelet section where guests could put caviar or ham in their eggs.
Travelers could make their salads with different toppings and dressings, or choose a pre-made salad such as potato or pasta.

Quality Family Relaxation at JW Marriott Hong Kong shrimp

Also, the buffet offered round, beehive shaped containers that held pork dumplings and buns and Peking duck with toppings like cucumber and onions. Near this area was a Foie Gras table where travelers could watch the chefs prepare the delicacy.
Other food items at this buffet included baked scallops, vegetarian soup, Indian curry, baked cheese Boston lobster, and lamb chops.
Topping this elaborate food fest was the dessert table with plenty of danishes, chocolates, beautiful cakes, and baked flan.
For drinks, patrons could pick from watermelon, mango, grapefruit, orange, guava, and strawberry juices or opt for wines and champagne.


Tasty meals could be had at the many onsite eateries.
The Fish Bar served up fresh, delicious seafood at reasonable prices while the Flint Grill & Bar offered steak and seafood. Authentic Cantonese dishes were on the menu at the Man Ho Restaurant.

Quality Family Relaxation at JW Marriott Hong Kong juice

The hotel had three bar areas which provided guests with a variety of drinks from which to choose. Coffee lovers might instead want to check out Dolce 88, which served delicious cups of many different coffees.


By far, this hotel had the best service we have experienced.
Every time that we picked up the phone to ask anything of housekeeping, the staff would race to our door in five minutes or less. Furthermore, the staff worked diligently to ensure that our son with autism had his needs met and enjoyed his stay.
Quality Family Relaxation at JW Marriott Hong Kong chef



Autism Travel Tips:

  • The bathrooms have tubs with a safety grip on the side, making it easy for disabled persons to enter and exit the bath without slipping.
  • There is a separate shower with a hand-held showerhead, making baths less complicated for those who require assistance.
  • The hotel had built-in nightlights to help navigate the room in the dark.
  • The staff showed great autism awareness and was instrumental in making our son with autism very comfortable during our stay.Quality Family Relaxation at JW Marriott Hong Kong stick



Four Family Friendly Attractions in Guangzhou China

Four Family Friendly Attractions in Guangzhou China pin

Are you taking a trip to China with your family? Are you having trouble deciding where to go that would entertain not only yourself but also your kids? Have no fear dear travelers, for I know of a fantastic destination. This place is full of culture and life. It is rich with history and plenty of activities to do as a family. I have visited this country before but I will admit that I have not visited this particular city and sorely regret missing out on the opportunity. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the wonderful area of Guangzhou China.

Four Family Friendly Attractions in Guangzhou China

Guangzhou, also known as Canton, is the capital of and the largest city in Southern China’s Guangdong province . You can find the capital on the Pearl River, about 75 miles north-northwest of Hong Kong. Guangzhou is a major national transportation hub as well as a trading port. Due to this, you can find almost anything in the capital, and it has caused Guangzhou to be a part of one of the most populous metropolitan agglomerations on Earth. Here are four destinations in Guangzhou to check out when you visit.


The markets in Guangzhou are overflowing with goods and produce of almost anything imaginable. All you need to do is find a street and take a stroll. I can guarantee that you will eventually run into a market where the stalls and stores are lined up along the road. The air will rise in temperature due to the steam off of the vendor’s carts selling local snacks and meals. You will also find vegetables and fruit spilling from crates as passersby stop to examine and pick out a few local items for an on the go treat. Live hens will cluck softly to you as you pass. Be warned that the crowds are an easy target for pickpocketing. Overall the atmosphere is one of excitement and thrills as you stroll along listening to people haggle or gossip.

Four Family Friendly Attractions in Guangzhou China

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Be aware that Chinese markets can provide a sensory overload to the western traveler.
  • If your family member with autism is sensitive to noise, be sure to bring a set of noise canceling headphones.
  • Those sensitive to smells might want to skip this adventure or prepare accordingly.
  • Some sights might not be suitable for little kids since the slaughter of animals and fish is done in the open.
  • Bring plenty of hand sanitizer, if your family member with autism is like mine and touches everything.
  • Although the prices are very cheap, the quality control is different than in the states.
  • Be aware there are NO western bathrooms available so have your family memebers use the  facilities in your hotel.

