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Traveling to Vietnam with kids – Everything you need to know

Welcome to the ultimate Vietnam with kids travel guide! Whether you’re a seasoned family traveler or a parent planning your first family road trip, this blog post is here to help. Get ready to embark on a memorable journey to Vietnam with your family!

A trip to Vietnam with kids means tasting yummy street food in Hanoi, hiking through rice fields in Sapa, spending a night or two on a Halong Bay Cruise to enjoy beautiful limestone karsts, exploring Huế’s forbidden purple city and making your own paper lantern in Hoi An.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. Before you can work on your ideal Vietnam itinerary let us help you plan your trip. In this post we’ll share our best tips for navigating Vietnam with kids. So, pack your bags, gather your loved ones, and let’s dive into the incredible world of Vietnam family travel!

Read more >> Ultimate Family Road Trip Guide: Vietnam

Ancient chinese wooden red doors, partially opened, in the Imperial City in Hue - Vietnam
A father and son walk on the red bridge at the Ngoc Son Temple in Hanoi - Vietnam

Best age to visit Vietnam

Vietnam is very family friendly. A family trip to Vietnam is always a succes, because the regions are so different and there’s something for everyone to enjoy no matter where you go. When it comes to the best age to visit Vietnam with kids, every age has its pros and cons.

Vietnam with a baby or toddler

Traveling to Vietnam with a baby has its advantages, such as the warm and welcoming nature of the locals who are often eager to help with little ones. Vietnamese are very fond of babies, toddlers, and small children and will therefore receive you with great pleasure. Additionally, the abundance of delicious and healthy food options is great for introducing new flavors to your children’s palate.

On the downside, the hot and humid climate can be challenging and exhausting for both parents, babies and toddlers. And navigating crowded places and intense traffic in cities like Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi can be overwhelming. The cities are not very stroller friendly, so a baby carrier is highly recommended.

Make sure your itinerary is not jam-packed. When visiting a HCMC and Hanoi there are so many things to see and do that it can be tempting to fill up every hour with activities. But the noises and the smells can easily overwhelm both babies and toddlers. After a visit to the Ben Than Market in Ho Chi Minh City (aka Saigon) spend some quiet time in your accommodation, at the pool or a shady place in a park. And if you’re planning on having street food in the backpacker district in Hanoi make sure everyone has had their nap beforehand.

Read more >> 10 Things to Do In Ho Chi Minh City with Kids

Read more >> 10 Things to Do In Hanoi with Kids

A toy store in the Old Quarter of Vietnam's Hanoi

There are lots of fun things to do in Vietnam for young children, like water puppet theatre in Hanoi, getting a tailor made outfit in Hoi An, spending time at the beach in Da Nang or Phu Quoc Island and spotting water buffaloes on a stroll through Sapa’s rice fields. In every city you’ll also find parks with playgrounds so keep an eye out for them while planning your Vietnam family trip.

Don’t worry about running out of paracetamol, sunscreen, powdered milk and diapers, because you can find supermarkets wherever you go.

Pharmacies can also be found in every city and in big cities most of the staff will speak basic English. If they don’t, use the iTranslate app to translate the text on the box if you’re not absolutely sure about what you’re being offered.

Things to know about Vietnam

Capital: Ho Chi Minh City
Official language: Vietnamese
Currency: Vietnamese Dong
Visa requirements: While citizens of some countries like France, Germany, Norway, Thailand and the UK get 45 days of visa-free entry to Vietnam, most other visitors need to obtain a 90-day visa for their stay.  Make sure to check your entry requirements well ahead of time.
Timezone: GMT +7
Power Plug Type: Mainly type A, C, and F in some places you can also use type B and D
Voltage: 220V supply voltage and 50Hz
Measurement system: Metric (Celsius / kilometer / kilogram / liter)
CDC and WHO recommended travel vaccines: hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, Japanese encephalitis and rabies. In some regions malaria medicine is also advised. Always call your doctor for pre-travel advice when it comes to vaccinations and medication.
Safety rating: Ranked 41 on the Global Peace Index

A 9 year old boy enjoys Vietnamese spring rolls with chopsticks in a restaurant
A 9 year old boy enjoys the Vietnamese version of a Hot Pot in Ho Chi Minh City - Vietnam

Kid friendly Vietnamese dishes

Food wise Vietnam offers a lot of great dishes that children of all ages will love. Like the noodle soup Pho, filled with veggies, fresh herbs and comes with chicken (Phở Ga) or beef (Phở Bo).

