Things to do in Vietnam with kids is a big question for any family who plans a trip with children to Vietnam. There might be a lot of posts of this type. However, we feel that most of the introductions there are too general, not specific for children. Some other recommendations are things some children like it, but not others.
Therefore, we would not give advice like Halong Bay cruise, Hue boat trip or Hoian boat trip in our list of things to do in Vietnam with kids. Who does not like a cruise with swimming plus kayaking in Halong? We would like to give our ideas and thoughts with strong reasons why children or teen need it, or like it, or both. We number things to do in Vietnam with kids but arrange them across cities so you can find it easy to put those into your family tour in Vietnam.
- 1 Hanoi
- 2 North Vietnam
- 3 Hue
- 4 Hoian
- 5 NhaTrang
- 6 Saigon
- 7 Outside Saigon
- 8 Other things to do in Vietnam with kids
#1. Puppet show
When you are in Hanoi, don’t forget this entertainment. It is a show around 50 minutes. There is a theatre with air-condition, and you and your children will together see the performance. A central stage with water pond will be the place for the show. Artists stay under waters and control wooden puppets by the sticks hidden under the green water. The 50-minute show will be divided into 12 short stories. Those tells you the cultural features, daily life and historical events of the Vietnam kingdom long time ago.
You might choose to see in the evening so after that is a great time for dinner. We recommend this because we believe puppets are games for children. And your children will understand how Vietnamese children entertain in the flood seasons. Try to stay in the middle of the theatre. The rear seats are too far to see details. In contrast, the front ones might scare the children and water might get your camera wet.
We put this experience in Hanoi as the theatre in Hanoi is the most authentic and professional one. There are also more shows per days so so can choose the most suitable time. Nevertheless, if you don’t arrive Hanoi, you can find this experience at Rong Vang Water Puppet Theatre and at the Vietnam History Museum in Hochiminh City. Among all things to do in Vietnam with kids, this experience always receive excitement from children.
#2. Bat Trang pottery experience
This village is around 20km from Hanoi centre. Then you need a whole day for the visit and activities here. As a visitor, your children and teens will see the hard-working life at the village, the authentic Vietnamese houses and the traditional pottery job. They will see the happy faces in contrary to the poverty and hard life. That is the first value.
After a while of wandering around, we recommend sitting down at a workshop. Visitors will see the process of making beautiful pottery things, and the beautiful paining job as well. Utmost, our youngsters will sit down by a round table, getting instructions from a guru, and doing by themselves a real pottery product. The work might take long time, might bring unperfect products or might even get clothes dirty. However, it is a great memory that the youngsters will never forget.
#3. Lunch at KOTO
We recommend having lunch here as a great cause. KOTO is the acronym of Know One Teach One. It is an NGO focusing collecting street children, training them English and vocation, and send them back to society. Thousands of children have been trained here and get top success after graduating from the centre. Those children might have become gangsters and brought bad things for society. However, going thru the centre has helped many and many children to be come successful models of rising from darkness. Your eating here will help to create opportunity for those children to have fund for living and training. Serving and cooking for your family is another real opportunity for them to grow.
The food is great among good air-condition. The price is adequate and reasonable. It is also convenient as locating by the Temple of Literature and Museum of Fine Art. After hours of visiting those sites, you can enjoy cool air and professional meal there.
When having great food at KOTO, you might tell your youngsters this story, and let them witness the servers and the cooks who were street children before (and successful hospitality service people later). So, among all things to do in Vietnam with kids, this is the only restaurant we recommend to eat for its educational values and social support. Is that also a good visit?
How about living in a local house of hill tribal family? This should be a great experience for our youngster. This trip often starts with trekking along hills and terraced rice fields. Our group will visit some local houses and understand some local cultures and beliefs. There might be some meeting with farmers and school children on the road.
At the end of the day, we check in a family and get a room or two insides their house. Our youngsters will join the kids at the family to have some games. At places we also have some swimming together at some streamlines near by the homestay. Understanding local culture and etiquettes is a great value of this trip. Letting children to accept the differences among culture, languages and lifestyle is another value. And we also see that give our youngsters the opportunity to play with kids at a homestay is a special experience that can make a great memory of your Vietnam tour.
The homestay can happen in Sapa, Pu Luong, or Mai Chau. So you can pick one that suits your Vietnam plan the most. Sapa is convenient by train but is nearly overwhelmed by travellers. Mai Chau is close to Hanoi but the authenticity is a bit faded away. Pu Luong is so fresh and fantastic but a bit far. Finally, the choice is in your hand.