Guangzhou Zoo

Four Family Friendly Attractions in Guangzhou China panda

For the kids, you can take a stop to the Guangzhou Zoo. The zoo holds around 400 species and has become the leader of zoos in China for breeding animals such as chimpanzees, Asian elephants, and giraffes. The main attraction is the pandas. Children can watch as the pandas roam around and interact with the staff. There are also plenty of fun animal performances that allow kids to interact with different creatures while learning about nature and how to care for animals.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Be aware that the terrain is uneven and there’s quite a bit of walking to do. Closed toe shoes, an umbrella or walking fan is recommended.
  • Be sure to bring a bottle of chilled water from the hotel, as well as snacks.

Chang Long International Circus

Another must for you and your children is the Chang Long International Circus. The circus has performers from all over the world. Adult and child performers will perform in the ring. Audiences see dramatically choreographed music, lights, lasers, and fireworks the circus provides. Don’t be surprised if you see an animal or two flying above your head, as animals are integrated into the routine.It is relatively easy to get to the circus, the best mode of transportation is taking the metro which is incredibly easy to use seeing as how the lines are color coded and clearly labeled. About an hour away from the Guangzhou city center, you take metro line 3 to Hanxi Changlong, and there will be shuttle busses that will take you the rest of the way.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • If your child is noise sensitive, bring headphones and sit close to the exit in case it becomes overwhelming

Four Family Friendly Attractions in Guangzhou China man

Pedestrian Street

Another thing that is a must see is Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Street. This street is in the Liwan District of Guangzhou. It is one of the busiest commercial streets in China and is a large tourist attraction for restaurants and food. If you are hungry, then I suggest heading here to try some local cuisine. There are plenty of places to eat and if you’re not an adventurous type, don’t worry. Shangxiajiu Pedestrian Street holds many places that offer European style food as well.

Four Family Friendly Attractions in Guangzhou China bowl

Even if you are not overly bold, I still encourage you to try some of the more famous traditional food while you’re there, such as dim sum, the dish for which Guangzhou is known. Dim sum is various types of steamed or fried buns filled with ingredients ranging from beef, pork, shrimp or vegetables. Many vendors sell them, and it is traditional to drink tea while eating dim sum. Another dish you should try is roasted suckling pig, a traditional dish typically served at banquets. The technique of roasting and serving this pig goes back over 1400 years ago.

Four Family Friendly Attractions in Guangzhou China food

Guangzhou is an amazing place that you and your family will enjoy. There is so much to do, from taking a night cruise on the Pear River to visiting Yuexiu Park and seeing the famous five goat statue. No matter how long you are there for whether it be for three days or three weeks, Guangzhou will consistently provide you with new and wonderful things to do every day.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • A lot of the stores have a mini workshop in the back of the store in which artisans show how they paint glass and porcelain. Be sure to stop by one of these places.
  • The streets are very crowded, so make sure that you prepare your kid for staying in close proximity to you at all times.
  • This is the best place to buy souviners. Some haggling is in order.

10 Family Friendly Hong Kong Activities

Hong Kong is a diverse city with many things to do for the entire family. When planning a trip, it can be difficult to narrow down your itinerary while still getting the most out of the visit. If you’re planning on visiting Hong Kong with children, here’s a list of family-friendly Hong Kong Activities.

1. Attend the Symphony of Lights

10 Child Friendly Hong Kong Activities

Every night at 8 pm, a short light and music show takes place in the harbor area. You can even see fireworks on special occasions such as Chinese New Year and Christmas. We found the space near Tsim Tsa Tsui waterfront to be an excellent place to watch the entire show for free. Travelers will also want to bring a jacket or sweater with them because the harbor can be quite chilly at night.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • I highly recommended bringing along ear plugs for noise sensitive individuals because the audio portion of the show can be quite loud.
  • Children that have difficulty standing for extended periods of time may benefit from having access to a folding chair or blanket where they can sit down if they need to do so.
  • There is usually a large crowd out to watch the show and people come early to grab the best spots.

