Visiting Vietnam With Children: A Family Guide

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Visiting Vietnam is a great family vacation option because the cities have a large variety of fun activities with high quality, affordable accommodations for families on any budget.  Below you’ll find top suggestions for things to do with your family in Vietnam in addition to suitable accommodation recommendations that offer adjoining rooms and swimming pools. Knowing the type of activities that the country offers and what kind of accommodation options are available will make planning your family vacation to Vietnam much easier.

Vietnam for families
Vietnam is a great destination for creating family memories that will last a lifetime. (Source: hanoivoyages.com)

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

(Click on the links below to jump directly to the section you would like to explore)

  1. Planning a Family Itinerary (Where to Go, What to Do)
  2. Best Hotels for Families
  3. How To Get Around Vietnam Cities With Your Family
  4. Where To Eat in Vietnam With Your Family (Street Food, Restaurants)
  5. Interacting With The Locals
  6. Keeping Your Children Healthy

Should I Hire A Travel Agent to Plan My Vietnam Family Vacation?

Some families may opt to use the services of a travel agent to help coordinate the logistics of their Vietnam trip. It can save a lot of time and headache, especially when there are so many things that you have to take into consideration when traveling with kids. Kids tend to be picky and are not often as willing to compromise as grown-ups however, so make sure that you work with a travel agent that has a lot of experience in planning family vacations. An easy way to keep you and the kids happy during a trip to Vietnam is to plan activities that are ‘hands-on’ but still appeal to both the younger and older crowd. No travel agent will understand the kinds of places and activities your family likes as well as you do though so no matter how your itinerary is being planned, make sure you have a big say in it.

For family travelers that want to save a bit of money, we are confident that you can plan a great Vietnam vacation for your family with the help of the many trip planning guides you can find on this site. 

What are the best places in Vietnam for a family?

Vietnam is positively packed with interesting and unique tourist locations with so much to see that many family travelers try to fit in too many places into their Vietnam itineraries. Due to it being more complicated and expensive to get from one place to another for bigger groups, we recommend that families traveling to Vietnam stick to destinations in either South or North Vetnam rather to trying to cover the entire country in one trip. Trust us, there will be more than enough to see either way. We have provided a couple of sample itineraries below for north and south Vietnam respectively with the number of days you should consider staying in each city.

Tourism cities in Vietnam
From north to south, Vietnam is full of diverse cultures and stunning natural beauty; an excellent place for families to explore. (Source: nam-viet-voyage.com)

South Vietnam Itinerary for families

City/RegionWhat to ExpectRecommended Stay (Assuming 2 weeks total)
SaigonStreet food; shopping; a thriving metropolis3-5 days
Mekong DeltaBoat rides through mangrove forests; rural villages; lots of agriculture1-2 days
Phu QuocBeautiful beaches; peaceful island life; fishing villages; 5-star resorts2-3 days
Mui NeLots of natural beauty; sand dunes; beaches; a sleepy town2-3 days
Nha TrangThe premier resort town in Vietnam; seafood; world-class beaches; an amusement park2-3 days
Hoi AnA charming town; amazing countryside; ancient landmarks; beaches; shopping4-6 Days

North Vietnam Itinerary for families

City/RegionWhat to ExpectRecommended Stay (Assuming 2 weeks total)
HanoiTraditional Vietnamese culture; ancient landmarks; cuisine; shopping; a thriving metropolis4-5 Days
Halong BayBay cruises; caving; kayaking; floating villages1-2 Days
SapaTrekking; meeting colorful hill tribes; stunning vistas2 days
Ninh BinhBoating on spectacular waterways; temples; caves; mountain paths1-2 days
DanangA big city with a slower pace of life; beaches; Bana Hills amusement park1-2 days
Hoi AnSee above4-6 days

Keep in mind that the weather in Vietnam is incredibly varied not just by latitude but also by time of year.  It can get quite miserable at certain times of year depending on the time of the year and the last thing you want is to be stuck somewhere that is blazing hot or currently in typhoon season.  Please note that many parts of Vietnam are consistently hot so prepare your kids for what to expect because children can be less resilient to weather that they are not accustomed to.

