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Vietnam Holiday for Family

January 22, 2024

Vietnam is quickly becoming a popular holiday destination for families. With its breathtaking natural beauty, fascinating history and culture, delicious cuisine, and generally low cost of living, Vietnam offers an exciting and enriching experience for parents and kids alike. Here is an in-depth look at planning the ideal Vietnam holiday for your family.

Halong Day Cruise

Halong Day Cruise

Who is a Vietnam holiday suitable for families?

Vietnam can be a great place for families with kids of all ages to visit. Here’s a breakdown of how Vietnam appeals to different family demographics:

Young children

  • Lots of opportunities to explore nature, such as beaches, jungles, rice paddies. This allows for active play and exploration.
  • Fun theme parks like Vinpearl Land and Dam Sen Water Park, with rides, slides, and activities.
  • Educational opportunities to learn about animals at places like Cuc Phuong National Park.
  • Outdoor adventures like boating in Halong Bay to delight young kids.
  • Examples reduce scams and safety concerns for very young children.

Older children

  • History lessons brought to life at sites like the Cu Chi Tunnels and Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.
  • Adventure activities like mountain biking, kayaking, ziplining for tweens and teens.
  • Delicious, varied cuisine with lots of dishes that appeal to young appetites.
  • Fascinating culture of temples, villages, and music performances.
  • Shopping opportunities for clothes, souvenirs, street food.

Parents

  • Affordable prices for accommodations, food, attractions make family travel easier.
  • Good transportation infrastructure makes it easy to navigate between destinations.
  • Peace of mind from low violent crime rates and political stability.
  • Comfort of clean, modern cities alongside natural beauty and cultural heritage.
  • Enjoyment of introducing kids to fascinating new places, people and customs.

Grandparents

  • Slower pace of life and Buddhist spirituality provides a calming ambiance.
  • Compact country makes it easy to see a lot without excessive travel.
  • Warm weather and gorgeous beaches are ideal for older travelers.
  • Developing country has accessibility challenges so some places may be difficult.
  • Multi-generational family trips allow bonding across ages and sharing of experiences.

How to Plan Your Vietnam Family Holiday

Planning a family trip to Vietnam does take some preparation and foresight to ensure a smooth, enjoyable experience for everyone. Here are some tips:

Pick the right destinations

With limited time, carefully select which parts of Vietnam to focus on. For families:

  • Major cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City provide cultural sights plus modern conveniences.
  • Halong Bay offers boat tours among breathtaking karst peaks rising from the sea.
  • Hoi An charms with temples, craft shops, cooking classes and nearby beaches.
  • Sapa has stunning mountain scenery, ethnic hill tribe villages and trekking.

Choose family-friendly accommodations

Look for hotels, resorts, or homestays that offer:

  • Adjoining rooms or suites to keep the family together
  • Pools, playgrounds and recreation for kids
  • Cribs, highchairs and other baby gear provided
  • Kids’ clubs with organized activities
  • Family-friendly restaurants with Western menu options

Book some organized tours and activities

Pre-booking some structured adventures takes the guesswork out of figuring out family fun. Consider:

  • Cultural shows with water puppets or AO dai fashion shows
  • Riverboat cruises in places like Ha Long Bay or Mekong Delta
  • Countryside cycling tours, including easy trails kids can ride
  • Water park visits on days you want a relaxing, crowd-pleasing activity
  • Cooking classes where making fresh noodles and spring rolls becomes quality time

Balance free time with learning opportunities

While families need down time, Vietnam also offers many learning experiences. Seek out activities like:

  • Visiting historical sites related to Vietnam War or French colonialism
  • Learning about Buddhism by visiting pagodas and temples
  • Interacting with wildlife like monkeys, elephants and sea turtles
  • Trying hands-on crafts like lantern-making, embroidery, kite-flying
  • Sampling new fruits, dishes and flavours at local markets and restaurants

Prepare essentials to ease family travel

Advance planning takes the hassle out of family trips:

  • Pack medications, first-aid kit, and child health basics in carry-on bag
  • Bring preferred sunscreens, snacks, toys, books and electronics from home
  • Have local currency, power adapters, backup cards/cash, and travel insurance
  • Share all lodging, tour and transportation details with family back home
  • For very young kids, bring a compact stroller for outings requiring walks

Pros and Cons of a Vietnam Family Holiday

Vietnam has many advantages as a family travel destination, along with some aspects for families to carefully consider.

Pros

  • Inexpensive compared to many international family vacations
  • Exciting mix of natural beauty, cultures, history
  • Delicious, family-friendly cuisine with lots of seafood, noodles and fresh produce
  • Generally safe for tourists who take basic precautions
  • Warm climate year-round, with beaches, lakes and pools for swimming
  • Compact country makes it easy to see a lot without excessive travel
  • Vietnamese adore children and give warm welcome to families

Cons

  • Long travel time from North America or Europe
  • Tropical climate means hot, humid conditions
  • Developing nation poses some safety risks like road safety, hygiene, pollution
  • Language barriers can make communication difficult
  • Some family activities require extensive advance planning
  • Attractions not always stroller/wheelchair accessible
  • Health issues like pneumonia, diarrhea more common

Alternative Asian Destinations for Families

While Vietnam is a standout choice in Southeast Asia for families, some other options to consider in the region include:

Thailand

Thailand is the top family destination in Southeast Asia thanks to amenities like resorts with kids’ clubs, easy access to Western food and huge entertainment infrastructure. Coastal areas like Phuket offer lots of water activities. Inland cities like Chang Mai provide cultural sights and interaction with elephants.

