Planning to explore Vietnam with kids? From street food to street performances, from learning to cook rice dishes to visiting rice fields, there are so many activities for the family to enjoy when visiting Vietnam. Every top destination in Vietnam has something unique thing to offer.
If you are organising your family trip and thinking of what activities you should sign your kids up for, you have come to the right place!
We have carefully chosen 10 activities that the young ones will surely enjoy during the family holidays. Find out why Vietnam is one of the best places in Southeast Asia for family travel!
Set sail on the waterways of Vietnam
With over 3 thousand kilometres of coastlines, winding waterways, and mysterious lakes, life in Vietnam ebbs and flows with bodies of water. One of the best ways to experience Vietnam with kids is of course on the water! Get ready for an awesome experience.
1. Kayak around Cat Ba, Halong Bay
Cat Ba Island is the largest island of Lan Ha Bay, part of the Ha Long Bay World Heritage Site in Northern Vietnam. Home to craggy limestone hills and astonishing waterways.
Explore the ancient trade routes by kayak. A great activity for adventurous families - older children can take their own boats, while younger children can share a kayak with mum or dad.
The best thing about this is that there is no fixed route, the whole family can enjoy the fantastical sights rowing at your own pace.
If cruising is your cup of tea, the Halong Bay cruise will be one of the Vietnam highlights of your trip. From a half-day tour to an overnight cruise, most trips start from Cat Ba, be sure to choose the best tour suited to family travel. Check out our travel guide to Halong Bay.
2. Sail along the Tam Coc River, Ninh Binh
Floating along the calm waters of Tam Coc River is one of the most scenic boat rides in Ninh Binh, and definitely doable even with smaller children. The kids will love the little wooden boats, and will be amazed by how the boat guides row with their feet!
The three-hour boat trip takes you through caves systems, aside towering limestone valley walls, and along with colourful green paddy fields. The highlight on a Tam Coc boat ride is traversing the narrow caves while avoiding ghostly stalactites and stalagmites. There are three natural cave locations, Hang Ca, Hang Hai and Hang Ba and each is remarkably different from the rest. Safety is a priority, and life jackets are offered to all people carrying this ship, children have to wear one too.
Read on to find out about the 11 must-see places in Ninh Binh.
3. Take a boat tour along the Perfume River, Hue
The ancient capital Hue is a firm favourite with families - the historic treasure chest of Vietnam, it showcases the fascinating culture of the country.
While visiting Hue, be sure to take the children on a boat tour along Perfume River, named for the flowers that fall into the water from the orchards upriver. Hire a traditional boat from the city centre of Hue which will take you down the enchanting river.
There will be a few stops at historic sights, including the Thien Mu pagoda and Citadel (imperial city), allowing the family to learn about Vietnamese culture.
If the kids want a snack after the boat ride, we suggest banh beo - a small savoury steamed pancake. Look here for other must-try dishes of Hue.
Learn something new in Vietnam
Travelling Vietnam with kids is a great way to expose them to Vietnamese food, history, and culture. Whether you are in North, Central, or South Vietnam, there is something new to experience.
4. Attend a Vietnamese cooking class in Hanoi
Hanoi is of course the administrative capital of Vietnam, but did you know that it is also the street food capital of the country? The history of Vietnamese street hawkers has its origins in pre-colonial Hanoi.
A visit to Vietnam is not complete without trying your hand at cooking Vietnamese food! There is also no better way to introduce children to new foods than by making it themselves.
There are many kid-friendly cooking classes in Hanoi's Old Quarter. Some include tours of the local market to pick out fresh produce before participants are taught how to chop meat, grind spices, mix sauces, wrap rolls, and so on! End the cooking class by enjoying your handmade delicious food. Be warned, your family might go home with new favourite dishes! Here are 19 must-try Hanoi dishes you can find in the city.
5. Make silk Vietnamese lanterns in Hoi An
Step into the past at the ancient town of Hoi An. Classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hoi An is a prime example of a Southeast Asian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century.
One of the most attractive features of the old town is the numerous silk lanterns that wave cheerfully in the wind.
Instead of buying lanterns for your kids, why not have them learn how to make it themselves? Attend a lantern making class as a family and engage your children's artistic side. Having made it themselves, they will appreciate the lantern souvenir much more than a store-bought one.
6. Explore the Cu Chi Tunnels, Ho Chi Minh City
If you are in Ho Chi Minh City, set aside some time to learn more about the Vietnam War. For older children, the War Remnants Museum could be a good introduction. Another interesting historic site is the Cu Chi Tunnels.