Saigon flooded street
Vietnam’s rainy seasons can get pretty intense, so be sure to research when or when not to go. (Source: rainyseason.info)

What are the best things to do in Vietnam for a family?

Every city in the tables above has many options for families looking for entertainment. Check out our post about activities to do in Vietnam with kids for some ideas. The post includes listings for specific activities in most of the cities mentioned above, plus ideas for rainy day activities. We have also summarized some of our favorites activities in Northern Vietnam, Central Vietnam and Southern Vietnam below:

Northern Vietnam

Halong Bay is a great spot for family-friendly adventure in Vietnam.  During most cruises in Halong Bay, there are plenty of opportunities to kayak in the bay, swim in the ocean, lay on the beach, go squid fishing or take cooking classes.  Some cruise lines are more family-friendly than others.  Bhaya, Au Co, and Indochina Sails have some of the biggest decks, giving your kids plenty of space to run around.  Paloma cruises offers the Paloma Family Cruise, which is a private cruise with a 6-person capacity.  The tour can be more catered to your family’s individual needs if the standard activities don’t appeal to you.  Some cruises also have adjoining cabins with a connecting door so you can stay accessible to your kids – Jasmine cruises, Paloma cruises, and Starlight cruises are some of the companies that offer adjoining cabins.

Hanoi, being the capital of Vietnam, has many museums and landmarks that you can visit.  If that gets a bit dry for some members of your family, you can take a trip to the Bat Trang pottery village where everyone in the family can paint a piece to take home.  Your kids might also like “toy street” in Hanoi, located on Luong Van Can street.  If you want to enjoy some open space, the parks near Hoan Kiem lake are usually not too crowded and there is plenty of room for kids to run around.

Central Vietnam

The culture and environment of central Vietnam can be quite diverse from city to city.  Along the Vietnam coast, you will have many opportunities to enjoy water sports.  Nha Trang is famous for scuba diving and Mui Ne is known for windsurfing and parasailing.  If your family enjoys water sports, we recommend visiting these destinations.  Nha Trang also has the Vinpearl amusement park which can be a fun activity to enjoy as a family.  To get to the park, you take an impressive gondola ride, which is one of the longest gondola rides over water in the world.  In contrast to Nha Trang and Mui Ne, Hoi An is a much more relaxed town and is a place to experience a different city vibe in Vietnam.  That being said, it is a very historically rich town (and therefore, very tourist-friendly) so if you and your family need a break from the hustle and bustle of life in Vietnam, Hoi An is a great place to visit.  Visiting the countryside near Hoi An is also a great option and many tours offer the opportunity to float down canals in small bamboo fishing boats.  You can also engage in some cultural activities like taking lantern-making classes or taking a bike tour to the surrounding villages.

Southern Vietnam

One of the biggest appeals of Ho Chi Minh City is the bustling and chaotic nature of the city.  If you want to take some time away from the chaos, we recommend visiting Dam Sen Water Park or Suoi Tien Amusement Park.  Both places have plenty of rides, attractions, and activities geared towards children and is a great way to keep them active during your vacation.  Dam Sen Water Park is, as the name states, an aquatic-themed park with lots of themed water slides and pools for kids to play.  It is not too far away from the centre of town and the admission to the park is based on height. Suoi Tien Amusement Park is a Buddha themed amusement park which may seem strange but is a lot of fun for kids.  Besides the rides and activities, they have shows, go kart rides and boat rides.  This amusement park is about 30 minutes outside of town.

Best Hotels in Vietnam for Families: Where to Stay

There are two features that every family traveling to Vietnam should look for in their choices of accommodation: adjoining rooms and a swimming pool.

Beach hotel for kids and families
There are lots of family-friendly hotels and resorts in Vietnam for every price range. (Source: hotelsandleisure.com)

There are lots of hotels in Vietnam that are not equipped with family-friendly facilities, which from the horror stories we often read online, can surely make or break your trip. Luckily, with online reviews we can also easily discover accommodations that are a great fit for families. To help you select the best ones for your family, we’ve rounded up some of the top-reviewed hotels with adjoining rooms and a pool in Vietnam’s major cities.