Another kid friendly dish is Bánh Xèo (sizzling cake). Savory rice flour crepes stuffed with beans, fresh herbs and shrimp or pork. If your kid is really picky, don’t worry. Most Vietnamese speak basic to good English and they have no problem leaving some of the filling out.

Lastly, we saw kid favorite La Vache Qui Rit cream cheese everywhere. So if all else fails you can always fill a delicious, freshly baked baguette with that. Baguette? Yes, Vietnam was once a French colony and that is still noticeable in some of the architecture, but also in the kitchen. The famous Banh Mi sandwich is served in a baguette. It’s a much lighter version than the French one and simply divine! I still crave it on a regular basis.

Opening a coconut at the candy factory in the Mekong Delta - Vietnam
a boy poses in front of a helicopter at the Khe Sanh Combat Base at the former DMZ in Vietnam

Vietnam tours for families

Most tours to the must-visits are also aimed at children. But, there are a few things you should check when booking a tour. Add an hour or two to every tour timetable you lay eyes on. The Vietnamese are not very punctual.

All the tours we did (booked through different companies) started too late and the short breaks are not so short after all. So, when traveling with kids under 6, make sure you bring enough entertainment for the bus ride and the breaks. They will love the excursions, but we all know how they can get moody on the way to sights or during longer breaks.

There’s one exception when it comes to punctuality: Ha Long Bay cruises (aka Halong Bay). They are usually on schedule. The thing you need to check when booking a cruise is the age limit. Some cruises are more romantic and aimed at newlyweds and kid free couples. Others allow kids of all ages, but don’t offer cribs. Always make sure to bring life/swim vests for all kids under 8. They often don’t have any for kids below 8.

Read more >> Halong Bay Cruise with Kids

A boy walks on the deck of a Halong Bay cruise ship in Vietnam in the fog.

Vietnam: a safe family travel destination

There’s not much standing in the way of your family trip to Vietnam when it comes to safety. Vietnam is safe for families to visit. Vietnamese love kids and truly dote on them. They’re welcomed with a smile everywhere. There’s really only one thing that you should be mindful of and that’s the extreme traffic. Hold onto your kids on the sidewalk, because if you loose sight of them for just a second they could end up getting badly hurt if they run onto the streets.

Crossing the street is a true adventure. Our first night in the big city we stood on the sidewalk for 10 minutes in total disbelief of the mayhem before our eyes. Street lights are in function, but nobody pays attention to them. They will stop for you, but don’t run and keep paying attention to your surroundings while crossing, then you will be fine. After a few times, you’ll get used to it. We always held hands with each other though. And with smaller kids it’s best to carry them across.

Paper lantern shop in Hoi An - Vietnam
Traffic in the Old Quarter of Hanoi - Vietnam

Best time to travel

Because Vietnam is a very long country, the temperatures in the North vary considerably with the South. This makes it a year-round destination.

That said, from March to April the rainfall is low and the temperatures milder and is the best period if you’re traveling through the entire country.

North Vietnam

When only visiting Northern Vietnam with kids, know that overnight temperatures can dip to 4° Celsius.

We were here in December and we enjoyed it, but that’s mainly because we brought our fleeces and warm socks for the time we spend in Sapa. We sometimes had to wear a sweater or a fall coat when in Hanoi, but the temperatures there where not as low as they were in Sapa.

From May to August it can get very hot and humid. Spring and Autumn are the best when visiting North Vietnam with kids. Blooming of the rice fields starts in May. If you still want to see the rice fields before they’re harvested, don’t go any later than September.

The gorgeous rice fields of Sapa in Northern Vietnam in winter time.

South Vietnam

South Vietnam has warm, pleasant temperatures throughout the whole year, making it good for traveling at any time. Flooding may occur from July to October, but is not frequent. The thing you probably will experience is heavy rainfall, but the good news is that it never rains for very long.

From March to May, temperatures are at its peak, regularly hitting 40° Celsius.

Road tripping through Vietnam with kids

Being a top travel destination, Vietnam is extremely well connected by air and railway. It also has some great roads. When planning to travel the whole country, you have many different transportation options.