It is about a 2 hours' drive from downtown Saigon, so it is best to arrange transportation in advance. Cu Chi Tunnels is part of a large network of tunnels used by Communist troops in the war against Southern Vietnamese and American forces in guerrilla tactics.
Your family will be taken on a tour of the area, to see the different kinds of equipment used, and understand how it was utilised as an operations base, outfitted with communication tools, hospitals, and living quarters. Adventurous teenagers can try going through one of the tunnels for a memorable experience.
Be sure to have time to explore the surrounding countryside and the lush rice fields. For a lighter note to end the evening, perhaps catch a traditional water puppet show back in Ho Chi Minh City; a water puppet show is one of the top things to do in Vietnam with kids.
Check out our guide, if you are wondering where to stay in Saigon, for a fantastic city vacation.
Adrenaline rush activities
Some kids love the thrill! They are not contented with sightseeing and night markets. They need action-packed activities to pump up their adrenaline. We have got you covered!
7. Go bananas at Crazy House in Da Lat
The Crazy House is a public museum and a fully-equipped guesthouse. The building is filled with strangely misshapen art installations and brightly popping colours. Tickets cost 50, 000 VND per person and opening hours are between 8 a.m and 7 pm daily. One thing to note is that some of the staircases are not very wide so the younger kids need extra supervision.
When in Da Lat, be sure to experience the farm to table food on offer. Da Lat is the fresh food capital of the country, where plenty of its wine, coffee, fruits, and vegetable come from. Explore the best food in Da Lat.
8. Visit Vinpearl Land, Phu Quoc Island
You may not visit Vietnam thinking you will go to an amusement park, but sometimes that is all the kids want to do. Young kids and older kids alike will enjoy a trip to Vinpearl Land in Phu Quoc.
There is something for the parents too! Vinpearl Land boats the longest cable car ride in the world. An enjoyable ride for the entire family, get ready to see aerial views of the amazing coastline.
There is a water park full of slides and rides, an outdoor game zone for activities like bumper cars and speed rides, an indoor game zone with a virtual world and 5D movie theatre, and an underwater world filled with aquariums, all within walking distance of each other.
You will have so much fun here! Of course, there is plenty more to do in Phu Quoc, with easily accessible hikes and amazing beaches all across the island.
Time to Chill
Of course, a jammed packed Vietnam itinerary must also have some chill time built into it. After visiting historic sites and kayaking about, sometimes you just want to relax or do some shopping.
9. Chill on the Beach
Beach time is perfect for families with small children and teenagers alike. Everyone loves the sun and the sea.
Vietnam is full of hidden coves brimming with white beaches and warm, shallow waters. A beach holiday is definitely the more relaxing way to experience Vietnam with kids. Many of the beach resorts cater to families, with amenities like a kids club, kids pool, day trips shuttle service to nearby attractions, on-site restaurants, and resort spa.
We have curated the 10 best beach destinations and family-friendly beach resorts in Vietnam for a perfect paradise family vacation.
10. Shop at a Floating Market in the Mekong Delta
Shopping and buying souvenirs is a pastime for many parents and kids. A relaxing, non-strenuous way to shop would be to visit the Cai Rang market.
There is no better way to experience the riverine life of the Mekong Delta than by getting into a boat. Sitting comfortably in your boat, you can easily sightsee, shop, and snack, all at the same time!
The Cai Rang floating market is the largest of its kind in the Mekong Delta. At the market, there are huge boats selling fruits, freshly cooked Vietnamese food, flowers, knick-knacks, and more.
Apart from market visits, read on to find other things to do when visiting the Mekong Delta.
Travel Vietnam with Kids
Have a fulfilling and fun family trip with these 10 amazing activities to do. Whether you live in Vietnam or are visiting, travelling Vietnam with kids is a great way to experience new activities and make happy childhood memories.
There are plenty of sights to see and things to do no matter where you go, from the Mekong Delta to Halong Bay, we have got you covered. Learn about the history of the nation, immerse your family in the region's culture, and eat endless great food.
Before you pack your bags, read up on the 10 tips for family travel in Vietnam (link). Our top tips are to not drink the tap water, and to always bring sunblock no matter where you go!
If you have time to spare whilst in the south of Vietnam, you might want to bring the small kids to these family-friendly Saigon restaurants where there are fun toys and activities for the children to do, and food and drinks for the adults.