After truly opening up their doors to welcome tourist in the early 1990s, Vietnam started to see an influx of travellers eager to explore this wonderful country. Almost three decades later, Vietnam has become one of the top 10 destinations in the world to visit as voted on Trip Advisor in 2018.
Vietnam has it all - from ocean cruising to lying on the beach, from the adventure of trekking in the wilderness or getting to understand the different cultures of Vietnam's 54 ethnicities. There are so many great adventures to be had with the whole family!
From Ha Long Bay to Ho Chi Minh City: Types of family-friendly travel in Vietnam
Both the kids and parents will find plenty of reasons to visit Vietnam. For those with younger children, many of the family hotels offer nanny services and kid-friendly activities giving parents a day off to explore or a night out with some drinks.
With so many options on hand, we have categorised family-friendly travel in Vietnam into three groups:
- Beach holiday
- Culture trip
Soak up the sun on the beaches of Vietnam
With a long coastline of over three thousand kilometres, Vietnam is home to some of the most pristine beaches in South East Asia. The beaches are mostly in Central and South Vietnam; beach time here means white sand, magical coral reefs, and stunningly lush tropical flora and fauna, particularly good for younger kids.
Plenty of the beach resorts on Vietnam come with a private beach, kids club, kids pool, on site restaurants, shuttle service, family room, free breakfast, resort spa, and perhaps even your very own private infinity pool. Read more about the best beaches in Vietnam here (link).
Immerse in Vietnamese culture and history
Vietnam has been inhabited by some of the world's earliest civilisations, along its rich riverbanks and due to the cultivation of rice. Archaeologists date the beginnings of Vietnamese civilisation to the late Neolithic, early Bronze Age period.
With this richness of history, Vietnam is a wonderful place to show your children this fascinating culture and teach them about different ways of life. Explore the old city of Hanoi and check out the local night market. Take your kids to the old town of Hoi An and go for a lantern making class. Hop on a boat trip to check out the floating markets of the Mekong Delta and catch a water puppet show. Visit the museums in Ho Chi Minh City and take a day trip to the cu chi tunnels to understand about the Vietnam War. Everywhere you go, be sure to sample street food and perhaps attend a Vietnamese cooking class.
Jump into an adventure-packed family trip
Exploring with kids can be a challenge especially when they get tired, so an adventure-packed trip is generally better suited for teenagers. Stay off the beaten path and create unforgettable memories with your older children. Ditch the air conditioning and iPhones and set off for some outdoor fun.
There is so much of Vietnam to explore, with so many national parks and UNESCO heritage sites. Take in stunning scenery while hiking in ancient mountain ranges, set up camp in magical mist filled pine forests, kayak around in turquoise waters and get to meet the local wildlife through snorkelling. Alternatively, Vietnam has many theme parks suitable for both young children and older ones. So much fun is waiting to be had!
10 Tips for Travelling Vietnam with Kids
These 10 tips are just what you are looking for to travel Vietnam with kids. Ensure that your entire family will have an amazing experience in the top destination of Southeast Asia.
1. Exchange your money before the trip or at the airport
With children in tow, it is best to be prepared with local currency before you set foot into the new country, this saves time and stress upon arrival. Make sure to have smaller notes as well in order to pay for small items of food or to tip for services. (Tips are welcomed but not mandatory; read more on Vietnamese etiquette and culture.)
2. Make a Vietnam itinerary and use a tour company that specialises in kids travel
It is best to research information about destination, and check-list on hand. Your hotel reception can help you, even before your arrival, with creating an itinerary and suggesting which sightseeing spots are family-friendly or within walking distance.
3. Include older kids in planning
Young kids will be happy to wade in pool or play on the beach, but the older ones might need more engagement. Ensure a wonderful trip by consulting the teenagers on what they would like to do. However, instead of giving them blank itinerary, offer them options; for example would they prefer going to the floating market or the local market?
Sometimes you might need professional help to plan your family trip. Whether you are looking for a full service tour or just a half day tour somewhere, to arrange a boat tour of the Mekong Delta, cooking classes on Cat Ba Island, or even a Halong Bay cruise, using a tour company that specialises in kids will make the Vietnam trip a successful one.
4. Do not drink tap water
When visiting Vietnam, be sure to avoid drinking the tap water, even in Ho Chi Minh City. It is best to buy drinking water to avoid any heavy metals, contaminates, or bacteria. Be sure to tell your kids this, especially if they are used to drinking tap water at home.
5. Mask up and stock up on hand sanitisers!
Arm your kids with masks and pack a few spare ones. This is a COVID-19 safety precaution, but masks are also good when travelling along the dusty roads of Vietnam. Particularly in the big cities, smog is a real concern. If you are planning to travel to somewhere more remote, do stock up on hand sanitisers while you are in cities, toilets in rural areas or along rest stops may not have hand soap.
6. Book your hotel in advance
Looking for accommodations only when you arrive can become a disaster in many different ways, even for families that love adventure! This tip is especially recommended for remote areas in Vietnam, such as rural areas in Sapa, where many homestays need advance notice of guests. While it might be difficult to book such accommodation online, there are plenty of tour agencies to help!
7. Be prepared for long plane/ car/ train/ bus journeys
Kids can get bored easily, and while parents are usually prepared for the plane journey, do not forget about long car rides or overnight train experiences. Many destinations in Vietnam can only be accessed by long journeys from major cities such as Ha Long Bay or Sapa from Hanoi or Mui Ne or Vung Tau from Saigon.
Arrange transportation ahead of time, and also bring along games, books, and power bank chargers for the little ones, and remind the older ones to pack their own entertainment. When travelling by bus, there will be a few stops along the way, where you can pick up Vietnamese food and refreshments. Be sure to arrive at the bus or train station ahead of time!
8. Look for kid-friendly Vietnamese food
While fish sauce and blood pudding might be a bit too adventurous for most kids (and even foreign adults), Vietnam is known for its great food. Start the kids off with yummy spring rolls, banh khot (small savoury pancakes, and of course the classic pho. A good way to expose children to the cuisine is to take them on market visits, with the fresh produce on display, their curiosity to try different types of delicious food will be piqued.
9. Sunscreen is a must
Most of Vietnam enjoys a tropical climate, with warm temperatures for most of the year. This is in part what makes Vietnam with kids so easy - no packing heavy winter wear and keeping track of mittens. However, the sun can be ferocious, even in Northern Vietnam. Whether you are spending time on the beach, cruising along Halong Bay, hiking up Marble Mountain, or going on boat rides on Perfume River, remember to pack plenty of sunscreen as well as a hat.
10. Be flexible!
Even the best laid plans tend to go awry in Vietnam. Attractions might be closed regardless of official opening hours, traffic jams can appear out of nowhere, downpours can cause even streets in the city centre to flood. If you have a flexible, can-do attitude, which will also rub off on your kids, Vietnam will be a great trip regardless of curve balls thrown your way.
Family holidays are a great way to take a break from the hustle and the bustle of modern life and allow your children to explore the world. With a culture that adores children, visitors to Vietnam will find will that there are many different kinds of attractions and tours, many that are safe and kid-friendly.
The family that travels together creates unique memories together. Vietnam has so many destinations appropriate for children of all ages with different appetites for adventure. These 10 tips will surely help you have a great family holiday in Vietnam . Check out our other resources and guides to Vietnam!
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