Category: Vietnam

streets of Hanoi

10 day South Vietnam itinerary

Many travellers to Vietnam take on the typical North to South (Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh) itinerary. To do this justice and to allow for long travel days, you really need at least three weeks, especially if you’re travelling Vietnam with kids. So if you’re short on time, and want a relaxed pace of travel, choose between either a North or South Vietnam itinerary to focus on.

The far South of Vietnam incorporates the expansive Mekong Delta. Stilt houses, floating markets, Buddhist temples and a unique way of life have developed in this flat-lying region criss-crossed with rives and streams. But it’s also home to one of Asia’s most vibrant and economically booming cities – Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC, formerly Saigon); where traditional markets and colonial history sit next to dizzying skyscrapers.

Vietnam market

This South Vietnam itinerary begins and ends in bustling HCMC, takes you out to explore the markets and way of life on the Mekong Delta, then to the quirky and little visited temples of Sam Mountain by the Cambodian border, and finishes with lazy days on the tropical shores of Phu Quoc with a cocktail in hand.

South Vietnam itinerary map

South Vietnam itinerary (Google Maps, 2019)

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. 

Best time of year to visit South Vietnam

The long narrow shape of Vietnam means that the North, Centre and South experience different weather patterns. Check out this month by month break down of weather in Vietnam.

Generally speaking though, the best time of year to visit South Vietnam is from November to March, which marks the hot dry season. However, we visited September / October, and even though it rained most days, these were short sharp downpours that rarely affected our travels, and nicely cooled the air.

South Vietnam 10 day itinerary

I travelled this South Vietnam itinerary with a friend as a mumcation (no kids in tow!) However, I would still recommend this itinerary and the accommodations listed for those travelling Vietnam with kids. There are swimming pools at all the accommodations to cool down after a morning sightseeing, and a the pace of travel is not too fast for families with young kids.

The accommodations recommended below are mid-range, but very affordable as the tourist dollar goes quite far in Vietnam. Buses, taxis, ferries, and planes are used for transportation, and prices included where possible.

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Vietnam has changed A LOT since I first visited back in 2007, especially with regards its transport. .. Back then, an overnight bus journey would involve cramming onto a delapidated bus, complete with broken seats that wouldn't recline, and chickens. You would barely get a wink of sleep as you willed the bus along the pot holed road. .. Now Vietnam's economy is booming, main highways are smooth and the sleeper buses are VERY swish – flat beds with individual TVs, free WiFi, and VERY clean 👌 .. This all makes Vietnam VERY accessible for backpacking families! Over on the blog, with the help of fellow travel bloggers, I'm discussing the top things to do in Vietnam with kids. Click the link on my bio. .. Have you visited Vietnam with kids? What was your favourite thing you did there? Let me know if I've missed anything out! .. .. .. #vietnam #vietnamtravel #travelvietnam #vietnamtrip #instavietnam #visitvietnam #vietnamcharm #igvietnam #myvietnam #explorevietnam #igersvietnam #vietnamnow #parentswhowander #mumlife #uktravelblogger #femaletravelbloggers #mummybloggeruk #parentblogger #mumsinphotos #beautifuldestinations #mytinyatlas #passionpassport #travelmum #wanderlustmomblogger #wanderlusting #vietnambus #mumsinphotos #wearetravelmums

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Day 1-2 Ho Chi Minh City

Where we stayed: Joviale Hotel
Travel time: 30 mins to 1 hour from airport to District 1

Spend your first day wandering around Old Saigon; past Notre Dame Cathedral, and the Central Post Office, before visiting the War Remnants Museum to learn about the the devastating history of conflict. Finish your stroll at the Jade Emperor Pagoda to light candles and incense and join the local ceremonies. You will have built up an appetite with all this walking, so head over to Ben Thanh Street Food Market.

On day two, visit the Cu Chi Tunnels, where you can walk through and learn about the underground tunnel network used by the Viet Cong in the Vietnam war. To get there, the most cost effective way is to join a tour. As tomorrow is a travel day, spend the evening enjoying a beer in your roof top pool and soak in the night views over the city.

Getting from airport:

Expect to pay USD25 for a taxi from the airport District 1 in Ho Chi Minh City. Taxis are located to the left outside the terminal. They are well signposted. Drivers will use the metre. But we learnt that it was actually worked out to be the same price (and easier) to book this through our accommodation.