Please note that the prices shown in the table are only for a standard room. The prices are purely meant to give you a feel for the general prices of the hotels compared to each other. The nightly costs of the family-friendly rooms will most likely be higher than the basic room cost shown. Please also keep in mind that Vietnam hotel prices tend to fluctuate greatly depending on the season.

City/HotelStar RatingCost/NightNeighborhood
Hanoi
Tirant Hotel464-95 USDOld Quarter
The Lapis Hotel4.556-232* USDResidential Hoan Kiem Area
Ann Hotel4.569-144 USDStudent area -- street food center
Oriental Jade Hotel599-414 USDOld Quarter
Somerset Grand Serviced Apartments4.5104-200* USDUpscale tourist area
Hoi An
Gem Riverside433-133* USDCam Nam Island, 5-minute drive from old town
CIC Hoi An Villa222-41* USDOutside of the main town
Atlas Hotel Hoi An439-138* USDOld Town
Anantara Resort5217-421 USDOld Town Riverside
Beachside Boutique3.551-185* USDThe Beach Side of Hoi An
Green Heaven Resort and Spa443-91 USDHuynh Phuc Khan Square -- Night Market Area
Saigon
Beautiful Saigon Boutique331-62* USDBackpacker Street
Sunland Hotel3.549-133* USDRiverside Nightlife Area
Novotel Saigon Center4119-221* USDIndependence Palace and Parks
The Myst Dong Khoi5182-293 USDMarina District
Yen Silverland4127-174 USDIndependence Palace and Parks
The Reverie5272-670 USDNguyen Hue Promenade
Saigon Prince4150-274 USDNguyen Hue Promenade
Sherwood Suites4.5110-224* USDIndependence Palace Area

Best Ways To Get Around Vietnam Cities with your Family

To take advantage of all the things Vietnamese cities offer your family vacation, you need a way to get around quickly and safely. Some of the most effective ways are listed below.

  • Walking

A fantastic way for families to see what each Vietnamese city has to offer is by lacing up their boots (or more realistically, slipping on their sandals) and hitting the pavement. There is no better way to get an authentic glimpse into Vietnamese life.

Unfortunately, many of Vietnam’s streets are ill-suited for walking. The sidewalks can be narrow to nonexistent, dirty, and riddled with potholes. To make matters worse, motorbikes might be whizzing by just inches from you or even driving up on the sidewalks themselves if the road is congested. Additionally, walking can be hot and tiring endeavor (especially in the southern part of the country), so this might not be a viable option for families with very young children or older travelers.

Vietnam walking streets
On many of Vietnam’s city streets, the sidewalks are completely blocked off by motorbikes, trees, and storefronts. (Source: Guideofvietnam.blogspot.com)

While the streets in Vietnam are not comparable to the walking streets in most first world countries in terms of upkeep and cleanliness, we have listed some of the best walking streets in each of the major Vietnam cities below.

Best walking streets in Hanoi

Hanoi is a very dense city, especially in the Old Quarter, so it can be difficult to find places where you can walk freely without having to worry about the traffic. To combat this problem, the city has established some walking streets in the city center that are closed to motorized vehicles from Friday evening to Sunday night. The streets closed off to vehicles are Dinh Tien Hoang, Hang Khay, Le Thai To, Le Lai, Le Thach, Tran Nguyen Han, Dinh Le, Nguyen Xi., Trang Tien, Lo Su, Hang Dau, Luong Van Can, Hang Bai, Bao Khanh, and the promenade around Hoan Kiem Lake. The entire area is thronged with storefronts and street vendors offering shopping opportunities and street foods galore.

Family hanoi
There are a lot of open areas like this one in Hanoi that are great for walking with the whole family. (Source: spoton-vietnam.com)

Best walking streets in Hoi An

Hoi An is often described as one of the best walking towns in all of Asia. Almost every street you’ll find there is comfortable enough for walking, but let’s focus on some of the very best. During the day, Tran Phu, Nguyen Thai Hoc, Nguyen Phuc Chu, and Bach Dang are clean, safe walking streets with plenty for families to explore together. In the evenings, the city closes a few streets off to motorized vehicles. The streets are Tran Phu, Cong Nu Ngoc Hoa, and part of Nguyen Hue. They are lined with cool shops and are frequented by street vendors selling kid-friendly items like locally-made candy, fresh ice cream, sticky rice cakes and even toys. You also shouldn’t miss the opportunity to walk over the Bridge of Lights, which is lit up with many-colored lanterns in the evening or the extremely pretty Thoai Ngoc Hau on the other side of the bridge. Thaoi Ngoc Hau street is also lined with bars for parents who’ve had a long day keeping the vacation on-track.