10 Child Friendly Hong Kong Activities

2. Ride the Mid-level Escalators

Although escalators aren’t normally what one thinks of as a travel destination, a visit to this place is more than justified. The Guinness Book of World Records has titled this attraction ‘the longest outdoor covered escalator system’ in the world. The entire complex consists of 20 escalators and three moving sidewalks, making the whole structure much longer than any slide at an amusement park.

Traversing the area takes about twenty minutes, but it will go much faster if the kids in your party decide to run up the escalators like ours did. Prospective visitors should be aware that the escalators are open every day between 6 am and midnight, but they change from going uphill at 10 am to going downhill at 10:30 pm.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • We found the area to be the perfect place for our kids to use up some excess energy by running around.
  • The escalators are a good place to investigate the local stores or dine on reasonably priced cuisine.
  • The rush hour here can be extremely crowded and is best avoided altogether. After all, the crush of people can be overwhelming to ordinary people, more so for those with autism.

3. Shop at the Temple Street Night Market 

10 Child Friendly Hong Kong Activities

This pedestrian only street is home to over 100 different merchants, all of whom open their shops around 2 pm. Shoppers can visit a wide array of establishments including snack vendors, old school fortunetellers, and Chinese medical clinics that use time-honored practices to treat their patients. Sporadic opera performances often take place through the market, providing visitors with entertainment while they wander around. Here you can find products such as watches and cell phones as well as accessories and faux designer clothes.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Temple Market is a good place for kids with autism to practice their negotiation skills as there is lots of bargaining at this spot.
  • If the child in question doesn’t mind crowds, he or she might enjoy the impressive opera performances that take place here on a regular basis.
  • Individuals who become claustrophobic in crowded environments would probably prefer to visit the traditional Chinese apothecary stalls, which are sure to delight their senses.
  • Travelers should arrive as early as possible to avoid the hordes of tourists and locals that descend upon the market around 5 pm.

4. Visit Lantau Island

Lantau Island is a popular day trip from Hong Kong. Travelers often come here to see the Tian Tan Buddha, a statue standing at the height of 34 meters that took over a decade to complete. Although the artwork itself is impressive, the mountainous scenery of the Ngong Ping plateau serves as a lovely backdrop that adds to the Buddha’s overall appeal. Hiking up the long staircase is one way to get to the statue’s base, but there are taxis and buses provided for travelers that are less athletically inclined. Another good stop in the area is the Po Lin Monastery, where lavishly decorated temples and several immaculately groomed gardens fill the grounds.

10 Child Friendly Hong Kong Activities

Easily reached by bus from Ngong Ping, the picturesque fishing village of Tai O is another island attraction worth visiting. Houses that sit high above the ground on stilts provide travelers with excellent photographic opportunities and the live seafood market in town is known for its tasty culinary offerings. Many residents also sell boat rides to travelers who want to see the local colony of Chinese white dolphins.

10 Child Friendly Hong Kong Activities

Autism Travel Tips:

  • The Ngong Ping 360 cable cars that depart from the Tung Chung Station are the quickest and most convenient way to get to Lantau Island. The carriages have glass walls that provide travelers with spectacular views of the surrounding areas.
  • It will take roughly half an hour to get from the station to Ngong Ping.
  • Ticket prices are currently at HK $135 ($17.42 USD) for a round trip ticket or HK $200 ($25.81 USD) for the unlimited Sky-Land-Sea Pass that covers a full day’s transport on the cable cars as well as the local buses and ferries.

5. Stop by the Hong Kong Zoological Park and Botanic Gardens

Dating back to 1871, this spot is home to over 1,700 species of flora and fauna. Most of the garden’s plants are native to the subtropical and tropical parts of the world, but there are some rare specimens in the Botanic Gardens, such as the dawn redwood trees. Although the park doesn’t have any large or exotic animals, kids will still find enough healthy and happy wildlife onsite to hold their interest. Plenty of monkeys, turtles, snakes, and birds make their home here. Since the site is free and open to the public, there’s no reason not to stop by and check it out. Hours are 6 am to 10 pm.

