Gifted with untouched nature, fascinating culture, flavourful food and friendly people, the family vacation to Vietnam is packed with fun and exciting things to do and see for young and old. The family friendly tour includes stunning beaches, cyclo rides, colourful markets and cruising in Ha Long Bay. But, for the most enjoyable time on the family tours, you really want to do your research and organize a vacation that is entirely geared up for the family.
Let's look at some of the most important travel tips for the first time family vacation to Vietnam:
Visa and passport
Before doing anything else you want to make sure that you have the required Visa to enter Vietnam and each member of the family has an in date passport that is valid for at least six months beyond the departure date.
Plan the family trip to Vietnam
A great way to keep the kids entertained while travelling throughout Vietnam is to create the more activity based experience that appeals to both parents and children. Vietnam has plenty of things to do and see that can do just that.
Where to go in Vietnam with kids
Hanoi is the capital city of Vietnam and has plenty of tourist friendly landmarks and museums to visit. But if these cultural sights are unable to maintain the attention of the smaller members of the family, there are other great places to see such as the Bat Trang pottery village where it is possible to get involved with painting a piece of pottery, a visit to Luong Van Can street makes it possible to experience "toy street", while a more relaxing time can be experienced at the wide open local parks situated near Hoan Kiem lake.
Ha Long Bay is in Northern Vietnam and within a relatively short distance of the capital city, Hanoi. This is a great family friendly destination with plenty of things to do that goes beyond cruising the local waters, including squid fishing, swimming in the ocean, relaxed on the beach and kayaking in the Bay. Plus the cave explorations are certain to thrill the children, while those that enjoy nature are certain to appreciate the local natural beauty. Hiring out a traditional junk boat for the day or overnight is a wonderful experience that makes it possible to truly appreciate the beauty and quietness of Ha Long Bay.
Exploring further into central Vietnam gives access to the coastal region with its diverse range of watersport activities. Along the coast, there are plenty of great destinations to visit such as Mui Ne that is famous for its parasailing and windsurfing and Nha Trang is great for scuba diving. Other great attractions include the Vinpearl amusement park that is also in Nha Trang and makes a perfect family friendly destination.
For the more relaxed time the very safe town of Hoi An gives a great opportunity to experience a completely different vibe to life in Vietnam. It is a very tourist friendly town and a great choice for those that love shopping with the option to buy the tailor-made suits, summer dresses or shoes that are made for you there and then. Hoi An has more to offer with is beautiful local countryside that is easily experienced on a tour and gives a chance to cruise the local canals in a bamboo fishing boat. Plus, there are cycling tours that visit the local villages, while cultural activities such as lantern making classes are also readily available.
On arrival in South Vietnam the family gets to experience the chaotic and bustling nature of Ho Chi Minh City. Places to visit in this city include the Cao Dai temple and Cu Chi tunnels. Family friendly historical tours can be organized and certain to appeal to the younger children's imagination. But certain sights should be avoided when travelling with the children, such as the War Museum because of the explicit nature of some of the photography on display. To get a break from city life, other attractions in the local area include the theme parks at Suoi Tien Amusement Park (Buddha inspired theme park with plenty of boat and go kart rides) and Dam Sen Water Park (pools and waterslides for the kids).
A further family friendly destination is the Mekong Delta, which includes plenty of engaging and hands-on activities for younger children, including the canal trips that make it possible to visit fruit candy manufacturing shops and rice paper factories. Plus, there are also speedboat trips in the local area which are certain to be great fun for all family members.
Getting around Vietnam can be quite chaotic, so you want to make sure that you are able to stay safe when travelling with young children in the towns and cities.
Vietnam has plenty of transportation choices, but the most family friendly travel options is the trains or planes when travelling from city to city, instead of using the long-distance bus service. One reason for this is the route by road can be quite remote in areas and very treacherous and not very developed. Plus, the bus journey will be quite slow and bumpy which is certain to leave the children quite tired and frustrated.
However, most of the touristy cities have an airport nearby so there are very few destinations in Vietnam that can't be accessed by plane. Also the overnight tourist trains are relatively safe and comfortable. But, each cabin is only able to accept a maximum of four family members, so any larger travel groups will be split between two cabins. The best way to get the family between local sights is by a taxi rather than using the cyclos or bikes.