Best walking streets in Saigon

Saigon is much more spread out than other Vietnamese cities, so good walking streets are not found in one small area like in Hanoi or Hoi An. For example, Bui Vien and Pham Ngu Lao are good walking streets in the backpacker area, especially for adults or older children who appreciate vibrant nightlife. Ton Duc Thang is a very scenic walk that goes along the city’s main harbor. And Nguyen Hue is arguably the city’s best walking street, as the center of the wide avenue is a promenade blocked off to traffic.

Saigon's best walking street
Marvelous Nguyen Hue walking street in Saigon (Source: justgoia.com)

Even when you’re not on one of these walking streets, the roads in Vietnam are actually not dangerous for pedestrians if you know some basic rules for navigating the haphazard trafficIt is a good idea to keep the kids in your group in between the adults while walking. While crossing the street, we recommend everyone to cross the street in a tight group while following the lead of the locals. It will be easier for traffic to navigate around you that way. Be alert and cautious, yet definitive in your movements and you all should be fine.

 

Using Grab Car (like Uber for Southeast Asia)

Grab Car is the most convenient option for families to zip between points quickly and comfortably. As long as someone in your group has a phone with a data connection, they can set up an account and book a ride to a selected location like with Uber. The app is easy to use, and you shouldn’t have to wait more than a few minutes for your driver to pick you up after booking.

Most Grab Cars are four-seaters, but the app offers an option to upgrade to a seven-seater for a very small fee. Make sure to utilize it if you are family traveling with more than three people.

Saigon ride hailing
Most Grab Cars are not marked like this one, but the service is nearly always excellent. (Source: Asiaone.com)

Unlike a traditional taxi, the Grab app will show the price of your ride when you book. This will keep you from being overcharged. Taxis that try to rip off family travelers are actually a fairly common scam in Vietnam, so you should definitely use Grab instead if you are able to.

By the way, don’t expect working seatbelts. This is a rule in pretty much all Vietnamese cars. It’s possible the reason for this is that, since cars are so much bigger than 90% of the vehicles on the road, the passengers are very unlikely to be injured even in the event of a collision.

Using Vietnam Taxis

Taxis are still a good option for families who want to travel in comfort but are unable to use Grab, either because they do not have a smartphone or because of time constraints. Anyway, they are still extremely cheap compared to taxis in most Western countries. See the taxi price guide in our Vietnam trip planning guide for more exact numbers, but don’t expect to pay more than a few dollars for an inner-city ride. To avoid scams, remember to stick to “safe” taxi providers, such as “Mai Linh” and “Taxi Group” in Hanoi or “Mai Linh” and “Vinasun” in Saigon.

Saigon untrustworthy taxi
To avoid scams, its best to avoid taxis apart from the top-reviewed providers in a city. (Source: Vietnamcoracle.com)

Hiring A Car

Traveling with the whole family is already pretty stressful, especially if you have young kids to keep safe. It can be a godsend to eschew the hassle of needing to find a ride whenever you want to go somewhere new, and instead to have a driver who is waiting to take you where you want to go. Having your family’s own personal driver during the vacation is, of course, more expensive than other methods of transport — expect $50-70/day.

Using Cyclos (Spoiler: not really transportation)

Cyclo rides are purely about the experience. They are slow, and definitely not a good way to get your family where they need to go efficiently. XO does not recommend them at all, in fact, because there are a lot of cyclo scams in Vietnam. If you’re really intent on experiencing a cyclo ride though, book through your hotel or a reputable vendor to remain safe.

