Our Guide to Vietnam Holidays for Families
Vietnam is a country like no other with each region unique and inspiring. Travel with your family from the south to the north, taking in all that this alluring country has to offer, on a Scott Dunn Vietnam family holiday.
Vibrant bustling cities filled with colonial architecture and ancient temples, food markets selling fresh, zingy food, countryside full of bright green paddy fields and majestic mountains, and pristine beaches with turquoise water. In one little slither, Vietnam packs in so much, all without being too chaotic and crazy. A family holiday to Vietnam opens you and your children up to the warmth and friendliness of the Vietnamese people, and the opportunity to immerse yourselves in their beautiful culture. Read on for our favourite places to stay and things to do when travelling to Vietnam with kids.
Is Vietnam Good for a Family Holiday?
Vietnam is ideal for a family holiday in Asia. A melting pot of cultural influences, yet still completely unique, there is nowhere quite like it. It has tons to offer in terms of heritage and history, you just have to step onto the streets to see it. This is part of what makes the country such an excellent destination for families. It’s not so much about intense sightseeing schedules as it is about experiencing daily life, dipping in and out of pagodas and temples, and whizzing about on scooters to local food stalls or villages.
Direct flights from the UK to Ho Chi Minh take about 12 hours, while you can reach Hanoi via Bangkok, Singapore or Hong Kong. Thanks to good internal flights and trains to take you from north to south, it’s possible to see a lot of the country in a fairly short space of time and combine culture with beach days. You could also tie in a trip to Cambodia and Vietnam together.
Teens will love the energy of Vietnam, not to mention the shopping! While parents of young children, in dire need of some relaxation, should check in to one of the stunning coastal resorts with amazing kids’ clubs and kind nannies ready to look after your babies.
Foodies will also be in their element on a family holiday to Vietnam. Its cuisine is instantly recognisable, although influenced by flavours from its French colonial past and surrounding Asian countries, it has its own iconic identity. There are cooking lessons to be had, markets to visit, and the food is likely to already be familiar to you and your children, making mealtimes less intimidating than other long-haul locations might be. Even fussy eaters will find something they like.
The weather in Vietnam stays consistently warm and sunny throughout the year, and when some parts of the country are rainy, other parts are dry, even in July and August, making it a good option during the UK summer holidays.
Things to Do in Vietnam with Kids
There’s plenty to occupy everyone while on a family holiday in Vietnam, from culture and sightseeing to outdoor pursuits amongst breathtaking landscapes. Here are some of the best things to do in Vietnam with kids.
Visit Cu Chi Tunnels
Travel by boat up the river from Ho Chi Mihn to Cu Chi Tunnels a 155-mile network of underground tunnels used by the Vietcong in the Vietnam War. The tunnels linked schools, homes, and hospitals, creating an elaborate subterranean city that played an influential role in the ultimate victory of the North. Kids will love arriving by boat and it allows you to get there before the crowds do too.
Vespa food tour
This is a real adventure for older children on your family holiday in Vietnam. Jump on the back of a Vespa while an experienced driver and guide takes you around the back streets of Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi or Hoi An to discover the tastiest food stalls around. Sip sweet Vietnamese coffee, find the world’s best Bahn Mi (from Banh Mi Fung in Hoi An, in our opinion!) and enjoy all the fresh flavours of Vietnam. You can also do a food tour by foot.
Follow top chef Mr Duc Tran around the market in Hoi An and be blown away by the sheer number of ingredients on offer. Then it's back to his incredible restaurant Mango Mango to take part in a bespoke cooking class for all the family. And at the end, sit down to enjoy your spectacular meal all together.
Just outside Hoi An are endless green paddy fields, as flat as a pancake and free from traffic, that are ideal for cycling, no matter what your age. Routes take you through the countryside, around villages and towards the beach. There are delicious restaurants to stop at on route or pause to see the vegetables growing and chat with the locals.
Travel by train
An amazing way to see Vietnam with kids is to take the slow train from Da Nang to Quy Nhon. The luxury hotel brand Anantara has taken over a section of the regular passenger train and made it reminiscent of the golden age of travel. Watch towns, villages, and the world pass by from the comfort of a 12-seater carriage, along with a three-course meal, and head and shoulder massage thrown in too.
Water puppet show
Children will be mesmerised by a spectacular water puppetry show, which sees puppeteers stand in water, using its movement to create drama and tell a story. This Vietnamese tradition dates back to the 11th century in the Red River Delta region when farmers celebrated the annual rice harvest by singing folk songs, dancing, and moving puppets through rice fields filled with water. Today, the best place to watch one of the shows is in Hanoi.
Best Places to Visit in Vietnam with Kids
Travelling with kids can be like walking a tightrope, getting exactly the right balance of stimulation, without everyone becoming exhausted. At Scott Dunn, we know how to put together the perfect itinerary to keep the whole family happy. Here’s a taster of the best places to visit when in Vietnam with kids.