Travel with a plan in Vietnam
It is essential to be organized when travelling with children in Vietnam - although it is still possible to include a certain amount of flexibility and without an overly strict scheduled pace.
Booking a hotel, guesthouse, or other family friendly accommodation is essential, especially if planning to travel during the busy season or at the time of a local holiday, such as the Tet holiday. Most of the hotels fill up quickly, so early booking increases the chance of having the preferred style of room and amenities.
For instance, if the children are quite young and you would prefer to keep them in the Vietnam family holiday resorts, many of the hotels have rooms with limited space that doesn't go much beyond the double bed. Booking early can increase your chance of reserving the larger rooms that can accept a child’s bed or cot.
Check on the weather
The climate in Vietnam is incredibly varied by the time of year and also by the latitude. For the Vietnam family tours you want to take a more cautious approach to the weather and avoid the quite miserable typhoon season or the blazing hot summer. But, there are many regions of Vietnam that are consistently hot and humid, especially in the South, so it is important to take this into consideration as children are less resilient to drastic changes in the weather.
The weather will also have an impact on the clothing to bring on the Vietnam holiday. Even though it is very easy to buy clothes on arrival in Vietnam, there may be difficulties for those travellers that are over 5'9" who may find that it is necessary to go to the upmarket and more expensive stores to find suitable clothes. Plus, if planning to visit the temples or other religious buildings with the family expect take along appropriate dress to comply with the local traditions.
Keep your children healthy
Vietnam family travel can easily be ruined if any of your children get sick, so it is essential to travel with safety in mind and include the required downtime and providing enough water to stay fully hydrated.
Travelling around Vietnam at a very hectic pace is certain to be quite tiring which combined with the pollution and heat of the cities can soon wear the family down. Vietnam has so many interesting things to do and see that it is quite easy to go overboard and organize a travel itinerary that lets you explore every site imaginable. But to avoid stressing the family, especially the younger members, you want to include rest periods to limit the risk of anyone falling ill.
When travelling with young children who are likely to have lower immune defences, it is important to take water safety seriously, which is possible by only drinking bottled water (and perhaps even brushing their teeth with bottled water). While there is less risk of brushing teeth with the local tap water, you still may want to take every possible precaution to avoid any risks.
Also make sure that all children are given vaccinations for potential diseases that are transmitted via contaminated water prior to travelling.
Like water, it is also important to take food safety seriously when travelling with young children to a foreign country. But with the right smart food choices, it is possible to travel without too much concern. Street food is popular throughout Vietnam and this is usually safe, but caution is still necessary. A dish like Banh mi (mostly bread with a chosen filling) is generally safe for children. Plus, it is very hearty, so able to fill the stomach for longer. For the children that are particularly fussy with food, it may benefit to take along non-perishable food items. Also, there are plenty of cities in Vietnam that include fast food outlets that they are likely to be familiar with such as Burger King and McDonalds.
Interacting with the locals
The Vietnamese people are very welcoming and will show great affection towards your children, which means they will be treated really well on the family travel Vietnam tour.
Protection against the elements
Beyond the food and water causing problems that can impact the children on the Vietnam tour holidays; the natural elements can also be a risk factor that requires a similar level of attention. Vietnam can experience extreme changes in the climate which can bother the younger travellers.
Dengue fever is quite common in Vietnam so an insect repellent is practical to protect against mosquito bites. Also, the smaller children are less able to show restraint against scratching the bites, this significantly increase the risk of infection in the hot Vietnamese climate. A strong insect repellent (including active ingredient DEET) and anti-itch is cream to benefit if planning to explore some of the swampy areas such as the Mekong Delta.
Exploring the cities can cause stress in children because of the pollution and heat so it is essential to stay hydrated, while also wearing a hat and light, long sleeved tops if looking to spend a lot of time outside on the hiking trails or at the beach.
There is no special need to pack a lot of medicines for the family vacation to Vietnam because there are plenty of pharmacies in the cities that can easily sell the normal medicine for an upset stomach or nausea. But, this might not always be so easy for the special children's version of a particular medication because these can be harder to find. Any prescription should be bought by you or at least keep a note of the generic name of the medication which will make it easier to buy locally if required. Other essentials such as baby food and nappies can be easily found in most of the Vietnamese markets or supermarkets.