While traveling to Vietnam for business, my family had a fantastic opportunity to join me in Vietnam a week after and spend an amazing holiday both in Ho Chi Minh and Nha Trang. Turned out that traveling to Vietnam with kids is easy as there are lots of family-friendly activities and resorts.
In this article, we will share with you the very best things to do in Vietnam with kids, tips & tricks, things you should be aware of, a budget that you should plan, things we recommend doing in Nha Trang and Ho Chi Minh with kids, and activities that did not work for us. So, let’s go then!
- Where to go to Vietnam with kids?
- How to travel around Vietnam with kids?
- When is the best time to visit Nha Trang and Ho Chi Minh with kids?
- How dangerous is the sun in Vietnam and what protection is required?
- Things to take to the Vietnamese beach for kids
- Do Vietnamese speak English?
- How are Vietnamese people?
- Food in Vietnam
- Things to do in Nha Trang
- Things to do in Ho Chi Minh with kids
Where to go to Vietnam with kids?
Is Vietnam for families? Absolutely!
But the first thing that you should decide on is most likely your itinerary. This depends entirely on what you want to achieve from your Vietnam family holiday, how much time you have, and, of course, what your kids are up to the most.
Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam located in the north. It is more historical and cultural. You’d be more interested in visiting museums, the centuries-old architecture of Hanoi city, and the rich culture with Southeast Asian, Chinese, and French influences. Hanoi also has an abundance of temples and street food markets.
Ha Long Bay
Just within 2.5 – 3hs, you can visit Ha Long Bay which is an incredible site with gorgeous islands and caves. It usually takes one day to visit Ha Long Bay via boat. You will be able to swim in the sea, kayak around miraculous cliffs, and visit real pearl markets.
Only within half an hour, you are able to visit reputable snake meat and liquor restaurant called Quoc Trieu. It is located in the village of Le Mat. Not only you will be served all kinds of snake dishes, but also you can treat yourself to a live cobra and the wine from its blood.
Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh (former Saigon) is one of the most populated cities in the south of Vietnam. It is more industrial indeed. The majority of the largest companies and commerce are concentrated in Ho Chi Minh (HCMC).
Da Nang is a city in central Vietnam with absolutely gorgeous beaches. Most Vietnamese would recommend visiting Da Nang. It is less crowdy and quite peaceful for a nice beach holiday.
On the contrary, Nha Trang is more of a vibe. You will find lots of Chinese, Korean, and Russian tourists in Nha Trang. This is why most street signs are made in three languages. However, if you would like to dive or snorkel, Nha Trang is your best bet.
Other amazing Vietnamese beaches to consider:
- Phu Quoc
- Con Dao
- Hoi An
- Doc Let
- Ho Coc
- Mui Ne
- Ly Son
How to travel around Vietnam with kids?
The best way to travel in Vietnam with kids is to take a plane. It may sound expensive, but it is one of the cheapest options in Vietnam. Flights from Ho Chi Minh to Hanoi depart every half an hour. Roads are not the best in Vietnam, and it takes ages to get to another city considering the traffic.
It is very easy to book the flight and check-in. The luggage allowance for domestic flights is fairly good. You will be allowed to carry 15 kg of luggage and around 7 kg of a carry-on bag with one small item, such as a handbag, laptop bag, or backpack.
When is the best time to visit Nha Trang and Ho Chi Minh with kids?
We traveled to Vietnam with kids in mid-September. Although the weather forecast showed a 90-100% chance of rain which did upset us a lot, we did not experience any heavy rain throughout our stay in Vietnam.
It may have rained a couple of times in two weeks but only in the afternoon and for a short period of time. At least, it never stopped us from what we were up to at the moment.
The weather in south Vietnam is characterized by two stages: hot and humid or rainy. The highest amount of rain falls from June to September. We loved our stay in September as it was still hot but not deadly hot.
You would enjoy visiting Mekong Delta, Ho Chi Minh City, Nha Trang, Da Nang, and Phu Quoc, particularly from December to February when the weather is more favorable for your long-awaited holiday.
How dangerous is the sun in Vietnam and what protection is required?
Regardless of where you are originally from, please note that the sun in South East Asia is seriously dangerous. By that, I mean that you may get burnt within an hour or two, so the usage of a sun protector is a necessity. Add thick layers every hour including when you are in a swimming pool, ocean, or shade. Wearing hats or caps is important too, especially if you have got thin-type hair.
If you go snorkel, think about which parts will be exposed to the sun during the tour. Because I didn’t and my bump got dark burgundy in no time.
As for the sun protector, get a minimum of 50+, do not get 30. You can buy 70+ and 100+ sun protectors locally in every Vietnamese convenience store. Also, it is a good idea to get Aloe Vera and soothe your skin before going to bed.
Things to take to the Vietnamese beach for kids
As I noted above, the most important and must-take items to the beach are sunscreen protection, hats, and caps. The long-sleeve swimming suit is highly recommended too.
