The first international destination we travelled to as parents was Vietnam and we instantly fell in love – with the sights, the traditions, the food. Even the chaos! There are so many incredible Vietnam attractions for families and we had a memorable first experience and plans to visit again with both girls in future.
We wanted to share with you some of the top Vietnam must see sights and attractions to experience as a family, both from our own travels in Vietnam and as shared by others.
- 1 THE BEST VIETNAM ATTRACTIONS FOR FAMILIES
THE BEST VIETNAM ATTRACTIONS FOR FAMILIES
Halong Bay Cruise
No visit to Vietnam should be made without fitting in a chance to experience the stunning scenery of Halong Bay. There is little wonder why this is one of the top destinations in Vietnam.
We did a 2 night Halong Bay cruise with our 14 month old toddler and it was something we are so glad we did. The transit from Hanoi to Halong Bay is long and bumpy, so make it count with an overnight or 2 night cruise. There are loads of different Halong Bay cruise companies and most of these are kid friendly.
We had the chance to visit local villages, see breathtaking natural sights and eat some delicious food. It was a great way to wind down after our chaotic introduction to Vietnam in Ho Chi Minh City too! Find out more about our Halong Bay cruise experience and how we were able to make the most of cruising with a toddler.
Ho Chi Minh City Food Tour
If you are planning a trip to Vietnam capital, you definitely need to make time for a food tour. This was another of our favourite experiences during our visit and one of the essential things to do in south Vietnam. Each region has different food influences and signature dishes.
There are loads of different food tours, with many being by motorbike. Since we were travelling with a toddler, we went with a walking tour with Saigon Street Eats. Not only will you get to see a lot of different places along your walking tour and learn the local history, you will also get to eat where the locals eat and immerse yourself right into the Vietnamese culture.
And of course, trying new and unusual food is one of the most fun things to do in Vietnam. We put our toddler in the baby carrier since we left the stroller at home for this trip, and away we went, kicking off with a traditional pho breakfast, followed by visits to Vietnamese bakeries, street food stalls, sugar cane juice and finally with a shared feast in the gardens of a temple.
There were only a couple of other people on our tour on the day and our guide was fantastic!
The Saigon Skydeck is located on the 49th floor of the Bitexco Financial Tower. Once the tallest tower in Ho Chi Minh City (losing its title in 2018!) it offers 360-degree views over the bustling city below. There are several sets of powerful binoculars which you can use to zoom in on the street action below. Get your bearings and explore the city’s highlights from above or catch the distant views over this huge sprawling city.
We found it the perfect way to beat the heat and humidity in HCMC and we could literally spend hours exploring the fascinating street scenes. Whilst not quite the same as visiting a traditional roof top bar and experiencing the sounds and smells, it’s a good secure place for the kids with plenty of running around room and a taster of the much more modern Ho Chi Minh City which is rapidly emerging.
In a country known for being very cheap, it’s one of the pricier attractions (200,000VND adults/130,000VND kids) but your entry ticket does include a food and beverage voucher to use in the café one floor above the observation deck – cue ice creams and happy, chilled off kids!
Contributed by Keri from Our Globetrotters
Water Puppet Show
It is no secret that Vietnam is one of my favourite places, we went there on our honeymoon so it holds a special place in my heart. We have been back since with our 3 kids and I know that wont be my last visit. One of my favourite activities and one I highly recommend not just for those with kids is going to the traditional Vietnamese Water Puppet Show. The tradition dates back to the 11th century and originates from the villages of the Red River Delta in the north Vietnam. Traditionally the shows were conducted in the rice paddies, now a days they have a theatre and the puppet show is still conducted in waist deep water.
There can be up to 8 puppeteers stand behind a split-bamboo screen, decorated to resemble a temple facade, and control the puppets using long bamboo rods. The string mechanism is hidden beneath the water and gives the illusion that the puppets are walking on water. The puppets are carved out of wood and then covered in lacquer and can often weigh up to 15 kg. The show will be accompanied by a full Vietnamese orchestra playing traditional instruments including vocals, drums, wooden bells, cymbals, horns and bamboo flutes. My kids were mesmerised by the performance and didn’t take their eyes off it for the whole hour show.
Contributed by Sally from Our 3 Kids Vs The World
Cu Chi Tunnels
Visiting the Cu Chi Tunnels gives you a fascinating glimpse into the underground life of the Viet Cong soldiers during the Vietnam War and a visit here is like a hands-on history lesson. This network of connecting underground tunnels were the Viet Cong’s most important defensive weapons against the American forces, and served as their base of operations during their surprise attacks of the 1968 Tet Offensive.
Visits to the Cu Chi tunnels are done as a tour, kicking off with an introductory video and presentation, from where you head into the jungle to check out the tunnels. The visit includes the chance to have a go at hiding in a trap door booby trap, climbing aboard a disarmed American tank, and even firing a machine gun if you want to. The ultimate test is whether you can actually crawl through a short section of tunnels – not as easy as it sounds!
Obviously the nature of the tunnels means that the tour deals with some hard-hitting themes of war and brutality. For this reason, I probably wouldn’t recommend this tour for younger kids. However, for kids around age 8 and above, I think this would serve as an amazing experiential history lesson.