10 Child Friendly Hong Kong Activities

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Although Hong Kong is an exceptionally clean city, be sure to carry a package of hand wipes and a water bottle with you at all times

6. See the Tsing Ma Bridge

10 Child Friendly Hong Kong Activities

Possibly one of the century’s most important construction projects, the Tsing Ma suspension bridge is certainly the world’s longest. It was opened in 1997 to provide a vital link between the International Airport on Lantau Island and the city of Hong Kong. The structure has a total of ten different traffic lanes. Two of these are reserved for trains, and the other six are for cars. Part of the bridge is open to the sky, but there is a section that is enclosed. During periods of intense weather, the Tsing Ma Bridge may close down temporarily. However, it is possible for airport passengers to get from one side of the city to the other using the train. Some road traffic may also be permitted to cross at such times.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Travelers that want to observe the bridge from a distance should stop by the nearby Visitors’ Center on Tsing Yi Street or the Lantau Link View Point for the best panoramas.

7. Have a meal in a floating restaurant

Floating restaurants can be found all over the world. These establishments are usually built on seagoing vessels that are no longer functional or repurposed barges. Businesses of this style became especially popular in Hong Kong in the decades after the Second World War. Around that time, a wide variety of merchants flourished in the marine area known as the Typhoon Shelter. This space later had to be abandoned due to pollution problems. It has since been reclaimed, and old residents are returning, bringing their traditions along with them. One noteworthy old-school establishment in the area is Shaun Kee Typhoon Shelter.

10 Child Friendly Hong Kong Activities

At this floating restaurant, customers sit on the deck of a small boat in the harbor. Food is brought from the adjacent galley ship. Fresh seafood and classic Cantonese cuisine make up most of the menu here, with the spicy crab being the house specialty. Most diners have reported that their meal was quite tasty, but the eatery’s unique ambiance was the main attraction. Yelp reviewer Bernard Y. reports that it is a good idea to place your dinner order before arriving because of availability. Travelers who love a good vintage will need to bring their own wine because it isn’t on the menu. Even so, the cost for dining here generally runs around $50 a person. However, the prices can be significantly higher depending on how many people are in your party and what you order.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Those coming here should be aware that the only bathroom facilities on board are squat toilets. Therefore, it might be a good idea to use the bathroom before leaving the hotel.

8. Go on a harbor cruise

10 Child Friendly Hong Kong Activities

City visitors have numerous options for cruising around Victoria Harbor. Those who are interested in history can even travel across the waters in an authentic Chinese junk, the Duk Ling. These unforgettable 45 minute tours cost around HK $320 ($41.27 USD) for adults and $220 ($28.38 USD) for kids. Travelers who appreciate the historical aspect of the Duk Ling but have budgetary concerns might instead opt for a voyage on the replica junk, the Aqua Luna. This vessel operates a daily shuttle service that runs between 5 different destinations from noon to 5 pm. Passengers are welcome to get on and off the boat at their leisure. This service costs HK $130 for adults ($17.77 USD) and HK $90 ($11.61 USD) for kids that are between the ages of 7 and 11. However, the most affordable cruising option is the historic Star Ferry, which has received a Certificate of Excellence from the folks at Trip Advisor.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Call ahead and verify that the vessel you’re boarding has lifejackets if your child can’t swim, otherwise bring your own.

9. Check out the Hong Kong History Museum

With low admission prices and interesting exhibits, there’s no reason not to stop by this museum. This museum shows how Hong Kong was built literally from the ground up. Children will be fascinated by the many interactive displays at the site. The building is also air conditioned, which is an especially nice feature during the hot and humid summer months. The museum hours generally run from 10 am to 6 pm, but they do stay open an extra hour on Sundays.

10 Child Friendly Hong Kong Activities

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Travelers that are planning to come here should be aware this establishment is closed on Tuesdays and offers free admission on Wednesdays.
  • The nearest stop for those arriving by public transportation is the Jordan MTR station.

10. Get in on the action at Ocean Park

Though it is a more expensive attraction, Ocean Park is an incredibly child-friendly destination. There are plenty of animals to see here such as sharks, pandas, polar bears, and koalas. The grounds even include a water park and numerous amusement park style rides that are sure to keep kids entertained. Ocean Park is usually open from 10 am to 10 pm. Entry tickets currently cost HK $345 ($44.50 USD) for adults and $173 (22.31 USD) for children 3 to 12.