The capital of Vietnam is a busy, bustling city with hundreds of scooters zooming around but among all of that are pockets of calm. Hanoi's Old Quarter is particularly charming, blending ancient temples with cool new restaurants and colourful buildings. In the evenings there are night markets to explore, while during the day, hop on a rickshaw to navigate the narrow streets. Teens and older kids will love the excitement of the city, but for younger ones, you might like to use Hanoi as a base to explore the surrounding countryside or take a boat cruise in Halong Bay. Alternatively, you could spend a couple of days there acclimatising before moving on to your next destination.
UNESCO World Heritage Site Hoi An is a highlight for any family holiday to Vietnam. Visiting the colonial, riverside town, is like going back in time. Its architecture is a mix of influences from its history as a hub for Japanese and Chinese traders. More than 800 buildings are preserved: most of them being French colonial houses, Chinese assembly rooms, pagodas, and old shop houses. And its quaint, atmospheric old town is a pedestrianised area with more than 150 tailoring shops. Cycle around the cobbled streets or tour them by cyclo (a three-wheel bicycle taxi), take a boat trip along the Thu Bon River, join a cooking class, or head out for day trips to the nearby beaches.
Nha Trang itself is quite a developed coastal town, however just north and south of the city are two of Vietnam’s best beach hotels, Six Senses Ninh Van Bay and Amanhoi Vinh Hy Bay, which are ideal for a luxury family holiday in Vietnam. Both are set to a backdrop of verdant forests, with sun-drenched beaches in front and plenty of family-friendly activities on sea (paddle-boarding, sailing, fishing, diving) and on land (hiking, picnicking, tennis and golf). Amanoi is better for older kids, while the Six Senses has a fantastic kids’ club for younger ones.
Gigantic limestone rocks and tiny islands capped with forests appear from the emerald waters of the Gulf of Tonkin. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Halong Bay's collection of islands, scattered with grottoes, is a mystical, otherworldly sight. Tiny, forested islands and floating villages add to the magical quality of this place. A night or two bobbing on these boats is a real adventure for kids, while during the day they can do kayaking, snorkelling, or possibly even join a Tai Chi class on deck.
Ho Chi Minh
Ho Chi Minh (formerly Saigon) is a city of many parts, split into 24 districts. You’ve got historic landmarks like the Reunification Palace, Notre Dame Cathedral, Central Post Office, HCMC Museum and War Remnants Museum (great for army-mad kids), as well as beautiful pagodas, modern sky-rise buildings and cool art galleries. Sights aside, this is the place to get a glimpse of modern Vietnamese life. Shop in the old residential buildings turned into chic boutiques, eat in temples reinvented as restaurants and embrace the touristy markets selling cheap, designer knockoffs. As one of the country’s busiest cities, Ho Chi Minh is more accessible (and appealing) if you’re on a family holiday in Vietnam with teenagers or older children who can manage the sightseeing and be inspired by the energetic culture.
An archipelago of 17 white sand islands, Con Dao is a tropical paradise on Vietnam’s southern coast and an antidote to busy city life. The islands have been declared a National Park, and there are rewarding rainforest hikes, as well as fantastic snorkelling and diving among colourful coral reefs. From June to September, you might even see turtles laying their eggs. Con Dao is ideal for families travelling to Vietnam with kids of all ages, including babies.
Vietnam’s north has breathtaking mountain scenery woven with steep rice terraces and trekking trails linking hill-tribe villages. Hike past stilt houses and waterfalls, and see how the different local communities live there, from farmers to the Red Dao people famous for their beautiful embroidery. There are mountain bike routes too. Different length treks are available, but this is a destination for tweens and teens or babies you can carry on your back.
Best Places to Stay in Vietnam
Family-friendly hotels with villas or interconnecting rooms and a star-studded lineup of activities to keep the kids occupied make these Vietnamese hotels ideal for all ages.
With Young Kids
Children are adored in Vietnam, and while overwhelming cities and long travel times may test the patience of the youngest members of the family, a holiday to Vietnam is a truly rewarding experience. At Scott Dunn, we make sure that your little ones are well looked after through family-friendly resorts, with specialised children’s programmes and a host of entertaining activities.
Villas and bungalows on the beach, over the water, between the rocks, or perched on the mountainside have space for all the family and will make you feel like you’re the only people at the hotel. They come with ocean-view terraces to relax on once the kids are in bed and private pools in which to make as much noise as they like. Incredible activities in the kid’s club Vooc Village will introduce children to the environment, let them be alchemists, pirates and photographers, and take them star gazing.
Only a stone’s throw away from Hoi An, the Four Seasons Nam Hai is a perfect choice for families with younger children. Each villa has outstanding views across white sands out to the ocean and comes with a personal butler service. For children aged 4-12 years old, there is a fantastic complimentary kids’ club with a huge selection of organised games, explorations and activities like hat making, cooking and even learning Vietnamese. It also has its own shady splash park filled with fountains, babysitting services and children’s menus with flexible mealtimes.