#5. Visit a school along the trekking in North Vietnam
In remote areas of North West Vietnam, the illiterate percentage is high. There are not many schools. Communities stay away from one another, and not always have enough children, or enough teachers, or even enough school rooms. Therefore, children are far from school. Some walks very long way to school daily. Others stay at cottages near schools. Meeting those children to see how poor they are, how hard they try for their life’s change, and how happy they are for whatever they are facing. These are of great impacts to our youngsters. The visits to places like this look simple, but inspirational to our young visitors, among other spectacular landscapes of Vietnam
#6. Lunch at a Buddhism orphanage
Hue is named as capital of Buddhism in Vietnam. There are many pagodas with beautiful monuments, Zen architectures, and amazing monks’ daily life to visit. Nevertheless, there are some special Buddhism entities that are wonderful and much more worth of visiting for kids. Those are orphanages run by the female monks. There are sometimes kids were born without adult’s plan. The difficulty and poverty of life does not give them chances to bring up babies. Fortunately, the babies do not end life in death but in the support of these Buddhism. The miserable parents put new-born children in front of pagodas. The monks find the children in front of pagodas and the life of those children restart in that pagoda.
There any many children like that at those pagodas. And the real stories of a certain child can be a bang into the thinking of our youngster of how lucky they are.
#7. Call at a conical hat maker and see how she does it
On the way to visit the mausoleums of the kings, you might pass by some villages where the income of ladies is from making conical hats. This is a traditional hat of Vietnamese nowadays. When entering a house, you will meet several ladies busy with that handicraft job. You will be narrated how to make such a hat. Sitting down with them, you will see that process.
The visit is great to understand another handicraft job of Vietnamese. It also shows the true poverty insides those houses. Nevertheless, the process of making such a conical hat is an impressive patient job that will make our youngster think much for years after.
#8. Lantern making activity
Anyone loves lanterns. This also attaches to the beauty of Oriental culture. Joining a local house in Hoian and making the lanterns in a real traditional way can be a great experience for the children and kids in the trip in Hoian.
#9. Pottery making
You might already have this experience in Bat Trang village in Hanoi. Yes, you are right. Still, the pottery here is much different. The technique of kilning here is much different. And this make the product different too.
What is more, if you miss the chance to let our teens make pottery in Hanoi, this opportunity in Hoian is absolutely a good choice.
#10. An Bang Beach
It is especially important that all the trips with kids need to have some days on the beach. An Bang Beach has been acknowledged as one of the best six beaches in Asia. Then, you do not have to ask how much beautiful the beach is. The sand is white and not steep, and the beach is calm. It is absolute right for the kids.
There was a nice beahc near there named Cu Dai Beach. Nonetheless, the sea current has destroyed the beach, so the sand is so steep and this is not good for children.
If you stay at any hotel in town, there should be a shuttle bus taking you from hotel to An Bang Beach and back at some certain time schedule. Check with your reception to know the pick up time. Else, take a taxi and 5km is worth of 5 USD only.
#11. Boat trip
If you are in Nha Trang and your children miss this boat, that is a big miss. Your children will love this boat trip because they will have opportunity to swim at a very beautiful bay, to snorkel at very colorful coral reefs under tropical sun, to enjoy very tasty seafood lunch on boat, and some lovely wandering at a local village of fishmen.
#12. Mud bath
The mud bath happens around 90 to 120 minutes. It locates around 10km from the center, so the reach by taxi is quite acceptable.
How fun when the whole family join together in a huge warm mud basin! Some teasing might happen insides the basin as mud will turn everyone into dirt statues. The photos of this time are weird but very funny.
After the mud bath, some other fun time in warm mineral swimming pool or water fall can be nice. Such a mud bath is great not only at fun, at great heath but also at making your skin into baby bumb smooth.
#13. Visit an orphanage
In case you have no chance to visit an orphanage in Hue, Saigon is not a bad place to do that. Saigon is a cosmos place, and the poor people are everywhere. There are many pagodas and churches who bring up many children as their families are so poor. Of course, you can identify how good it is for children and teens to visit these place to have an opportunity to look back at themselves.
#14. Dam Sen water park
Children always love water. And Dam Sen is a great choice. This is a huge park with many tens of games in water. You just pay one time to get in. Once insides, your kids will enjoy all the games and activities without any further cost. Believe me this will take a whole day for the kids to go thru all the games. There are many restaurants in the park that you can buy food. However, they are Vietnamese food so consider bringing your sandwich or similar things to make you strong among the games.
This is an indoor centre where children and teens have opportunities to experience all jobs in society. After paying the full ticket for the whole experience, your youngster will be able to become fire fighter, cooker, photographer, astronomer, pilot, doctor, vet, mechanic and many other jobs. They will get paid by what they do or pay others the services they have enjoyed, by the currency of that childish Vietopia country. Thi sis such a nice place for kids to understand jobs. This also can help them to identify their dream jobs.