10 Child Friendly Hong Kong Activities

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Visitors will need to bring along sturdy walking shoes and a change of clothes in case they get drenched on the water rides. ]
  • Visitors may want to carry a cooler full of their favorite beverages and snacks so that they don’t have to deal with the high prices found at the concessions stands.
  • It is best to come early to avoid the crowds that appear later in the day.


Family Dining at Jumbo Kingdom Floating Restaurant


Family Dining at Jumbo Kingdom Floating Restaurant Hong Kong


At the Jumbo Kingdom Floating Restaurant in Hong Kong, guests can enjoy fine dining in a beautiful environment. As you dine on fresh, delicious seafood, you can see the lavish sights inside the building as well as the city from across the harbor.

In what is known as the Typhoon Shelter of Hong Kong’s Aberdeen Harbor, you will find one of the world’s largest floating restaurant complexes in the form of the amazing Jumbo Kingdom. Established over four decades ago, it has been in operation ever since, except for a hiatus for a few years after a severe fire.

Recently it underwent a multimillion dollar upgrade and transformation. It is remarkably pretty to look at and an interesting place to eat, offering sightseeing, shopping, and a unique dining experience off of dry land.


Jumbo Kingdom Floating Restaurant

Even though it is called “floating,” the entire Jumbo Kingdom is not entirely bobbing out on the bay, as it has a stable concrete foundation in most parts. Nevertheless, the only way to get to it is by a swift boat or ferry ride from the promenade. One approaches the jetty on old-fashioned ramp-steps which segue to wooden planks on a deck.

There, while you wait for the complimentary vessel that takes you to the Jumbo Kingdom, you can admire the size and design of the colossal creation from afar. It is breathtaking at night with the façade resembling a great circus tent and magnificent imperial palace or fairytale castle.

Decoration and Dining

Family Dining at Jumbo Kingdom Floating Restaurant


The Dragon Court restaurant is known for its fine dining and is so large it can cater to well over 1500 guests. It is divided into various large rooms and banquet halls, all decorated with garish colors, oriental statuettes and of course, enormous golden dragons. Adorning the walls are portraits and photos of the many celebrities and royalty who have eaten here over the decades.

Jumbo Kingdom Floating Restaurant

There are beautiful aquariums full of lovely-looking inhabitants for display, not eating. Since this restaurant specializes in seafood, there are other aquariums and tanks with live fish also on display outside of the dining area.

Diners can take a tour of the tanks, surrounded by moving conveyor belts. In this way, a guest can see that the facilities and sea creatures are clean, that the guests can see what they will be eating and that guests have respect for what they will be eating, as this is culturally significant. There are marine mollusks and crustaceans, a myriad of shellfish and a vast assortment of live seafood as well as crates in water and conveyor belts transporting buckets containing freshly dressed oysters, crabs, lobsters, shrimp, squid and more!


After the tour, there are steps up to the Dragon Court on the first deck, and there are quite beautiful mosaics on the wall, the décor depicting the Ming Dynasty as well as more contemporary artwork too. For a small price, there is the possibility of dressing up as the King and Queen in Imperial robes. It’s perfect for photos!

As mentioned before, the Jumbo Kingdom is vast, and the whole complex can hold 4500 people. In some spots, you can look out of the window and see the pier and the  Hong Kong skyline.

They prepared the Cantonese cuisine near our table, and we were able to watch the chefs prepare the meal while we waited. We had the first course of sautéed shrimp with green pepper followed by the cooking of “Drunk Shrimp” over an open flame; done as a flambé, which is still on fire when set on your plate. The menu is diverse, and the experience is a novelty.


Autism Travel Tips:

  • There are many stairs and uneven ramps in the Jumbo Kingdom complex. Getting to the restaurant and up to the top deck, as well as the tour of the tanks involves climbing. It is not easily accessible for those needing the use of wheelchairs.
  • The tour of the tanks with all the sea creatures can be an unpleasant and overwhelming sensation for those who are sensitive to smell.
  • It can be crowded, and the noise level can be high, so make sure to reserve a place before peak time.