Vietnam cyclos
Lots of families enjoy cyclo rides purely for the ambiance. (Source: our3kidsvtheworld.com)

Family Traveling from city to city in Vietnam

When traveling in between cities as a family, we highly recommend taking planes or trains rather than going by car or bus. Often times, roads in remote stretches are not very developed and can be treacherous.  Also, the journey by car or bus tends takes much longer than normal, even for distances that would not seem particular far in more developed countries, because road vehicles in Vietnam tend to travel quite slow due to poor road conditions and dense traffic, and the long and bumpy ride can be very frustrating for children.  Fortunately, most cities, even small ones, have airports so very few places in Vietnam are inaccessible by plane.  As for overnight trains, they are also quite safe.  If you are a family of more than 4, you will have to split between two cabins as one cabin only holds 4 people.

Where to eat in Vietnam with your Family

Food is one of the top things that many travelers think about when a trip to Vietnam is mentioned. That is for good reason; both the street food and restaurant scenes in Vietnamese cities are worthy of their global reputation.

Street Food

Vietnam’s street food is absolutely incredible. The variety of culinary delights is huge and flavorful, and eating out at street-side venue is just as entertaining as it is delicious. Although many children are not adventurous eaters, the pure excitement of the local food scene is quite an experience in itself and should keep even the youngest in your family engaged. They’ll drink in the vibrancy of the street culture as eagerly as the smoothies and fresh-squeezed fruit juice served alongside the healthy, hearty foods. For a better overview of why Vietnam’s street food is so special, take a read of our Vietnam street food culture primer.

If you’re a parent of a child that is very picky about what they eat and you’re worried that the street food in Vietnam will be too strange for your family, rest assured that there are many Vietnamese street food dishes that are very non-confronting and familiar-looking to what you might find in a typical Asian restaurant in your own country. Phở noodle soup (beef or chicken) for example can easily found in most places. Mì quảng is a colorful noodle dish from central Vietnam that is as delicious as it is pretty. Gỏi cuốn (fresh spring rolls), and cỏm chiên (fried rice) are some kid-friendly favorites that can easily be found in Vietnam.

Traditional Vietnam food
Phở, a Vietnamese staple, is perfect for not-so-adventurous kids or adults. (Source: fantasea.vn)

There are also a lot of Western specialties, such as xúc xích (hot dogs) or khoai tây chiên (french fries) that have become popular among Vietnamese street food vendors. 

In terms of health and food safety, we wouldn’t worry too much. You and your family should be perfectly fine if you follow our advice on avoiding sickness in Vietnam. In fact, the vast majority of Vietnamese food is by nature very healthy. Vietnamese food, in general, contains less processed ingredients and more fresh vegetables than Western foods. Even growing children will get more than enough nutrients on a Vietnamese street food diet.

savory bun thit nuong bowl
Even sweeter, fattier Vietnamese entrees like bún chả are served with fresh meats and vegetables. (Source: recipetineats.com)

If your family isn’t feeling up to the task of hitting the streets and foraging for street eats yourselves, there are lots of food tours in every big Vietnamese city that can take you to try some of the best street eats. In Saigon, you cannot go wrong joining the world-famous “XO Foodie Tour” which will take you on a whirlwind 4.5 hour tour on scooters driven by English speaking female drivers, and will offer you a chance to try 10-12 local dishes that you most likely would never find on your own.

For travelers that don’t want to get on a motorbike, XO Tours also offers a unique walking food tour in Hoi An called  “Dinner with the Nguyens” that will take you into the Hoi An countryside to meet Vietnamese farmers and even eat in a local home! This one of a kind tour also provides you with a short cooking class and dinner on a private boat.  

If you’re on a tight budget you might consider booking a free student tour such as those run by “Saigon Hotpot” or “Hoi An Free Tour.” Expect these tours to be more loosely organized in comparison to the tours run by professional operators like XO Tours, however, as they are mainly opportunities for the student tour guides to practice their craft. 

Saigon Foodie family tour
Food tours are a great way to taste local street cuisine and get in some family bonding.

