Vietnam is a great place for family vacations. It's inexpensive, beautiful, and full of friendly people. The best part about it is that it has activities that are perfect for teenagers, small children, and adults alike.
Below is a guide for families traveling to Vietnam, including information about family travel and ideas on where to go.
- Traveling with kids in Vietnam is fun and exciting.
- Vietnam has many activities that are fun for the whole family.
- Some of the most popular family activities in Vietnam include rickshaw rides, boat rides, cooking classes, and beach days.
- Vietnamese culture is a mix of traditional Vietnamese values and French and Chinese influences.
- There are tour options to small villages, where visitors can learn about the life of locals and about ethnic minorities.
- The best destination for family vacations include Hanoi, Hoi An, Nha Trang and Ho Chi Minh City.
- If you plan on travelling during summer vacation, southern Vietnam should be avoided, due to extremely hot weather.
- Winter vacation is the peak season in Vietnam, and all bookings should be made well in advance for this period.
- It is quick and convenient to fly domestically within Vietnam.
Vietnamese people are known to be very welcoming and kind. This makes traveling with kids a fun and delightful experience. In most places, western children are met with excitement, and local businesses will often go out of their way to make children happy.
Another reason why Vietnam is a great destination for families is, that it offers plenty of experiences that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. Some of the most popular activities include having fun on the sandy beaches, checking out the world-renown museums, tasting the local food, and learning about new cultures.
Furthermore, Vietnam offers stunning landscapes, bustling cities, and delicious food, all at a reasonable price. Adults and kids of all ages will discover something breathtaking and exciting during a trip to Vietnam.
Family bonding activities in Vietnam
The best part of family vacations is the time away from work and school, just to be together and create new memories. Vietnam is a great place for these family bonding adventures and has a lot of activities that families love.
Some examples of popular family activities include taking exciting rickshaw rides through the bustling streets of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh. This is a fun and inexpensive way to see the city and get a feel for the local culture.
Another great way to have some family fun is to go on food tours in the Vietnamese cities. These tours often take groups around the city to try out the best local places. If you're feeling more adventurous, Vietnam also offers plenty of cooking classes which teach visitors how to cook authentic Vietnamese cuisine.
Lastly, a well-loved family activity in Vietnam is, taking a boat cruise through the many scenic areas. The most popular locations for boat tours include Halong Bay, with its incredible karst mountains, and the Mekong Delta, with its floating markets and distinct culture.
A chance to increase cultural knowledge
Vietnam is also a great place for kids to increase their cultural understanding. Vietnamese people have a very distinctive culture that is a mixture of traditional Vietnamese values and Chinese and French influences. Vietnam also has multiple groups of ethnic minorities who have a culture that is entirely different from the majority population.
Many of the ethnic minorities in Vietnam are very welcoming to outsiders and tour groups. Sapa Valley has 8 different Vietnamese minority groups and is the perfect place to learn about the intricacies of these ancient cultures. Here, visitors can hike through the villages or take a boat trip and interact with the local people.
Hoi An is a great place to learn about Vietnamese culture by experiencing the life of local farmers. In Tra Que Village, visitors can work with farmers and learn how they grow their organic vegetables. Taking cooking classes or bicycle tours are also options here.
Near Ho Chi Minh City, visitors can travel through the ancient Vietnamese capital of Ninh Binh with its thousands of temples, palaces, and pagodas. Here tourists can get a glimpse of ancient Vietnam, then travel back to HCMC and learn about colonial-era history while surrounded by beautiful French architecture.
Top destinations for families in Vietnam
Here are our suggestions for places in Vietnam which have something for everyone in the family.
Hanoi is an incredible city for learning about Vietnamese customs. Hanoi's Old Quarter offers an enchanting look into old Asia and the bustling alleyways and markets are always an adventure to explore. The Old Quarter's narrow and ancient streets are full of the smell of delicious street food and incense burning from local temples.
Hanoi's water puppet shows are very popular and offer a glimpse into the Vietnamese ancient art. There are daily performances held at the Municipal Water Puppet Theater. Each performance is in English and Vietnamese and portrays traditional Vietnamese folktales.
Hoi An's Ancient Town is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a great place to start in the city. Families can explore the temples and markets together or take hands-on cooking and lantern-making classes. There are also cycle tours that take groups through the Ancient Town. This is a great way to see everything while burning off some energy.
Hoi An is also a perfect base to reach the beach resorts in Da Nang, for a day spent playing on the beach and cooling off in the ocean.
Nha Trang is a beach in Vietnam with many high-quality resorts that offer tons of fun for families. Kids can play or relax on the beaches and try the famous fresh seafood.
If your family likes adventurous traveling, then Nha Trang is the perfect spot. This beach is well-known for family adventure tours that can be tailored to specific needs. The most popular activity at this beach is to take a boat ride out to beautiful islands. Kayaking and snorkeling are also common activities offered here.
Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City is a bustling metropolis that has a lot of family activities to offer. One of the most popular activities here is taking rickshaw rides through the city or exploring the Mekong Delta. Boat trips through the Mekong Delta often include stops at floating markets and glimpses of Buddhist temples.
HCMC offers many unique experiences such as crawling through the Viet Cong CuChi tunnels, where you can learn about the Vietnam War, or visiting the Ben Thanh market, where they sell the infamous weasel poop coffee.
How to plan your family holiday
After choosing which cities you want to see during your trip, the next step is to start planning. Below, we have included three things to think about when planning your trip, to make sure that you and your family have the best possible vacation.
Choose the right time
Summer vacation is typically a great time to travel to Vietnam. The children don't have school and have plenty of time to travel. During the summer it is a good idea to avoid southern Vietnam due to extremely hot weather. At this time, it is best to travel in northern Vietnam or the central coastal area, because traveling here will be more comfortable and enjoyable.
Another great time to take a Vietnam vacation is during winter break. The winter months in Vietnam have the best weather and are often considered peak season. If you plan on traveling during this time, it is important to make bookings 6 months in advance in order to get the best prices on flights and hotels.
Focus on your needs
Families that include adults only, typically enjoy balancing activities with time to relax. After a day of exploring Ho Chi Minh City or hiking in Sapa, it is a good idea to plan a relaxing beach stay or boat trip for the following day to maintain a happy balance.
For families with teenagers, it is a good idea to choose locations that offer the opportunity for exploring and hands-on experience. Teenagers typically enjoy walking through markets to look for souvenirs, and adventures like cycling through the city or boating through the Mekong Delta.
For families with children under 12, it is normally important not to plan too much in one day. Spending time on the beach and in quieter towns, rather than large noisy cities, is a good way to help children adjust to being in a new country.
Choose your accommodation
Spacious rooms are usually the best option for families. If the family has adult children or teenagers, getting adjoining rooms is a great way to ensure that everyone has enough space. Children under 6 years can share beds with their parents for free. However, there is an extra bed charge for children above 6 years.
Hotels that offer a wide selection for breakfast and that have swimming pools are a great idea for families. Also, finding accommodation in a central location can make seeing the popular sites more stress-free.
There are three international airports in Vietnam. They are located in Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, and Hanoi. For visitors who want to travel within Vietnam, domestic flights are a quick and easy option. They are more expensive than buses and trains, but much more convenient, especially when traveling with large groups or children.
Infants under 2 years can fly for free with Vietnamese domestic airlines, as long as they share a seat with their parents. For children from 2 to 12 years, the price of the ticket is 75% of an adult ticket. Children over 12 are charged the same price as adults. Children are allowed 20kg of luggage with their tickets. However, no checked luggage is allowed for infants.
Vietnam is generally a very safe country, however, like most places, there are still a few things to look out for.
In Vietnam the traffic operates differently than it does in other countries. The streets are often full of motorcycles, scooters, and cars, driving fast and not necessarily following traffic laws. It is important always to be careful when crossing the street.
Be aware of too-good-to-be-true hotel prices or tour prices. Often these cheap prices indicate that the hotel or tour doesn't follow the same safety precautions as the more expensive options. It is best to avoid the cheapest prices and to ask about safety regulations before booking.
It is rare, but sometimes in Vietnam credit card information is stolen after the card is used in a store or restaurant. This doesn't happen in larger places, but it is still a good idea to carry local currency (VND) with you and always pay cash rather than swipe a card.
Tips about Vietnamese cuisine
At first, the food in Vietnam may cause stomach problems for travelers because they are not used to the cuisine. It is a good idea to give yourself a few days to adjust to the food in Vietnam and ease your way into the cuisine. A good food to start with is the delicious Banh Mi sandwich.
Once used to the food in Vietnam, it is an amazing cultural experience to try the different dishes that the country has to offer. Kids normally like the fresh fruit as well as the spring rolls and Pho noodle soup. If you have picky kids, then don't worry. Almost every restaurant in Vietnam has some western options like French fries and pizza.
One important precaution is to be careful with the water from street stalls or cheap restaurants. Water from the tap is not safe to drink, and it is a good idea not to drink too many iced drinks or eat too many iced treats. It is also important to wash and dry fruit that cannot be peeled, before eating it.
Full-coverage travel insurance for everyone in the family is a good idea to have as a safety precaution. For people who need to take medication regularly, it is important to bring enough to cover the length of the trip and some extra, just in case.
Vietnam has many pharmacies, but it is difficult to find the same dosage and brands. If at any time, it is necessary to purchase medicine from a Vietnamese pharmacy, it is a good idea to stick to brands you recognize, just to be safe.
The tropical climate in Vietnam can have strong effects on travelers who are not used to the Southeast Asian weather. It is important to bring sunblock to protect your skin from burns and also to use mosquito repellent whenever outside at night or near the jungle.
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