Our family road tripped through Vietnam by (sleeper) train, bus and boat and we highly recommend it.  But you can also easily travel by car, if you’d like to keep matters into your own hands.

Our top tip is to pick up your rental car when you’re done exploring the city you landed in. Driving through HCMC and Hanoi is hectic and something we’d avoid. If you rent and return your car at a place outside the city center or at the airport, you avoid the mayhem that is traffic in both of these cities.

How to get to Vietnam

My family and I like to use Expedia for flights. And we always opt to book a flight and hotel, at least for the first night. Just to ease the start of our family vacation. When arranging everything yourself, Expedia is a good starting point. But always compare prices by visiting more than one booking site.

How to get around in Vietnam

To book your transport during your family trip to Vietnam with kids, whether by air, train, bus or ferry, we recommend using 12Go. This is a user-friendly website that will show you all the different price options and comparisons as well as reviews from fellow travelers.

Backpacking through Vietnam with kids

Vietnam has good infrastructure and great public transportation. That’s why backpacking with kids is easy here. When we were road tripping through Vietnam with kids we did all our traveling by (night)train, bus and boat and it was a journey we’ll never forget. Backpacking Vietnam with kids is amazing!

More and more travelers go on a road trip through Vietnam by car. We don’t have any experience with driving here, but like I said, infrastructure is good. The only thing is that cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are extremely busy and I personally wouldn’t dare drive here. Cars and motorbikes are everywhere!

Outside of the city center and especially on the countryside or on highways driving a car yourself is recommendable.

How to stay healthy while traveling to Vietnam with kids

We can’t fully prevent health problems while traveling, but there are some things you can do to stay as healthy as possible.

Food and drinks

One of the main reasons to travel is to eat local food. The Vietnamese kitchen is one of the most delicious so of course you want to enjoy all that is on offer to you. But how can you avoid getting sick after a meal in Vietnam? Here are some tips:

  • Bring napkins to clean cutlery or bring your own cutlery. Especially when eating from street food stalls. We try to avoid single use napkins or plastics so each family member has their own set of bamboo cutlery (knife, spoon, fork and straw) that we clean as soon as we get back to our apartment. We highly recommend the cutlery by Jungle Culture
  • Only eat at busy restaurants and street food vendors. If the lines are long and the tables full you know the food will be fresh. And you can also be certain that the food will be good. It’s a win-win situation
  • Be cautious of fruit. Buy fruits you have to peel like bananas, pineapple, oranges and mango
  • Don’t drink the tap water in Vietnam. Always drink bottled or filtered water. As a traveler you can avoid buying plastic water bottles if you get a LARQ bottle. UV-light cleans the water in the bottle and also cleans the bottle itself after you’ve used it. Get your own LARQ bottle and always feel safe drinking water from taps all over the world.
Colorful Pagoda in Hue's Imperial City in Vietnam with yellow and orange tones that's surrounded by trees and plants.
Exploring Halong Bay on a sampan - Vietnam

Travel First Aid Kit

Having the best first aid kit for travel abroad offers you peace of mind! A good travel first aid kit contains items equipped to deal with cuts, bruises, sprains and breaks. And should also be filled with over the counter medicine for insect bites, fever, pain and nausea.

There are plenty of first aid travel bags on the market that are pre-made. But these won’t contain over the counter medicines so add these items to the kit yourself:

  • paracetamol for kids and adults
  • nausea and vomiting medicine
  • ORS for kids and adults
  • coughs and colds medicine
  • allergies tablets (anti-histamine for bites, stings, hay fever and sudden allergic reactions)

Traveling with prescribed medication

When traveling with prescribed medication you should:

  • Bring your medication passport
  • Take your pills and medical equipment with you in their original and correctly labelled packages
  • Carry your medicine in your hand luggage with a copy of your prescription
  • If you or any of your family members take medication that fall under the Opium Law (aka Opium Act), you should take appropriate action well before embarking on your trip. Our family has lots of  experience with this, so I wrote an article about it for you.

Read more >> Traveling with medication that falls under the Opium Act

The Japanese Covered Bridge in Hoi An - Vietnam
The entrance gate at the Temple of Literature in Hanoi - Vietnam

Vaccinations

Travelers to Vietnam are advised to get vaccinated for hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, Japanese encephalitis and rabies. In some regions malaria medicine is also advised. This is in addition to the childhood vaccinations that are part of your countries vaccination program.