Vietopia is only 4km from centre but you need a whole day to experience this. Tthere is a canteen where you can find Western food or Vietnamese food there. So, you can survive well.
#16. The 3D Museum
This museum is just behind that Vietopia centre. The teens will like this the most. In this museum there are many 3D paintings that will inspire any selfie lovers. Put yourself in the pictures and there is a long story of you in the romance, disaster or bravery. These photos are fantastic and special for Instagram or Facebook posts. That is why teens will love those the most
#17. Reunification palace
You might say oh this is a historical place and question whether children like it or not. Our recommendation to here is only for some children who are inspired by real tanks. In the front of the palace there are two tanks (one was made in Russian and the other was made in China) and one aircraft. The palace is not the main reason, but the tanks, the aircraft and the green grass yard is a great place for children to get excited. What is more, adults can have chance to visit the palace full of history facts.
Some might want to arrive War Remnant Museum because there are more tanks there. There are even cannons, boats, helicopters, chinooks, etc. If you just look at these things in the front yard. It is fine. Nonetheless, if you take children into the museum, it is not recommended. They are too young to have a right thinking why human kind are so bad to one another.
#18. Mangrove forest
In the South of Saigon city there is a beautiful mangrove forest. It has been acknowledged as World Biosphere Reserve Zone by UNESCO with the typical flora and fauna of the mangroves. This place is great for youngster to learn about mangrove forest, salt pans, bird sanctuary, monkey and crocodile. Rowing a sampan into the forest will also help to show the bats, more birds and a beautiful landscape of the reserve zone.
There are some destinations for enjoying the mangrove forest. We recommend the Vam Sat Ecology center which is around 50km south of Saigon. The route to the forest also takes you to a ferry where you cross the river with a lot of local people.
#19. Mekong Trip to floating market
Mekong trip is nice, elegant and easy for children. Additionally, it is great if you visit the floating market. When you are on the boat passing by a lot of boats on which families have lived for many hundreds of years. Children can’t go to school and their life is on the boat from the time they were born till death. You will see children helps families to manage fruits and vegetables. Other local children might be busy to help parents to sell breakfasts. Of course, the adults of the tour will be inspired by that special daily life scene. Nevertheless, the children will receive the excitement at another angle. More importantly, if you have a good tour guide, the reflection into the youngsters in our team is very impressive.
#20. Cat Tien national park trip
This national park is around 150km from Saigon and needs 3 hours to travel there. Therefore, the trip needs to have some overnights. Hotels in the forest is with basic standard but close to nature and convenient. Some ecolodges nearby the park look better. However, you need to cross the river to get into the park every day.
The parks is great for our youngster with the amazing trekking trails that can be with a lot of lesson about rain forest. The waterfalls, the bear rescue centre and wild monkeys will be also attractive. Nevertheless, there are two other things children cannot miss is a trekking into the crocodile lake to see them in the wild, and a jeep tour by night to see deer and other wildlife eating out.
The private trip to Cat Tien national park can also help to stop some spots on the road to visit a volcano crater, cashew plantations, black pepper plantations and others.
Other things to do in Vietnam with kids
#21. Mui ne Beach
You surely know the beach is always great for children. Especially in Vietnam the beach is very warm and the whole day fun there is not a problem with kids. And we strongly recommend staying two or three nights in Muine for that most relaxing among other things to do in Vietnam with kids.
Muine is 220km North of Saigon. We can access there by 4 hours on car or 4 hours and a half by train. There are hundreds of resorts with beautiful grass yards, nice beach, great swimming pools. So, it will be like a treat. There are games on the beach like wind surfing, sky dive, jet ski, etc. The teens will love those.
Muine you can have some excursions. The hiking in the pink stream will be a trip to the wonderland of Grand Crayon. Don’t forget to visit a family making fish sauce and your children will learn some new knowledge about this Asian food. Some other bigger teens will be excited by the quad bike ride on the long sand dunes of this beautiful bay.
#22. Family biking – The most challenges among things to do in Vietnam with kids
This recommendation seems limited to families on which adults love biking. First challenge is the cost is high (because the renting cost of both bikes for adults and children, plus a support team around). The second challenge is the difficult type of entertainment that you can’t enjoy it without prior training. However, we are seeing a more common requests of this experience than other things to do in Vietnam with kids.
The biking can be tours across endless rice farms in Mekong Delta. It also can be cool trails in the middle of Mada rain forest 50 km North of Saigon. Some cycling along trails across rice farms, canals and mountain in Ninh Binh is also great.
Above are some of our thoughts about things to do in Vietnam with kids. We hope you have helpful clues to plan your great family trip in Vietnam. If you expect to visit some other cities and those are not in our information list yet, email us. We will come back with more ideas and information. Goodluck and enjoy your Vietnam tour.