With Older Kids
Stylish properties with as much for the teens and tweens in your life as there is for you, these family-friendly Vietnamese hotels are a little bit grown-up without being stuffy.
Amanoi, on the pristine coastline of Vietnam's Vinh Hy Bay, seamlessly combines the natural beauty of the Nui Chua National Park with world-class activities, making it an ideal setting for families with older kids. From jungle treks and snorkelling to cultural excursions, a world-class spa and fabulous food it offers the chance for adults and children to unwind and reconnect. Spacious, beautifully designed villas have ample space for families to relax together, and attentive service ensures that every member of the family feels truly pampered.
Ideally located near all the main attractions in Ho Chi Minh, the Park Hyatt exudes a stylish grandeur from a bygone era. Opulent rooms are extremely comfortable, with all the mod-cons you could ask for, plus extra beds and interconnecting rooms are available. There are two restaurants on-site and an outdoor pool to cool off in after days in the city.
For Multigenerational Families
Vietnam is the kind of place that will charm grandparents as much as toddlers and sullen teens. The best multigenerational holidays are the ones where everyone gets to do what they love best, and Scott Dunn will ensure that’s the case for your family holiday to Vietnam, starting with hotels to please everyone.
A collection of five private properties just 10 minutes outside Hue works brilliantly for people travelling with extended family members. Each has a private pool and there is a main house with a restaurant, so no one need cook. There’s a spa, plus bikes to borrow and the concierge will arrange activities to keep kids entertained, like bamboo paper workshops, cooking classes, yoga and kite flying.
A French Colonial-style property built in 1901, the Sofitel Metropole Hanoi boasts a rich history and century-long tradition of hosting high-profile guests. It has several brilliant restaurants, a beautiful outdoor pool in a courtyard and a lavish, three-storey spa with hammam, jacuzzi and sauna. While the adults indulge in a little self-care, there are indoor and outdoor playgrounds for the children. Babysitting and interconnecting rooms can be arranged, making it convenient for multigenerational family holidays in Vietnam.
For Beach Holidays
When planning your family beach holiday to Vietnam, look no further than these beautiful resorts to get your barefoot, castaway fix.
A remote island gem surrounded by white sand beaches with coral-rich cobalt blue waters and backed by verdant hills, this 50-villa hideaway is in a remarkable setting. Villas are light and airy with private saltwater pools that merge into the landscape, plus a butler service. They come with one to four bedrooms, so there is room for all the family. Two restaurants serve organic and locally sourced food, one is more informal than the other, offering up Vietnamese street food. There’s a complimentary kids’ club for children aged 3-12, plus bicycles, a spa and a yoga pavilion.
Bai San Ho is just the place for luxury family holidays in Vietnam. A beachfront resort on the south-central coast of Vietnam, escape from reality in the 240-acre estate surrounded by jungle-clad hills, rice paddies and an idyllic private beach to sink your toes into. There’s fishing, diving and exceptional snorkelling in the colourful reef. While back on land, the hotel has a yoga studio, panoramic infinity pool, three restaurants, two tennis courts, a spa and an action-packed kids’ club.
For Active Families
Vietnam is a haven for adventurous families, whether that’s hiking in the north or jumping into water sports further south, most hotels have a plethora of fun activities for children and adults to enjoy. Here are some of the best hotels for active families in Vietnam.
Surrounded by the most amazing views of mountains, paddy fields and villages, Topas Ecolodge is perfectly located to make the most of Vietnam’s best treks. Activities at the hotel centre around trekking, which, along with the breathtaking scenery, take you to remote villages to learn about local culture and the different ethnic tribes. Hikes vary in difficulty, from easy to challenging, depending on your family’s abilities. There is also the opportunity to explore the area by motorbike and bicycle.
With only six cabins, Heritage Line Violet is one of the most intimate and exclusive cruise boats in Halong Bay. Each cabin is individually themed and decked out in luxurious interiors, along with private balconies to make the most of the panoramic views. While on a family holiday in Vietnam, spend two days on board stopping at local villages and pearl farms, kayaking on still waters, and exploring caves and deserted beaches. On board, there are activities like nighttime squid fishing (for your supper), Tai Chi classes and cookery lessons. There’s even a spa and boutique on the boat.
Our Vietnam Family Tours
Scott Dunn’s travel experts will put together an itinerary specifically for your family holiday based on your interests and accommodation requirements. However, for inspiration have a look at our suggested tours… For families of all ages, there’s Family Fun in Vietnam. If you’re travelling with older children or teenagers, then you might like Vietnam Uncovered, which packs in all the best parts of Vietnam with some off-the-beaten-track gems too. While for younger children, Extraordinary Central Vietnam gives you a manageable taste of Vietnam’s culture, food and beach scenes.
Meet our Specialists
To start planning your family holiday to Vietnam, get in touch with our Asia Travel Specialist Rikki Poynton by filling out the online enquiry form.
Meet our Vietnam specialist
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