Your kids in Vietnam will spend 90% in the water, so considering a life vest jacket is a great idea. This not only helps your child learn how to swim and endures their stamina, but it also saves their lives from coming waves and lets you always keep an eye on them. Life vests will also give you freedom of movement.
If you don’t have a life vest, you can always get floaties or swim rings.
Vietnamese beaches are sandy, no rocks are involved. However, sand is extremely hot, therefore, it would be wise to take swim sandals or shoes.
For a detailed list, click on the article below that we created especially for you.
Read More: Beach Essentials For Babies And Kids.
Do Vietnamese speak English?
Well, it depends on where you stay. But the answer is negative rather than positive. English is still very limited in use. Rather than hearing things from your guide on the tour, you won’t be able to hold a healthy conversation on the streets of Vietnam and learn more about local culture.
Our communication throughout the entire holiday was down to gestures, numbers, and some single phrases.
How are Vietnamese people?
Vietnamese are very friendly, relaxed, and welcoming people. Despite the language barrier, they may help you to sort things out. Also, this is one of the cultures where grabbing the cheeks of a cute foreign toddler, baby, or foreign child, stroking their hair, and taking photos without asking the permission of a parent/guardian is a norm, even during a pandemic. We did not tolerate such an attitude too much and tried to get distanced from random hands on our child’s face by the end of our journey.
Food in Vietnam
Vietnamese food is beyond delicious. I strongly recommend visiting some Vietnamese restaurants and trying things that may not make a lot of sense when you read them on the menu, for instance, Purple Flower Sticky Rice dumplings, Salmon soft rice paper rolls, a variety of spring rolls, a traditional beef noodle soup Pho Bo, Wok tossed egg noodles or rice with seafood, Vietnamese snails, a range of seafood, including lobsters, oysters, squid, shrimps, etc.
Desserts are quite interesting too. You will see ice cream and fruit platters at almost every restaurant or café. A fruit platter that includes pomelo, oranges, watermelon, and pineapple is healthy for digestive purposes. This is why Vietnamese prefer eating pineapple after having seafood.
Rather than that, you will find lots of lotus seed jam, black grass jelly, and yogurt-type soups with coconut milk inside. This is all quite sweet too.
Depending on where you are, average prices start from 75,000 VND to 250,000 VND. If you would like to get an Australian beef steak, you may pay as much as 1,000,000 VND.
The best restaurants in Ho Chi Minh with kids | Enjoy authentic Vietnamese food
Since my first week in Vietnam was dedicated to a business trip, I had a chance to know Vietnamese traditional food from the other angle. Here are one of the best places I recommend trying out when in Ho Chi Minh with kids.
- RuNam d’Or – a modern French restaurant that serves egg coffee. This coffee novelty is not only something unique but so special and delicious that you will never forget the taste of it.
3 Công xã Paris, Bến Nghé, Quận 1, Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
- Ngon Restaurant – a place where you can enjoy traditional Vietnamese street food. They also include other cuisines, such as Chinese and Japanese.
160 Pasteur, Bến Nghé, Quận 1, Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
- TIB Restaurant has a bit of a history of the Huei dynasty and serves absolutely fantastic Vietnamese dishes.
187 Ter, Hai Bà Trưng, Phường 6, Quận 3, Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
- Ngoc Suong Seafood Restaurant. If you would like to learn what magical dishes can be made using seafood, this restaurant is a must to visit.
106 Đ. Sương Nguyệt Anh, Phường Phạm Ngũ Lão, Quận 1, Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
Things to do in Nha Trang
Nha Trang is a resort located in the south of Vietnam. It takes an hour to get there from Ho Chi Minh by plane. It is also a paradise when traveling to Vietnam with kids.
Here is the list of things to consider.
- Enjoy the swimming pool on the rooftop of your hotel. We stayed at Azura and we had the whole pool to ourselves every day until 10 pm. The water in the pool was an absolute pleasure. We spent more time in the water than outside.
- Enjoy the beach. Again, spending the whole day at the beach is a pleasure indeed. It may be very hot during the first half of the day. You would barely see people on the beach in the morning or midday, they usually come out after 3 pm. Renting two sunbeds cost around 80,000-150,000 VND for a day. The water temperature is one of the best you may ever try, in the evenings it is warmer to stay inside the ocean than outside on the land. We were lucky to swim in the ocean under the scorching sun, short but heavy rain, and of course, in the night under the myriads of stars. You may find lots of tiny super-fast crabs on the shore at the night too.
- Try snorkeling.
- Try diving.
- Buy a day pass to one of the resorts, such as Amiana Resort Nha Trang.
You will feel like you are in paradise enjoying the white sand and infinity pools. Watch our video to get the feel.
- Enjoy the mud bath and massage.
- Visit Vin Pearl Island for a theme park and sea life experience.
- Eat a lot of seafood and try a local lobster.