  • We preferred to take an organized tour for safety reasons and to see the city at night.
  • In general, bathroom hygiene is of a lesser grade than in the US, and you can expect in some places traditional bathrooms which you cannot sit on.
  • There are very few accommodations for special diets. There is a language barrier, and in a best case scenario you’ll get a menu with a picture of the food, but there’s no way to verify ingredients.




Five Tips For Successful Travel with Autism in Asia

Five Tips For Successful Travel with Autism in Asia pin

For people born and raised in western countries, exploring Asia is an adventure worth experiencing at least once. However, people challenged with autism might feel it is also an assault on their sensory system when it comes to different smells, flavors, sounds and sights. To make sure your child with autism feels comfortable while traveling to Asia, here are a few tips to follow:


The minute we landed in Hong Kong, our son started complaining about the smell and how it bothered him. At first, we dismissed him thinking that he was probably tired, jet-lagged, and on a sensory overload but the feeling persisted well into the week. We later figured out that the issue was that he was reacting to the scents of the spices used in the Cantonese cuisine as well as the incense used in temples.

Five Tips For Successful Travel with Autism in Asia market

Autism Travel Tips:

  • The best way to help your kid cope is to start exposing him to spices and different smells by visiting local ethnic neighborhoods and sampling foods before you embark on your Asia travels. The continuous exposure and desensitization will help your kid get accustomed to the smells, and their adverse reaction will lessen with time.

Tastes and Textures

Most foods in Asia are usually more salty, spicy or in some cases sweeter than in the United States. Textures are also different since the diet of locals may include spices your kid has not yet encountered. What we found useful in Japan compared to other Asian countries, was the fact they had plastic displays of the dishes in almost every restaurant we went to so you could sort of figure out what it was was you were ordering.

Five Tips For Successful Travel with Autism in Asia dessert

Luckily for us, our kid is open to trying most items at least once. He ended up sampling most local delicacies, including insects and animal internal organs, that most people probably wouldn’t consider touching. He did develop a small addiction to jelly donuts and jelly desserts served at the tea ceremonies.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • If you are traveling with several family members, order several items on the menu and see which one appeals to your kid the most since in most places you can’t send the food back if your child dislikes it.

Close proximity to people

One cannot escape proximity to people in a densely populated area like Hong Kong, China, or Japan when using any form of public transportation or when visiting local markets. Markets are not for the faint of heart, with live animals caged and even killed in front of you. If you are traveling with younger kids, the scenes may be quite disturbing as your child may see animals that are regarded in the United States, as house pets, such as rabbits and guinea pigs, sold or cut open in plain sight.

Five Tips For Successful Travel with Autism in Asia chickens

Whether you are using the old ferries, tram, trains or even the ultra-modern subway, the space allocated per capita is minimal, and passengers are used to leaning against and breathing on each other. This can be especially unpleasant on hot and humid days. As if waiting in line for any extended period isn’t hard enough for people with autism, imagine an avalanche of individuals moving hastily at the same time towards the entrance or exit of a ferry boat, ready to trample anyone or anything in their way.

We learned pretty early on in our Asia travels that we couldn’t rely on any accommodations for special needs as in many places locals didn’t speak English.

Five Tips For Successful Travel with Autism in Asia fruit

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Travel off-peak hours. Select the furthest cabin on subways and stay as close to the exit door as possible, ready to dart out fast. Avoid rush hour when traveling and spring for first class tickets on trains if possible.
  • For market shopping, try to arrive when they first open so you escape the crowds and when the smells are less pungent.