Family-friendly restaurants in Vietnam

If your family doesn’t want to eat Vietnamese food 3 times a day and you’re worried about a lack of non-Vietnamese food options, you’re in luck as most cities in Vietnam offer a diverse number of ethnic restaurants. For example, in Hanoi, you can find some of the best Indian food in Southeast Asia and there are some incredible Texas-style barbecue restaurants in Saigon. No matter what type of food you’re in the mood for, you will most likely be able to find it in Vietnam, especially in the bigger cities like Saigon and Hanoi. Many Vietnamese restaurants in tourist areas will offer Western standbys like hamburgers, pizza and steak for families that want to eat both Vietnamese and western dishes.

Below are some restaurants especially well-reviewed by families traveling with kids. All of them have at least some western food options for less adventurous family members.

City/Restaurant NameCuisine (Notes)
Hanoi
ChopsBurgers
Green Farm RestaurantVietnamese (vegan-friendly options available!)
Gia Ngu RestaurantVietnamese
KOTOVietnamese Fusion
Duong’s RestaurantVietnamese Fusion
Hoi An
Lowland RestaurantVietnamese
Chips and FishVietnamese Seafood, much of it prepared in a Western style
Hola TacoMexican (Colorful decoration scheme kids love)
Dingo DeliAustralian
Le CabanonFrench
Saigon
Quán Ụt ỤtAmerican BBQ
Au ParcMiddle Eastern (has a kids play area)
Ben Thanh Street Food MarketA variety of cuisines including Western
Barbecue GardenVietnamese BBQ
Poke SaigonHawaiian

Interacting with Locals When Visiting Vietnam with Children

No matter how you handle the rest of your family’s Vietnam vacation, you won’t be able to have a truly enriching experience unless your family can have positive interactions with locals. Vietnamese people are some of the friendliest, most communal people you’ll ever come across, and they especially love families who are traveling together. Although they are very welcoming, the Vietnamese also have some behaviors and customs would be perceived as very inappropriate in your country and could result in misunderstandings if you and your family are unprepared.

Listed below are a few common types of interactions with the locals that you should be aware of.

  • Inappropriate touching as a way to show affection

Vietnamese people are fascinated by kids, foreign kids in particular.  They show their affection towards kids very freely so your kids will not only get treated really well here, but they will also be touched, prodded, hugged, played with, and generally be adored. Be aware of this and don’t be too alarmed if this happens to your children as it is USUALLY very innocent on the locals’ part. For example, some travelers have mentioned that they were taken aback when a Vietnamese person touched their child’s crotch. Although we do not condone this behavior and it would be considered a crime in many countries, most Vietnamese people see this type of touching as a way to show affection, similar to tussling someone’s hair. If you have very young children, we would make sure to keep a close watch on them when they are interacting with Vietnamese adults. If your child is touched inappropriately we would recommend firmly telling the offender that this type of touching is not appropriate or wanted, however, take into consideration that this type of touching is considered “normal” in Vietnam, so pursuing the situation further with the police would probably not result in any punishment for the offender. Situations like these are RARE, however, so you should not be afraid of bringing your children to Vietnam just because of a few isolated cases. We only mentioned this so that you are aware of the possibility so that you can better protect your children.

Ethnic villager in Vietnam posing with a foreign child
Locals may want to get a picture with your family or with your child. They’re just being friendly, although you can, of course, give a gentle “no” if it makes you uncomfortable. (Source: theobriensabroad.com)
  • Pick-pocketing in tourist areas in Vietnam

Although we definitely recommend interacting with the locals any time you get a chance to, not all the Vietnamese people that approach you are friendly, however. Be cautious that some shady characters may try to take advantage of your friendliness to get closer and pick your pocket. Travelers should be aware of their belongings at all times, and it’s a good idea to keep your money and important documents inside a hidden pocket or in a backpack instead of hanging loose on your person. Also, make sure that your children are not wearing anything valuable that may be easy to snatch.  Even if they are wearing something inexpensive which could mistakenly be taken as a valuable item, leave it off them so they don’t become a target of theft.

  • Learn to say “no” respectfully 

Lots of local vendors, such as market sellers, taxi drivers, and roadside shoe shiners, are extremely persistent, especially with families. To get them to leave your group alone, you need to learn to say “no” firmly but respectfully. Once you say no, avoid making eye contact with the offender. That will usually work. If you tried this and the person is still bothering you, just ignore them completely and keep walking away. Eventually, they will give up.