Contributed by Marianne from Mum on the Move
Phu Quoc Island Visit
Phu Quoc Island, located at the southern tip of Vietnam, has some stunning beaches. On some of the beaches, such as Long Beach (the main beach in Phu Quoc) the water is so calm, warm and crystal clear that it is more like a lagoon style swimming pool, so you don’t have to worry about the kids being knocked about by waves. There are some great little beach cafes and bars, along with deck chairs and sun loungers for you to lay in while you watch the kids play in the water. Combine this with funky bean bags on the sand, and colourful lanterns and bonfires after dark and the whole family is in absolute paradise. Make sure to stay until dusk to experience the spectacular sunsets!
Bai Sao beach is considered by many to be the most beautiful beach in all of Phu Quoc Island. With its perfectly white sandy beaches, emerald green water, gentle waves and coconut trees lining the beach it is what postcards are made of. Along Bai Sao there are few places to eat and sun loungers you can hire – but be warned it is expensive here!
If you want to escape other travellers, there are plenty of quiet beaches too, such as Ong Lang Beach or Thom Beach. In fact, some beaches are completely deserted, and you can have a whole stretch of beach just for your family. Whatever style of beach you’re into you are sure to find it in Phu Quoc.
Contributed by Melissa from Thrifty Family Travels
Hoi An Cooking Class
One of the most unique family friendly attractions in Hoi An is the chance to make your own silk lantern like you will see hanging all over town. This central Vietnam hotspot is known as the lantern town because it’s old town area remains covered in beautiful silk lanterns. A tradition stemming from its ancient trading days.
The Lantern Lady, located down a small lane is the perfect place to go for hands on experiential learning. Here you have the opportunity to create a silk lantern from scratch (and also an express version!), bending the bamboo, stringing the wire and preparing the silk fabric. At the end of your session, you will walk away with a beautiful souvenir and keepsake that you make yourself.
Classes start at $4 and are appropriate for kids from about 6 years old and up. The express version is much simpler but does require decent scissor skills. In a country filled with amazing opportunities, making lanterns together is one of the best. It doesn’t hurt that the owner/instructor Thuy is just so fun to be around!
Contributed by Karilyn from No Back Home
My Son Temples
The ancient temples of My Son, located close to the beautiful riverside town of Hoi An, are one of our favourite family-friendly attractions in Vietnam. The temples were once a site for religious ceremonies and are dedicated to the worship of the god of Shiva. They were constructed between the 4th and 14th Century by the Kings of Champa. Although My Son suffered significant damage as a result of bombing during the Vietnam War the ruins still allow one to imagine the full extent of the site.
Kids will love the India Jones style setting with the overgrown abandoned temples springing up against a backdrop of lush green forest. Walking through My Son is like discovering a hidden city in the jungle!
Sunrise is the best time to visit, especially with kids, as you can take advantage of the low temperatures. Make sure to bring lots of water and bug spray!
My Son is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the perfect spot to let little imaginations and feet run wild. Definitely one of the must visit places in Vietnam.
Contributed by Elaine and Dave from Show Them the Globe
Nui Than Tai Hot Spring Park
The Da Nang Hot-springs ( Nui Than Tai ) Park is a great family day out offering a difference away from the beaches and cultural sights of Hoi An. The Hot-springs park is located in the Ba Na–Nui Chua Nature Reserve and it is a lovely drive through the green hills to get there. It takes around 45 minutes from Da Nang.
The park is split into a water park and a hot springs park. It provides a great balance of flying down a water slide to relaxing in a thermal pool. It has opportunities for people of
all ages and abilities to enjoy the water while admiring the amazing view of the green hills in the distance.
There are restaurants and cafes onsite and you can even stay the night in the hotel in the hills. We recommend getting a driver as public transport to the area is very limited. Booking private transport is quite affordable an affordable option for travelling around Vietnam.
Contributed by Bron from Smiths Holiday Road
Where to Stay in Vietnam
There are endless options to suit every budget for Vietnam accommodation, from luxurious all inclusive Vietnam resorts to dirt cheap hostels. When travelling with younger children, you may be looking for something with a few extra comforts. These are the places we stayed during our time in Vietnam:
- Hotel Equatorial Ho Chi Minh City
- Sunrise Hoi An All Inclusive Resort
- Hanoi Sheraton Hotel
- Essence Hanoi Hotel & Spa
Make sure you check out our ULTIMATE South East Asia packing list with everything you need for a family, solo or couple trip to Vietnam and surrounds. We even have a free printable 3 page packing checklist for you to download:
There are so many family friendly attractions in Vietnam that you should visit. While this is not all of what Vietnam has to offer, it will give you a great starting point for creating an incredible Vietnam family holiday. Whether it is a World Heritage site with history you are looking for, or boat tours up the Mekong Delta River, you will have so much to fill your time from North to South seeing the top destinations in Vietnam.
We did not have a lot of time to experience much of North Vietnam during our visit. Next time we are looking forward to seeing Sapa and surrounds, plus exploring Hanoi beyond the city area. Vietnam was our first proper travel in Asia and we adored every bit of it. Well maybe not so much the humid hot weather or crossing the street in HCMC, but it was an adventure regardless!
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