The noise

Five Tips For Successful Travel with Autism in Asia tree

Crowded cities are noisier by definition, but it goes a bit beyond that when it comes to some countries in which the locals speak loudly and may sound like they are screaming at each other. Markets, busy streets and public transportation venues including subway stations are the most common place for this sort of thing, but there may be other unforeseen places where this might happen too.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Pack a pair of headphones or ear plugs if your son or daughter is noise sensitive


Five Tips For Successful Travel

Don’t take the availability of a western commode for granted. Places like China and Japan still have traditional squatting toilets that your kid may have never seen. Some toilets in Japan are plugged in and make certain sounds disguising the user sounds that may stress out your child. Our son with autism refused to use them at first. He insisted we unplug the toilet each time in the hotel rooms in Japan before he used them, as he was scared of the noises and the fact that they were connected to electricity. The worst were the old fashioned squat toilets in public places like attractions and trains. He can’t squat and kept toppling over and sitting on the floor. The toilet situation got so bad he threatened to take Imodium for the duration of the trip so he wouldn’t have to go potty.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • If you book day trips, ask the tour operators if western toilets are available or head on to the nearest western chain hotel’s lobby if you need to use a bathroom.

Using some planning and tips, travelers with autism can successfully visit countries and Asia.


Have You Climbed Any Steps Lately?

A favorite pastime of hyperactive kids, like mine, is to chase up hundreds of steps on famous landmarks,  with parents trailing breathlessly behind.
My husband and I always swear we should either bribe them not to do it or leave them to climb on their own but when the moment comes somehow we always end up relenting and joining in. As we stand breathless at the top, we are usually rewarded by a spectacular postcard like the view along with amusing family stories that we share at our holiday table.
In fact, just last month, we were reminiscing about our top five memorable step adventures, to date, and chose the following.

The Eiffel Tower, Paris.

The tower boasts over 1660 steps and is divided into several levels: so visitors can choose how far they wish to climb. The stairs can be used to reach all levels with the exception of the very top that is only accessible by elevator.

Autism Travel Tips
The lines to visit the Parisian icon can be disheartening at times with lines that can stretch several hours so ironically choosing the stairs might be the shorter way to go.Not to mention the benefits of exercising!

Have You Climbed Any Steps Lately? PARIS

Tian-Tan-Po-Lin Buddha, Lantau Island.

One of the highlights of visiting the famous giant  Buddha statue is climbing 268 steps and circling the platform where the Buddha sits.
Travelers with mobility challenges can get there by car as there is a narrow road that ends right at the Statue’s entrance.

Autism Travel Tips
The stairs are divided into sections, so they are comfortable to negotiate as long as they are dry (rain makes them slippery) and fun for kids to count as they climb them.

Have You Climbed Any Steps Lately? LANTAU

Grimaldi Royal Palace,Monaco.

Monaco’s tiny town of Monte Carlo is multi-leveled and built on top of uneven cliffs.So getting from the port to the Grimaldi Royal Palace used to be no easy feat back in the sixties when I was first there. The stairs leading to the palace were not contiguous and were somewhat difficult to find because of confusing signage.Nowadays, travelers can either spring for a cab or use a set of well-coordinated escalators to go all the way up to the top.

Autism Travel Tips
Finding the initial elevator location in the port is tricky so make sure you bookmark a map app on your phone.

Have You Climbed Any Steps Lately? MONACO

Leaning Tower, Pisa.

The  Leaning Tower of Pisa boasts approximately 295 steps with several ‘rest’ areas between the levels where visitors can catch their breath and take the views in. The tower doesn’t have an elevator option, and the old, narrow and somewhat windy stairs can be quite slippery so visitors should consider wearing anti-slip soled shoes and holding the handrail at most times.

Autism Travel  Tips
Be aware there is a bag check before entering and a strict policy of not allowing bags to be carried while climbing.
Also, there is not a place to turn back at any point so if parents think their kids won’t be able to complete the climb that lasts, at least, an hour they might decide against visiting the landmark.

Have You Climbed Any Steps Lately? PISA

The Acropolis, Athens.

The approximately 150 steps separating travelers from the top are not too difficult to negotiate even for warm days. For most  However, should visitors opt against navigating the ancient stairs, there is an alternative route via taxi and elevator at their disposal.

Autism Travel Tips
If your kid is temperature intolerant then climbing them in the summer heat is probably a good idea.Bear in mind the entire complex offers no shade so if you intend on visiting bring a hat, water bottle and mini fan to keep your kid comfortable.

Have You Climbed Any Steps Lately? ATHENS


Have you climbed any famous steps with your children?
What was your experience?

















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