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Embarking on a family trip to Vietnam in April 2017, we journeyed from north to south, taking in the country’s stunning landscapes and rich culture. From rice fields and mountains to sea, beaches, caves, national parks, temples, and old palaces, Vietnam is a treasure trove of experiences. Not to mention, the food is absolutely terrific. Here, we share our top 7 fun things to do in Vietnam with kids.

Top 7 Family-Friendly Activities in Vietnam

1. Water Puppet Show

Escape the heat and immerse yourself in an ancient tradition with a water puppet show. This fun activity is a hit with kids and is well-known among tourists. The show is accompanied by an orchestra and singers, providing a feast for the ears. Even though the story is told in Vietnamese, the music and puppets make it universally understandable. The most renowned show is the Thang Long Water puppet show in Hanoi.

2. Explore Sapa

At first glance, Sapa might not seem like the ideal destination for kids, but our children (aged 5 and 8) considered this the highlight of our holiday. We booked a two-night hike with an overnight stay with locals in the mountains. Sapa is famous for its rice fields and its inhabitants. We covered a total of 14 km in two days, and our kids enjoyed every moment of it.

3. Cruise in Ha Long Bay

Ha Long Bay, one of the 7 wonders of the world, is an absolute must-visit when in Vietnam with kids. We booked a two-day cruise, which included frequent stops for activities such as cave exploration, beach visits, kayaking, swimming, and visiting a floating village by rowing boat. The sight of 2000 rocks emerging from the sea is simply breathtaking. All meals are included in the cruise package, with drinks payable at the end of the tour.

4. Discover the Fairytale-like Imperial Palace in Hué

The Imperial Palace in Hué is a place that will make your kids feel like they’ve stepped into a fairytale. This enormous domain, once the residence of imperial families, is one of the oldest structures in Vietnam. Conveniently, Hué has a small airport just 20 minutes from the city.

5. Experience the Charm of Hoi An

Visiting Vietnam isn’t complete without spending a few days on the beach. We chose Hoi An for its cozy town atmosphere and colorful lanterns that illuminate the streets at night. Most hotels and B&Bs offer free bikes for guests to explore the city, where traffic is less hectic than in Hanoi. Hoi An is also famous for its custom-made clothes, making it the best place in Vietnam for a tailored dress or suit. It’s worth noting that Hoi An is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. However, winters can be rather cold, too chilly for beach visits. The nearest airport is in Da Nang. After our trip to Hué, we hired a private chauffeur to Hoi An, stopping at picturesque spots like the Marble Mountains and Lang Co beach.

6. Explore the Less Touristy Mekong Delta

We stayed in Ben Tre, a less touristy part of the Mekong Delta. From our hotel, we booked a private tour that included cycling past coconut trees, delightful boat trips, and visits to a coconut factory, brick factory, and rice paper factory. These small, local businesses are definitely worth a visit. Along the way, we encountered pristine nature and authentic small villages. Don’t miss out on trying the local coconut sweets! This is a must-do if you’re visiting Vietnam with kids and was certainly our favorite.

7. Learn History at the Cu Chi Tunnels

In Ho Chi Minh City, we booked a tour through the Cu Chi tunnels. While it might not be the first thing you think of doing with kids, we wanted to educate ours about Vietnam’s history. During the Vietnam War, communists used these tunnels to hide from Americans during the day and often launched attacks at night. You can experience what it was like living in these tunnels by taking short walks through them. In many locations, you can still see large craters in the ground left by bombings. After the Cu Chi tunnels, we visited the War Museum, which displays horrific pictures from during and after the war. We don’t recommend this museum for kids due to these images. For more ideas, check out this article on Ho Chi Minh daytrips.

Why Vietnam Should Be on Your Family Adventure Bucket List

If you’re a fan of adventurous travel with your children, Vietnam should definitely be on your bucket list. For more inspiration, check out these top places to visit in Vietnam. Vietnam is also a perfect backpacking destination. Don’t forget to read these backpacking Vietnam tips and these tips about travelling Vietnam before you go.

About the Author

This article, “7 Tips for Vietnam with Kids, from Crawling Through Tunnels to Sailing Ha Long Bay,” is written by Zoë. Zoë moved to Kuala Lumpur with her family in 2016 when her husband was offered a position in tech in Asia. Formerly a teacher, Zoë is now a stay-at-home mum. Zoë and her husband have two children, Jules (2008) and Lily (2011), who attend an international school. They try to explore as much of South East Asia as they can during school holidays and long weekends!


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