Getting around Vietnam with kids
WALKING in Vietnam
I love exploring new cities on foot with the kids. You get to take in news sights and smells on a ground level. You also get a chance to smile and interact with the locals. At the ages of one, and three and a half year, my kids were too young to walk great distances unassisted. I used the Ergo Baby Carrier and the Piggy Back Rider to get around on foot with them (see my Baby Carriers and Toddler Carriers for Travelling with Kids post).
Stroller use is not really practical in a lot of places here due to lack of kerb space and busy roads. If you are only visiting Ho Chi Minh City and Hoi An you will have more chance of using it.
Vietnamese people of all gender and ages love little people. They will stop you to squeeze babies chubby thighs and ask questions about them. In general, the kids will be treated like little celebrities.
TRAIN travel in Vietnam
We really enjoyed train travel in Vietnam. It was a fantastic way to experience another culture and the scenery was epic. Vietnam has different classes of train travel and by Australian standards, all of the classes are very cheap. We travelled from Hanoi to Ninh Binh by train and experienced both the cheapest fare of hard bench seats and no air conditioning, and the slightly more expensive fare of soft seats and air conditioning. I personally preferred the cheaper option as the carriage was virtually empty. As that the softer seat option carriage was full, it was a fantastic opportunity to people watch. Be warned, the toilet on the train is awful.
TAXI travel in Vietnam
Taxi travel in Vietnam is very affordable. We used taxis in all of the cities we visited except Hanoi and didn’t have any of the problems that we had in other Asian countries such as Thailand and China. I’m not sure if this is because we were travelling with the kids, or because we are now seasoned travellers and are aware to just stick to the reputable taxi brands. Make sure you stick with the taxi brands your hotel recommends.
PRIVATE DRIVER hire in Vietnam
Hiring a private driver in Vietnam is really affordable. It’s so much easier with kids than going on a tour as you can stop when you need to for baby pooplosions, tiredness and hunger. For our family of 2 adults and 2 young children we payed around $50 AU for 5 hours and this included both the vehicle and driver. The driver would either wait for us or walk around with us. I got the feeling I could have negotiated less however I let the hotels take care of the booking for us.
FLYING within Vietnam
Flying within Vietnam is fairly easy and not too expensive as far as flying goes, although it’s not dirt cheap. I booked our tickets online about 2 months before we left through Vietnam Airlines. I have to give them a big thumbs up because their customer service is actually pretty good. We actually left our passports on the plane when transferring to a connecting flights and we were able to get a staff member to go back on and grab them before it took off again. My only gripe is that they kept changing the flight times, anywhere between 5 minutes and 2 hours and it happened about 4 times before the flight however they did let us know every time it changed.
BUS travel within Vietnam
Bus travel is really affordable in Vietnam when compared to Australia. There seems to be an extensive bus network with comfortable sleeper seats if you are doing long distance. I tend to get motion sickness on buses really easy so it’s always a last resort for me!
CYCLO travel within Vietnam
Cyclos are those really touristy looking bikes with the seats up front and a driver that pedals from the back. This is a fun family activity however I would recommend booking through your hotel to make sure you get a reputable one. If you book yourself, negotiate the price before you take off. There are numerous city tours on offer however it’s worth checking out the night tour to avoid the heat and see the city lights.
BOAT travel within Vietnam
From the well known Junks at Halong Bay, to the Dragon Boats on the Perfume River to the quaint little row boats at Ninh Binh; this is a fantastic way to see some truly spectacular parts of Vietnam. We actually forego the touristy Tam Coc row boats in Ninh Binh and went to Van Long Nature Reserve just down the road. It was an absolute highlight of our family holiday.
In general, traveling within Vietnam with kids is really easy and affordable. There are lots of options so it will just be up to whatever suits your family style and budget. Vietnamese people are very tolerant of young children and will go out of their way to play with your child. It’s this kind of genuine welcome that makes Vietnam an easy place to visit and travel around with children.
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To see more of my blogs posts, articles and photographs on travelling in Vietnam with kids, head to this page: Vietnam
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