Bali, Indonesia

Bali provides a great blend of beach time, adventure activities like surfing and jungle treks, cultural experiences and exotic allure. Areas like Nusa Dua cater specifically to families. The main downsides are long travel times and less budget options.

Singapore

Singapore offers families ultra-modern conveniences, slick attractions like Universal Studios and Gardens by the Bay, exciting food and stellar public transportation. The downsides are the high prices and lack of natural scenery.

Cambodia

Cambodian destinations like Siem Reap and Phnom Penh provide more exotic cultural experiences focused on ancient history and charming towns on the Mekong River. But fewer modern amenities pose challenges for family travel.

Malaysia

Malaysia offers diverse landscapes from modern Kuala Lumpur to Borneo jungles to idyllic islands. Families can enjoy adventures balanced with creature comforts. The mix of cultures also provides an educational experience.

Step-by-Step Guide to Planning a Vietnam Family Holiday

Follow these steps to plan an amazing Vietnam family adventure from start to finish:

1. Determine your budget.

Factor in flights, hotels, food, activities and shopping to set a comfortable daily budget.

2. Pick your destinations and dates.

Decide which cities, regions and attractions you want to see. Avoid monsoon season.

3. Book your flights and hotels.

Look for deals on family packages. Read reviews carefully about family amenities.

4. Research family visa requirements.

Some nationalities need visas for Vietnam. Apply early to allow processing time.

5. Arrange any needed vaccinations.

See your doctor and check official health advisories for recommended shots like typhoid.

6. Purchase travel insurance.

Make sure the policy covers illness, injuries, cancellations and lost baggage.

7. Book desired tours and activities.

Reserve places on key sights like Halong Bay cruises which book up fast.

8. Arrange transportation.

Book airport transfers, trains or domestic flights to ease getting around.

9. Set up your phones and cash.

Unlock phones, get local SIMs if staying long. Have small bills and Vietnamese dong for markets.

10. Pack and share all details with family.

Make checklists of must-have items. Share copies of reservations and program with family.

Tips for an Enjoyable Vietnam Family Holiday

Here are some top tips for ensuring your Vietnam family trip delights kids and adults alike:

  • Slow down the pace. Don’t over-schedule every day, which leads to exhaustion. Leave ample free time.
  • Mix active time with down time. Follow kids’ energy levels for when to explore versus relax at the hotel pool.
  • Research family-friendly restaurants. Scope out places near major sights with menu options kids will happily eat.
  • Have snacks, water bottles, essentials always on hand. Staying fed and hydrated keeps kids’ moods positive.
  • Buy a few new toys/books once on the trip. New stuff prevents boredom when stuck in lines, cars, planes.
  • Accept nap/bedtime may get disrupted. Avoid meltdowns by adjusting rules a bit for vacations.
  • Let kids help plan some activities. Giving them a say engages them in the whole experience.
  • Focus on fun together, not just “education.” Learning happens naturally through new adventures shared as a family.
  • Stay connected with home. Update grandparents on fun stories and pictures so they feel involved too!
  • Talk through any troubles. Discuss openly if any aspects of the trip feel stressful for kids to problem-solve together.

FAQs

What are the top family-friendly destinations in Vietnam?

The cities of Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, Hoi An and Nha Trang along with areas like Halong Bay and Phu Quoc Island have the best mix of activities, sights and amenities for families.

What is the best time of year to visit Vietnam with kids?
The dry season from December to April has ideal weather and fewer crowds than summer peak season. Late spring is very hot. Autumn gets heavy rain.

How should we handle medical care for kids in Vietnam?
Pack a first aid kit, all essential medications and copies of prescriptions. Hotels can recommend trusted English-speaking doctors if needed. Hospital care varies greatly, so assess carefully before committing to any major treatments.

Is the food safe for kids to eat?
Overall hygiene practices are not as stringent as Western nations. Only drink bottled water. Choose busier restaurants. Clean fruit that you peel. Cooked dishes are safer than raw like salads. Only eat street food that is freshly cooked.

What are the top kid-friendly activities in Vietnam?
Boat cruises in Halong Bay, water parks in Nha Trang or Da Nang, bicycling through small villages, lantern making in Hoi An, fruit farms in Dalat, ethnic minority shows in Sapa, and cooking classes focused on spring rolls and noodles.

What safety issues should we watch for with kids?
Hold hands firmly when crossing busy streets. Use child car seats – vehicle safety is more lax. Dress conservatively at religious sites. Follow recommended vaccinations. Carry proof of allergies and health conditions in Vietnamese. Supervise play near water.

Are there amenities like cribs, high chairs, and washing machines?
These vary greatly. More modern hotels cater to kids, but budget stays have fewer amenities. Pack portable options, quick dry clothes, detergent and all baby gear you may need. Scope this out in online reviews when booking.

Can we drink tap water or swim in lakes/rivers in Vietnam?
No, stick to bottled water even when brushing teeth. Avoid raw vegetables. Don’t swim in fresh water areas which can have bacteria/parasites – stick to pools where chemicals treat the water. Practice vigilant hand hygiene.

Is Vietnam very crowded? Will lines be long?
Peak times around holidays and summer months are extremely crowded, especially in the most popular spots. Visit off-season or on weekdays for a less hectic trip. For sights like the Cu Chi Tunnels, arrive early or book tours to skip queues.

Conclusion

With careful preparation and planning focused on your kids’ special interests and needs, a Vietnam holiday promises to provide families with memories that will last a lifetime. The time together exploring ancient and contemporary wonders, immersing yourselves in unique cultures, and bonding over new adventures will pay dividends for years to come. Embrace the experience as a special chance for kids and parents alike to learn invaluable life lessons that a textbook could never teach.

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