Vietnam Family Holiday
Travel broadens the mind; it is an education in itself! As St. Augustine said “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” To travel as a family is even better, shared experiences where the events of the day can be discussed each evening and many more times over in the years to come. There is a country in South East Asia, Vietnam, which is ideal for families. It offers beaches and relaxation between the exciting sights and sounds of exotic cities with historical and cultural gems, great cuisine and beautiful countryside.
Families have a unique bond. It does not mean that they do not argue but there is underlying love and what better way to travel in a group than with people who are the closest to you? Arguably it will bring a family closer together whatever their individual interests. Youngsters may enjoy the great beaches and blue sea as much as anything while there may be the chance to cycle or walk. In contrast the rich history of Vietnam ranging from the presence of the Chinese and French to the war between north and south offers so much to those wanting to absorb the atmosphere of those foreign influences. While parents may find that pagodas and museums are their personal favorites, the Cu Chi Tunnels may well be popular with children. The significance of those tunnels during the war with the USA will certainly be an education to all. Vietnam family holidays bear close investigation because of the sheer variety they offer.
There are two major cities in Vietnam, Hanoi in the north and Ho Chi Minh City in the south. Ideally a Vietnam family vacation will incorporate both north and south while the central region has much to offer, especially on the coast. To do justice to the country it is worth having a couple of weeks available and when it comes to selecting dates it is worth looking at the weather because there are distinct climatic differences in this country that stretches 16 degrees of latitude.
Just a Week in Vietnam
Perhaps it is not always possible to find a couple of weeks but that should not be a reason to dismiss the idea of Vietnam family travel. Even a short break of around a week provides the opportunity to experience the contrasts in Vietnam. Using Hanoi as a starting point there is the City itself, Halong Bay which is now a UNESCO World Heritage site as well as the Sa Pa Terraces up in the northwest near the Chinese border. These things can easily be incorporated into a week and the memories are sure to encourage everyone to return once again and see more of Vietnam.
Typical highlights that all the family should enjoy are:
Hanoi City Tour with its wide tree-lined avenues, temples and pagodas, the Presidential Palace, museums and a host of lakes. There is vibrancy in Hanoi and at every turn there is a sight to see and something new to experience.
Sa Pa is a hill area where locals grow their rice and vegetables on the terraces. There will be a chance to walk in this lovely environment and see how the hill tribes live their daily lives.
Cruising among the many islands of Halong Bay is an experience not to be missed. The Bay is just under 4 hours by road from Hanoi. It has recently been nominated as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.
Recommended activities for family in Vietnam
One of the big advantages of traveling as a family is that individual members are likely to be more confident to tackle something new because they are surrounded by familiar people and hence feel more secure. Vietnam offers a great natural environment that is worth exploring, far away from the hustle and bustle of the cities. There is an excellent opportunity in the northeast of Vietnam to see this environment at its best:
Ba Ba Lake is the Country’s largest natural lake. There are houses on stilts where the Tay live, an ethnic minority within Vietnam. In the immediate vicinity you can explore Puong Cave and view Dau Dang Waterfall and Tien Pond as well of course as cruise on the Lake.
Vietnam’s largest waterfall is Ban Gioc close to the Chinese border.
Nguom Ngao Cave provides a safe way to see stunning stalactites in the limestone mountains. The cool and fresh air is often a very pleasant contrast to hot days outside.
Bac Son Valley is a beautiful green setting where the Tay grow their staple food, rice.
There is no doubt that seeing the rural environment of Vietnam reinforces the quality of Vietnam family holidays and as long as the children are not too young exploring this lovely part of northern Vietnam deserves serious consideration.
If you are as energetic as your children then you might all enjoy trekking but there is more. There is the opportunity for you to get a cycle and enjoy the quieter parts of the Country away from the busy city traffic while if you have not been a kayak or canoe before then perhaps this is the opportunity to have a go; everything perfectly safe.
When you have a country with such a stunning coastline then a Vietnam family holiday with kids demands some time on the beach; there are plenty to choose from and though popular you have no reason to fear too many crowds. Kids have a fascination with sand and sea and sometimes can defy cold weather to enjoy them. Their early experiences with time at the seaside are unlikely to match what they will find on Vietnam family holidays. The Country’s coastline is well over 3,000 kms and there are some beaches of real beauty to enjoy throughout its length.