Where to stay in Nha Trang with family
Azura Gold Hotel & Apartment
Azura is an amazing option for families traveling with kids. It is located in the heart of the resort with an amazing sea view. Simply by crossing the road you will appear at the beach. Nearby there are local stores, a superstore where you can do groceries or buy fresh tropical fruit; there are Starbucks and other coffee shops, luxurious restaurants at the beach with relaxing tents and hammocks, a series of snorkeling and diving centers, as well, as the main street filled with local budget or fairly reasonable restaurants to eat out.
Azura has exceptional service, we were absolutely in love with Ms. Sun. The top floor has a small open-air pool and gym area. The pool works until 10 pm at night. Because the pool is not covered with a roof, the water is the most pleasant and warmest I have ever been to. We literally spent the whole time in the pool or the beach.
Things to do in Ho Chi Minh with kids
There are plenty of things to do in Ho Chi Minh City but remember it is a working hub. You will experience incredibly heavy traffic, loud streets, crowds, and sometimes a lack of communication in English.
For holiday purposes, we have chosen Nha Trang. We recommend spending two to three days in Ho Chi Minh City to see the culture, try traditional Vietnamese morsels, and dive into Vietnamese culture by visiting Mekong Delta for a day.
A day tour of the Mekong Delta
We have booked it online with no problem. A bus will pick you up and drive approximately a 1.5hs to a destination with a guide who will tell you a little bit about Vietnamese history, culture, and traditions. During this tour, you will visit a temple with giant Buddhas, get on a boat where you will be treated to a fresh coconut drink from the coconut, and enjoy visiting various islands and villages to immerse yourself in the real Vietnamese world.
This is quite an interesting show that is performed on water. You won’t be able to understand Vietnamese, but you will get an idea and learn a lot about Vietnamese culture. Besides, it is very interactive and fun to watch.
Ben Thanh market
Ben Thanh market is one of the most famous central markets in Ho Chi Minh where you can find all kinds of souvenirs for your family, relatives, and friends; get some unique fruit, such as longans, yellow mango, giant avocados; and try some authentic street food.
Snap Café and the area
We enjoyed the area and Snap café a lot, to be honest. It is quite a foreign-orientated area with lots of international retailers, lounge areas with a pool, restaurants, and coffee shops. There are also great toy stores for kids.
Snap café is the place where you can relax for a day before taking the flight back, or after you land. It has numerous tiny shops to visit, a Thai food restaurant, and an amazing restaurant for kids with a huge sand pit and playground. The kids’ menu is very impressive and includes healthy good-size dishes.
Suoi Tien Theme Park
This is an amusement park along with a water park. If you stay in the city center, it will cost you around $15 USD to get there by cab. Unfortunately, it didn’t impress us, and we were left quite disappointed by the management. The amusement park is quite outdated, with lots of construction going on, crocodile park is hard to look at. We visited the place when the water park was closed, and nobody could speak any decent English to get us around.
At the entrance, you will be offered to buy package deals which will include a series of events, but the reality is that they don’t cover even 10% of what is offered in the park, so you are left with paying for every slide, or carousel.
Dam Sen Water Park Saigon
This is the only real water park in Ho Chi Minh City. Again, the quality and service are not as good. If you have been to the water park before and are spoilt for choices, perhaps this place won’t impress you as much. But if you are stuck in the city during burning hot weather, this water park is a good place to cool off.
Cu Chi Tunnels
Finally, well-known tunnels are located about 70 km away from Ho Chi Minh City. These tunnels are 250 km long and are listed as one of Vietnam’s most historic landmarks of the war.
They are hard to find, and they are quite narrow indeed. Some of the tunnels where tourists are allowed to enter were widened to make sure everybody can fit in. However, some adults get anxious about how dark and narrow it is under the ground. Make sure this type of excursion is for your family.
We did not visit Cu Chi Tunnels due to the whole concept.
Cu Chi Wildlife Rescue Station
If you happen to visit Cu Chi Tunnels, don’t miss out on a wildlife rescue station that is located within the area. You will find a variety of animals, such as bears, wild cats, gibbons, turtles, and birds, and learn how to take care of them all.
Where to stay in Ho Chi Minh with kids
We stayed in two hotels.
Sheraton Saigon Hotel & Towers
Sheraton is a 5-star option that has absolutely everything you need. There is a pool, SPA, and gym. The hotel is located in the heart of Ho Chi Minh, you have two fabulous restaurants right on the corner. Everyone speaks decent English in the hotel, and the staff is extremely friendly. Breakfasts are a must-to-try. The variety of food is incredibly rich.
Orchids Saigon Hotel
Orchids Saigon Hotel is rather a budget version. The pool is located on the top floor and is covered with the roof, this is why the water is quite cold. The pool is not pre-heated. Breakfasts are very nicely and orientated more to the traditional Vietnamese type. However, you may ask for a cappuccino and omelet too. Reception is very helpful. The rooms are nice, clean, and spacious. There is no problem to leave your luggage whilst you are visiting the beach resort, even after you have checked out. This service is free of charge.
In a summary, it is a very good choice to stay in.
We wish you have a fantastic trip in Vietnam with kids!
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