Earlier this year we had a fabulous family adventure in Vietnam. Honestly, I don’t know why it took me so long to get there! Vietnam is the shizzle!
Family travel is best organised well. It just makes sense to travel with a tour to reduce all of the daily planning, transport and itineraries. We chose Intrepid’s Vietnam Family Holiday, and we’re happy we did. The itinerary was fantastic for a family, and the kids got to experience some awesome places and people. To be honest, they were not to fussed on our choice of Vietnam in the first place, but they ended up having a great time despite the lack of theme parks and McDonalds restaurants.
We started in Hanoi, and I wished we’d arrived a couple of days earlier to spend more time there. On our first day the kids were happy to stay in the hotel with air-conditioning and WiFi, but we were not! We spent our first afternoon wandering around Hoan Kiem Lake and the Hanoi Old Quarter. I could have stayed in Hanoi for a couple of more days to just take in the city and enjoy more of the outstanding Hanoi region’s Pho (best in the country in our opinion). We did all of the touristy stuff with the tour, enjoyed the Cyclo tour around the city, visited the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and the Museum of Ethnology (which we recommend, particularly with kids) and the Temple of Literature.
Halong Bay was just wonderful. We stayed on a fabulous Junk and the kids had a ball. The scenery was just beautiful. If you ever go to Vietnam, you have to spend a night on Halong Bay!
I missed an entire day of Hue. I’m not sure what I had, but I spent an full day in bed (and on the toilet) while the rest of the family visited the Citadel and most of the other things I’d been excited to see in Hue. Oh well, I guess that gives me a good reason to go back! The next morning I took myself out for an early morning walk, a Ginger Tea and I was good to go for the rest of the day. We visited the Tomb of Tu Duc, Thien Mu Pagoda and enjoyed a cruise on a Dragon Boat along the Perfume River.
Our family favorite destination in Vietnam was Hoi An. The beach, the food, the old town and, for my husband, the new bespoke business wardrobe, made Hoi An the winner. We’d go back to just stay in Hoi An again. In fact, we’d go back just for the food!
The best sandwich in the universe is in Hoi An! Seriously, I am still salivating over the memory of the Banh Mi we had in Hoi An. The best place to go is Banh Mi Phuong, a little shop with a big line and an amazing sandwich. I’m not going to try to describe what it tasted like… visit this link to find out more. I need to stop thinking about it now!
Everything about Hoi An was beautiful. The Old Town is touristy, and almost Disneylike, but I loved everything about it. The beach was good (I’m Australian, we do beaches best), but the beach clubs were amazing (alas, Australia doesn’t do beach clubs this well). The shopping was outstanding, my husband spent way too much time selecting fabrics for his new business wardrobe, but what he got was the best fitting suits he’s ever owned at a fraction of what he’d pay at home. He reckons he will travel to Hoi An for his next shopping spree.
After a fabulous few days in Hoi An, we flew to Ho Chi Minh, and then spent a couple of days on the Mekong Delta. The south is hot. Very hot. We spent a day exploring the Mekong Delta on boats and canoes, and then spent the night in a dorm like home stay. No air conditioning or WiFI (heaven forbid!).
We ended the trip in Ho Chi Minh City staying at a luxury 5 Star Hotel. One fantastic thing about Asia is that accommodation is well priced. We’d pay $500 a night for a hotel of this standard in Australia – we paid about $150 a night in Vietnam.
So our last days were spent relaxing in decadence and enjoying the rooftop bar with views over Saigon.
All in all, Vietnam was a fantastic choice for a family holiday. The kids enjoyed it, and we certainly did too.