The most famous coastal location in the north is of course Halong Bay but there are beaches to enjoy as well and perhaps the best is on Cat Ba Island, the largest island in the Bay. The Island is a real experience with wonderful forests, rivers and caves, beautiful valleys and stunning golden sand. There is often a lovely cool breeze. This is certainly a great place to visit and while there sample the seafood.
Central Vietnam has plenty of beaches to enjoy. Nha Trang has rightly earned the reputation as one of the top resorts in the Country. White sand and clear blue seas await and when you look for a destinations for a family holiday in Vietnam then you could certainly do worse than include Nha Trang in your Vietnam family holiday itinerary. It has become a great place for diving and those in the family not keen on that might fancy the world’s longest over water cable car ride; 3.3 km!
The South is equally well-blessed with beaches. Phu Quoc is a small island; jungle with a white sandy fringe where diving is also a real treat. Con Dao islands are fairly secluded though development is now increasing after more people have discovered this great location. The time to go is perhaps between June and September when it may be possible to see the turtles who nest here each year while there is plenty of stunning wildlife such a crab eating macaques and black squirrels.
Make the Time
You will have seen by now that Vietnam is a magical place. While a short break as described above is certainly better than nothing it surely makes sense to find real time to enjoy the Country. After all your Vietnam family vacation will usually be your main annual vacation and so a couple of weeks is not unreasonable.
When it comes to Vietnam family tours you should look to see the whole country and experience the contrasts between north and south with the central region, coastal and inland being different again. The best starting point is in the north, Hanoi, the North’s capital before unification and now capital of the whole country. Good tour companies can look after you from your moment of arrival until you go through passport control before boarding your flight home.
You will be delighted to see your tour guide waiting for you as you clear customs; straight to the hotel to relax and refresh yourself. There are days ahead when Vietnam will be introduced to an exotic land with so much to offer that will create memories for all the family. Typically you can expect an itinerary like this with all the transport and accommodation in place:
Sa Pa is likely to be your second destination. You will get there by overnight train from Hanoi. This area is real rural Vietnam in the hills up towards the Chinese border. It is certainly worth spending a couple of days in the region to see how the locals live, growing their rice and vegetables on the terraces.
After returning to Hanoi the next direction is east to the UNESCO World Heritage site OF Halong Bay where a cruise amongst the huge number of islands an absolute ‘’must.’’ Once again an overnight stay allows everyone to really appreciate the area before returning one again to Hanoi.
Hue was the imperial capital in the 19th Century, the seat of Vietnamese royalty. It has a rich history and those who don’t simply want to relax will head out to see the City.
The Coast is stunning and driving between Hue and the old trading port of Hoi An is a chance to see more of the land. If you want to spend a day cycling you can do so or alternatively choose from other local excursions offering cultural, historical or natural experiences.
Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon, is in the south so the best way to get there is to take a short flight. Vietnam family tours are not complete without time in the south where there are the Viet Cong’s Cu Chi Tunnels, so important in the war against the Americans, the city of Ho Chi Minh itself and the Mekong Delta to its west. The Mekong Delta is the bread basket of Vietnam. Many small villages on the Delta are only accessible by boat and you will certainly enjoy cruising on these waters. Perhaps one day you might even like to travel up river from the Delta; if you did the whole thing you would end up in highlands way to the north and pass through several countries.
Phu Quoc Island is a great way to bring a tour to an end. It is a short flight from Ho Chi Minh, an island with lovely beaches, the short of location that travel brochures over decades have used to show paradise in a photograph. You can spend some time there before a return to Ho Chi Minh and the flight home.
That may seem like a fairly hectic schedule and it will take all of two weeks, perhaps a little more but the whole point of stunning locations such as Vietnam Family Holidays can provide is that the atmosphere other than in the bustle of the cities is so relaxing. The people are naturally friendly whether they are the mountain people of the north or the street vendors and traders in the cities. Families can expect a genuine experience which they will remember forever; an absolutely safe environment and an absolute delight. In a relatively short time all the family will improve their education and get a better understanding of a country that has suffered yet rebounded over the centuries to be the wonderful destination that it is today.
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