Top places to visit in Vietnam for a Family Vacation

18, November, 2014

Top places to visit in Vietnam for a Family Vacation

Vietnam's endlessly diverse landscape, culturally rich attractions, and welcoming, hospitable citizens make it a great destination to explore. However, you don't have to be a backpacker to visit Vietnam. In fact, Vietnam, it turns out, is a great country to take yourself – and your family – on vacation to.

That doesn't mean all of Vietnam is equally ideal for families, however. With that in mind, we've put together some of the best areas in Vietnam for families and advice for those visiting them. 

Things to Know
Vietnam is a generally safe country in terms of crime, but it can unwittingly be dangerous if you don't know how the country operates. For instance, major cities such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City have their fair share of danger and, while mostly safe, are probably not best suited to travelers with young children. Driving, too, is utterly chaotic, and great attention must be paid when on the roads or trying to cross them; even though you won't be driving yourself, you'll want to ensure that you and your family are sufficiently covered against injuries and accidents – it's unlikely anything will go wrong, but you'll be grateful you're protected once you see the roads.

You'll most likely need to acquire a visa in order to be admitted into the country. Check if you need one and, if you do, apply as early as possible as they can take a few days to be processed if you don't opt for the expedited service. If you're arriving via the air then you're able to obtain a visa on arrival. Basically, it's better to check ahead of time as the rules can change.

One more thing: if you're western, you might find yourself the center of attention amongst locals. It's not threatening, just a happy interest in someone who is obviously from a different culture. However, while you might understand that, your children might not. Keep them close to you and explain to them that it’s normal and that the person talking to them is friendly. They might want to take a photo, in which case it's entirely up to you whether or not you comply, but it would be courteous to do so.

Where to Go
Where you decide to take your family will naturally depend on what your collective interests are. It may be a beach holiday or a cultural city. Either way, it's necessary to investigate the destination a little more; for instance, a beach destination might be better suited to travelers, while a city's attractions may bore little children. Here are a few good destinations for families.

Nha Trang
The popular, picturesque seaside town of Nha Trang is a good destination for families as there are plenty of natural areas to visit and the Vinpearl island theme park. The theme park is only accessible via a cable car or boat, which is an attraction in itself. Elsewhere, there are plenty of swimming pools, sailing, and surfing options to keep the whole family entertained throughout the day. As it's a resort town, there are a large number of restaurants and bars that keep the atmosphere going into the night.

Mui Ne
Mui Ne is another pleasant resort area, which is quieter and less populated than Nha Trang. Because of this, it's easier to get an insight into Vietnamese life as well as have a great vacation. Adults can try their hand at kite-surfing, while kids can sled down the high, red sand dunes – that have formed thanks to the ever-present wwinds – or spend the afternoon enjoying 18 holes of mini-golf. As thhere is only a small pharmacy in Mui Ne, it's important to bring any necessary medical equipment with you.

Ha Long Bay
Ha Long Bay is great for families simply because it's the most beautiful part of Vietnam and there are a number of fascinating islands to visit. If you have some disposable income, consider hiring a private boat to visit some of the most popular islands, which are Ban Sen, Cat Ba and Quan Lan; the kids are sure to enjoy the journey through another worldly part of the earth they're unlikely to have seen anything like before, while the various islands give a sense of exciting adventure. However, though the water might be inviting, it's not recommended for swimming as some cruise lines dump their rubbish into it. (this is a freelance contribution sent in by site reader Sally Faith)