Vietnam family holidays
Family holidays in Vietnam are some of the most versatile in Asia, offering city thrills, beautiful beaches and wild wanderings all under the same umbrella.
From delighted squeals as your Vespa weaves between Hanoi’s streetfood stalls, to awestruck gasps at Halong Bay’s towering limestone karsts, Vietnam serves up moments that can fully capture a kid’s attention.
Whether you’re dreaming of Saigon vespa tours or getting hands on in rural rice fields, we’ll tailor your Vietnam family holiday to fit as perfectly as a bespoke princess dress from a Hoi An tailor!
Highlights of a family holiday in Vietnam
- Cycle along dusty roads in rural Vietnam, exploring the hills, lakes and villages on two wheels
- Get hands on with day-to-day rice farming and fishing in Ninh Binh, learning from the locals
- Commission sharp (matching?!) suits and bespoke princess dresses from Hoi An’s amazing 24-hour tailors
- Snorkel in Phu Quoc’s crystal-clear waters, among extraordinary nudibranchs and hundreds of rainbow-hued fish
With a UK based team of Destination Specialists with offices and partners across Asia, ensuring we focus on staying really local in our approach. Our specialists have travelled extensively in Vietnam and throughout Asia, many having also lived in the region.Along with enjoying great travels, the team regularly inspect the best hotels, seek out new activities and design new routes – for inspiration we’d suggest taking a look through some of their Favourite Journeys. The weather during any of the kids holiday dates is always an important consideration and we have that covered with our best time to visit Vietnam section.
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Vietnam with your kids - what to expect
Versatile Vietnam creates truly unique family holidays, and no two visits are ever the same. Your trip can be finely tuned to your family’s ages, interests and energy levels, and there’s the bonus of direct flights from UK to boot.
A big city start can bring plenty of wow factor from day one. Even young kids will love a Vespa ride (sandwiched between parent and driver) through Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City in search of the best streetfood. Maybe marvel at a traditional water puppet show in Hanoi? Or cycle through Hoi An’s streets to get measured for tailor-made suits (or princess dresses!)?
A stay with locals in Ky Son Village can give you an authentic glimpse of rural Vietnamese life. Children are always affectionately fussed over, and the whole family becomes part of the village’s friendly community.
Private junk cruises in the world-famous Halong Bay can offer a welcome moment of chilled out coastal bliss. There’s plenty of opportunity for older kids to kayak and swim around the jungle-topped islands as you sail away from the bay’s main crowds...
Younger families might prefer to hop over to Phu Quoc’s hip island haven. The gently sloping, sandy beaches are ideal for littlies to splash in the shallows, while older kids can snorkel offshore. Back on dry land, you can catch breathtaking glimpses of monkeys, bats and wildcats in the lush national park interior.
It’s well worth mentioning that Nha Trang’s famous beaches have loads to offer families. Although the main resorts have become very popular, you can combine the best of both worlds by staying just a short drive down the coast, where you can retreat to a laid-back Long Beach family villa, and drive 20 minutes into town for barbeques, beachtime, and perhaps even a cheeky day at the local theme park.
Things you’ll all love in Vietnam
What to do in Vietnam: Discover more with our hand-picked experiences & highlights
Vietnam easily keeps pace with contemporary life and luxury, and tends not to pine for the past - but this may partly be thanks to the many historic traditions that thrive alongside its modern success. A homestay in the centuries-old village of Ky Son offers a wonderful chance to experience these older ways of life first hand.
The scenic, boutique school is perched on a peaceful riverbank just outside Hoi An - a gorgeous place for a gourmet afternoon. After cooking up a lunch to remember, you can stretch out in the tropical sunshine and digest your culinary experience - in more ways than one.
Explore rural village life in Vietnam on the M'Nong villages around Lake Lak, a vast but tranquil stretch of water in Vietnam's central highlands. Discover the traditional culture that thrives here, and explore the lake by boat, watching fishermen cast their nets as the glassy surface reflects the picturesque rural scenery.
Where to rest your head..
Our Vietnam Specialists' top tips for families
With quite a few parents among our well-travelled Destination Specialists, we know how important it is to get the finer details sorted before travelling with kids, and we always go the extra mile to make sure they are. We want everyone to enjoy each moment without sweating the small stuff.
If you have any questions, or want to have a chat about planning your family holiday to Vietnam, we'd love to have a chat. In the meantime, here are a few FAQs to help you get started…
- Get on yer bike!
Being able to confidently ride a bike opens up many exciting opportunities in Vietnam, especially in rural areas. Get the kids - and adults! - to brush up on their cycling skills before you go.
- When is the best time of year for a family holiday to Vietnam?