Always call your doctor as soon as you know where you’re traveling to, because some vaccines need to be repeated once or even twice before your departure. You should only take pre-travel advice about vaccinations from your doctor.

Travel Insurance

Don’t forget a travel insurance for your Vietnam trip! Heymondo covers medical emergencies, theft, delays, cancellations, lost luggage, and more, with 24/7 worldwide assistance and medical chat. All Sas Crossing Countries readers, get 5% off Heymondo travel insurance! Other travel insurance companies worth checking out are World Nomads, Safety Wing and Travelex.

Planning a family road trip to Vietnam

Getting a road trip right takes some serious planning. It starts months before the trip, choosing the destination, planning the route, arranging visa, renewing passports or ID’s and checking if you need medical declarations. And don’t forget renting a car or camper and/or buying flight tickets.

Planning a family road trip can get pretty overwhelming. But don’t worry, I’ve got you covered with my eBook! I’ll be holding your hand every step of the way. Just to make sure your family road trip through Vietnam will go smoothly.

Get my FREE ebook >> The Ultimate Beginners Guide: Planning a Family Road Trip

This is the end of the ultimate Vietnam with kids travel guide. I hope you enjoyed it and you’re ready to plan your trip to Vietnam. If you have any questions regarding a Vietnam family trip, check out my other Vietnam posts or shoot me a question in the comments.

About me Sas Crossing Countries

Hi, I’m Saskia!

I travel the world with my family of 4 and write about our adventures.

Sas Crossing Countries is a family travel blog. It’s created to inspire other parents to travel the world with their kids. Gift your kids the world! It’s the most valuable present you can give them.

With all the experience I have as a traveling parent I’ve got lots of tools and tips for you. So on this site you’ll not only find family travel blog posts, you can also download FREE pocket guides, travel checklists and eBooks from my resources page.

All that I share can be used to plan your own ultimate family road trip!

above a couch you see 4 illustrated poster maps of different countries in the colors brown, blue, green and white. This picture leads to the shop page where you can buy illustrated poster mapsbanner image with the text get access to my free ebook with all the tools and tips you need to plan out and enjoy your ultimate family road trip. The title of the book is also shown and is The Ultimate Beginners Guide: Planning a Family Road Trip. A mock up is shown of a laptop, tablet and phone showing the cover of the ebook and 3 small images giving a sneak peak of 3 pages inside the book.5% discount link Heymondo Travel InsuranceVisit our travel shop!Download my FREE printable packing listsBuy your 3D wooden world map @ Enjoy The Wood with 10% discount code SASCROSSINGCOUNTRIESUPBecome a member of my private family travel Facebook groupLink to shop The Adventure BookRent a car via Discover CarsGet my free downloadable family travel pocket guidesGet an eSim from AiroloDownload my FREE printable bucket lists

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About me Sas Crossing Countries

Hi, I’m Saskia!

I travel the world with my family of 4 and write about our adventures.

Sas Crossing Countries is a family travel blog. It’s created to inspire other parents to travel the world with their kids. Gift your kids the world! It’s the most valuable present you can give them.

With all the experience I have as a traveling parent I’ve got lots of tools and tips for you. So on this site you’ll not only find family travel blog posts, you can also download FREE pocket guides, travel checklists and eBooks from my resources page.

All that I share can be used to plan your own ultimate family road trip!

above a couch you see 4 illustrated poster maps of different countries in the colors brown, blue, green and white. This picture leads to the shop page where you can buy illustrated poster mapsbanner image with the text get access to my free ebook with all the tools and tips you need to plan out and enjoy your ultimate family road trip. The title of the book is also shown and is The Ultimate Beginners Guide: Planning a Family Road Trip. A mock up is shown of a laptop, tablet and phone showing the cover of the ebook and 3 small images giving a sneak peak of 3 pages inside the book.5% discount link Heymondo Travel InsuranceVisit our travel shop!Download my FREE printable packing listsBuy your 3D wooden world map @ Enjoy The Wood with 10% discount code SASCROSSINGCOUNTRIESUPBecome a member of my private family travel Facebook groupLink to shop The Adventure BookRent a car via Discover CarsGet my free downloadable family travel pocket guidesGet an eSim from AiroloDownload my FREE printable bucket lists