  • Obtaining help if you get lost in Vietnam

Vietnamese cities are very crowded places and getting separated is definitely a possibility when you’re navigating the crowds. In case this happens, we have provided a form below which you can prepare in advance and give to each member in your family. One side has spaces for the name, parents’ names, nationality, and hotel info of the child, and the other side has spaces for the same info, but it is translated into Vietnamese. Print out the form, fill out both sides using the same information, cut it out, fold it along the bold black line to make the form two-sided, and have your children carry it with them whenever your family goes out.

translation card for travelers in Vietnam
  • Break the ice by learning a few simple Vietnamese phrases

If there’s one thing Vietnamese locals love to see, it’s travelers making a real effort to learn about local culture and language. Learn a few key Vietnamese phrases from the video below. Then, use them whenever you can rather than just when you have to. The second you do, you’ll see a big smile spread over the face of the local you’re talking to. It’s a good way to gain good graces quickly and to feel more immersed in the local culture. You can go the extra mile and learn even more Vietnamese by pointing to objects and asking “cái nay là gì?” (what is this called?) This will show locals you want to learn more, and as a bonus, it is an educational experience for you!

Kids take to languages even more quickly than adults, so be sure to include them when you’re learning some basic Vietnamese phrases. You may be amazed by how quickly they pick up additional vocabulary and grammar while you’re on your trip. Of course, do not force anything, but be sure to give them the opportunity to interact with locals!

Keeping your children healthy in Vietnam

Short vacations can be easily ruined when children get sick, and changing plans is often difficult when you have less flexibility.  Use these tips to keep your kids happy and healthy during your time in Vietnam:

  1. Include Down Time:  As we mentioned earlier, Vietnam can be a very hectic place. That, combined with the heat and pollution, can really wear you and your family down.  Vietnam has so many amazing places to see and explore that it can be easy to go overboard and plan every activity imaginable.  But be sure to include some rest periods so that you and your family don’t fall ill.
  2. We have already mentioned how to find healthy and safe food in Vietnam however you should also keep water safety in mind. This is another big concern when traveling with children.  First of all, please ensure that your family, and kids especially, have received all their recommended shots before coming to Vietnam.  If you have traveled substantially before or have been exposed to this kind of climate, there is a chance that contaminated water may not bother you.  But children often have lower immune defenses so getting vaccinated for diseases that are transmitted by contaminated water are a must.  Once you are here, be sure to drink bottled water only and even brush teeth with bottled water.  Brushing teeth with tap water may not do a lot of damage if your kids do it accidentally but it’s best not to take the risk.  Ice is also usually safe in Vietnam but use your best judgment when ordering cold drinks.
  3. Insect Repellent:  Dengue fever is fairly common in Vietnam, and though it can affect anyone, immuno-compromised people and children are more likely to contract this disease.  What’s more, children are less likely to show restraint when scratching mosquito bites so even if they don’t contract dengue, those bites can become infected easily in the hot climate in Vietnam.  Some areas in Vietnam like the Mekong Delta are quite swampy and mosquito-ridden, so use strong insect repellent with DEET to avoid any issues and bring anti-itch cream with you.
  4. Hats and Long Sleeves:  Both heat and pollution can cause a lot of body stress for children so keep hydrated, bring a hat and breathable material long sleeves if you plan on spending a lot of time outside such as significant beach time or hiking in the hills.
  5. Medicines:  Vietnam has many long and windy roads and even short distances can be nauseating.  Some foods and smells may also give you nausea, even if they are perfectly safe to eat.  Many people comment that the wafting smell of fish sauce or strange meat is too different for children to handle.  Because of this, we recommend that you pack anti-nausea medication and Pepto Bismol.  Note that although you can find these medications here, they are often marked up significantly and special versions specifically for children can be hard to find.

If you found this post useful, check out our illustrated Vietnam trip-planning guide for more general tips, and feel free to drop any additional unanswered questions in the comments section below. Also, we’d love to hear from you after your trip to hear how you and your family felt about it!

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