Being such a long country, Vietnam’s weather patterns vary greatly from north to south. Happily, this means that parts of the country will be at their best whenever you visit. However, it also means that the destinations on your wishlist may not all have good weather at the same time. Combined with the need to avoid a lot of long journeys, this means it’s crucial to plan when and where to go if you want to get the best from your trip. For UK summer holidays, Central Vietnam offers the best of the hot and dry weather. The north around Hanoi is driest from November to April, and this is also when the southern beaches come into their own, so both are good for Christmas and spring breaks.
- Do I need a guide in Vietnam?
Having an experienced, knowledgeable and welcoming local guide on hand during your trip is absolutely invaluable. They’ll be able to meet you upon arrival, act as translator, transfer you between locations, and generally make everything go as smoothly as possible. They’ll leave you to your own devices as much or as little as you wish, but we think a good guide is essential for a successful family holiday. We pride ourselves on using only the best guides in a given region. All our guides are trained to the highest level, and fully certified and licensed. The feedback we get from our clients is that the guides make a great trip into an outstanding one. Find out more about our brilliant guides here
- Is Vietnam safe for families?
Vietnam is becoming an ever more popular destination for family holidays. Much of the reason for this is the welcoming, family-friendly atmosphere you’ll find wherever you go. Even the famously bonkers city traffic isn’t quite as bracing as its reputation might have you believe, and you soon get used to going with the flow! As with any new destination, some things will definitely differ from what you’re used to, but most places feel secure, safe and reassuring. If you need anything, or have any queries once you’re there, our guides are always on hand to help.
- What vaccinations do I need for Vietnam?
When planning a trip to Asia, it’s always important to consider the possible requirement for vaccinations and immunisations. Most importantly, we stress that you should contact your doctor or medical practitioner well before you depart to get their advice on any vaccinations and medication you may need for your trip. If you’ve travelled recently and believe that you are already up-to-date, it is still worth checking as vaccinations have a varying life span. Most of Vietnam has been declared low to no risk for malaria on the NHS Fit for Travel map, and NHS Travel Vaccinations site has lots of up-to-date information on vaccinations and general travel health.
- Do I need a visa to go to Vietnam?
It’s a bit of a complicated one! Nationals of the following countries do not require a visa to enter Vietnam for a maximum stay of 15 days: United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, Italy (plus nationals of a few Asian and Scandinavian countries). This 15-day visa exemption is only for single-entry arrivals up until 30th June 2021 and is applicable to all border arrivals (regardless of whether you arrive by air or land). For all other nationalities and anyone staying longer than 15 days, a visa is required. Your visa must be arranged in advance of travelling to Vietnam. The standard tourist visa is a single entry visa that allows you to travel in Vietnam for 30 days from the date of your entry.
- What should I pack for a trip to Vietnam?
Though you can most things you’ll need in the bigger cities, we’d recommend bringing your own supplies of any essentials, such as favourite nappies, formula etc, as well as your preferred brand of sunscreen and a good insect repellent. Light, long sleeved shirts, a light scarf or two, and long trousers or skirts will mean that you’re prepared for any eventuality, including modest dress codes at sites of religious significance. They’ll also help provide valuable protection against strong sunlight and mosquitoes. If you’re travelling with tinies, consider taking a really good baby carrier, as push-chairs might be a pain to get around with.
- What’s the best currency to take to Vietnam?
Until recently you could not obtain the Dong outside of Vietnam, but some foreign exchange outlets in the UK now stock it. In reality this has had little impact on our advice for visitors, as ATM machines dispensing Dong are widely available across Vietnam and at all major airports. It’s essential to arrive with some US$ if you are obtaining your pre-arranged visa-on-arrival entry stamp, when you must have US$ cash. ATM machines usually offer good rates of exchange, often better than any currency exchange bureau or hotel. Whilst you can use US$ at times in Vietnam, Dong is the primary currency, and traveller cheques are no longer accepted.
- Is there wildlife to see in Vietnam?
Wildlife might not be top of Vietnam’s list of attractions, but anyone keen to do some wildlife watching can get their fill in a couple of key spots. Phu Quok, as well as being one of Vietnam’s top beach island destinations, is a major national park. It’s protected interior is home to many interesting species, including macaques, hornbills, and dozens of bird, reptile and amphibian species. If you take your wildlife search offshore, you can snorkel over the surrounding reef and might spot turtles or even dugong as well as many smaller fascinating creatures. Further north, Cuc Phuong National Park protects an extraordinary number of Vietnam’s rarest species, including leopards, bears, gibbons, flying squirrels and hundreds of different birds. Hike along marked trails with a guide, visit the huge network of limestone caves at the centre, and watch the mesmerising sight of clouds of butterflies rising from the grass.