 

Day 3-4 Can Tho

Where we stayed: Can Tho Ecolodge
Travel time: 4 hours

Can Tho is is the hub of the Mekong Delta and a great place to base yourself for the Cai Rang Floating Markets, which are the biggest in the area. Start your tour early (our alarm was set for 5:30am), so as to beat the boatload of tourists and the heat. Take some change with you to purchase coffee and fruits from the floating barges.

We booked a tour through our accommodation to see the floating markets and also the local (land) markets. The latter is very much a local market. Don’t expect to find any souvenirs, unless snake meat or frogs intestines are your thing.

Make time to enjoy the beautiful pool and hospitality at Can Tho Ecolodge. You can also hire bikes from here to explore the local village.

pool at Can Tho Ecolodge

The pool at Can Tho Ecolodge

 

How to get to Can Tho from Ho Chi Minh:

Book a Grab taxi from your hotel to Mien Tay Bus Station. Then get the Futa Bus to Can Tho. You can book tickets in advance, but we had no problems purchasing on the day from the ticket office. We had an extremely swish sleeper bus (flat beds, TVs, free WiFi) to drive us the 4 hours to Can Tho.

Day 5 Chau Doc

Where we stayed: Sang Như Ngọc Resort
Travel time: 3 hours

Within touching distance of the Cambodian border, the sleepy town of Chau Doc boasts a fusion of Chinese, Cham and Khmer communities, apparent in the temples, mosques and churches.

Browse the markets, and enjoy a bowl of pho by the river. But the main reason to come here is to visit the fascinating temples and pagodas of nearby Sam Mountain.

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This is one of those photos where I should probably have worn a floaty dress. But I'm not a good instagrammer 🤣. My black travel trousers and blue @vango.outdoor rucksack it is ✌️. .. We travelled close to the Cambodian border this morning to Chau Doc, and explored the temples of Sam Mountain. Never seen temples like it! Intricately woven into the mountainside, connected by small tunnels and caves, to stunning views. The boys would have loved the monster and snake models hiding in the caves with bright light bulb eyes 🐍. .. But we're not crossing over to Cambodia this time. Tomorrow we're heading south and hopping ono a boat for some island beach time 🌴. Can't wait to show you where we're staying! .. .. .. #vietnam #vietnamtravel #travelvietnam #vietnamtrip #instavietnam #visitvietnam #vietnamcharm #igvietnam #myvietnam #explorevietnam #igersvietnam #vietnamnow #ig_vietnam #parentswhowander #mumlife #uktravelblogger #femaletravelbloggers #mummybloggeruk #parentblogger #mumsinphotos #parenthood_unveiled #backpackvietnam #beautifuldestinations #mytinyatlas #passionpassport #travelmum #wanderlustmomblogger #wanderlusting #sammountain #chaudoc

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The summit affords sweeping views of the Mekong and over in to Cambodia on a clear day. But head over to the Western side of the mountain to explore the beautiful (and in parts wacky) Phước Điền Tự – Hang Pagoda. Follow the steps up to intricate temples, then keep following the signs to be lead through long tunnels and caves in the mountains, each with it’s own story to tell. Kids will especially love the monster and snake models hiding in the caves with bright light bulb eyes.

How to get to Chau Doc from Can Tho:

Take a morning Futa Bus from Can Tho bus station to Chau Doc (3 hours). From Chau Doc we organised a taxi to take us to our accommodation via Sam Mountain. Note Sang Như Ngọc Resort is about one hour from Chau Doc. You could stay in the town, but options are very limited and Sang Như Ngọc Resort has a pool and playground (ideal if your travelling Vietnam with kids).

Day 6-9 Phu Quoc

Where we stayed: Green Bay Resort Phu Quoc
Travel time: Allow 6 hours

Slip into a low gear and enjoy some well-deserved lazy days lounging by the pool. When you feel like you need to mix it up a bit, take a dip in the azure waters, or head to the spa.

This is the place to unwind and allow the days to drift by unplanned.

And if a floating breakfast in your private pool sounds like your cup of tea, then check out our review of Green Bay Resort; a luxury resort nestled into the jungle, sympathetic to its surroundings and boasting exceptional service.

floating breakfast in private infinity pool

 

How to get to Phu Quoc from Chau Doc:

As our Chau Doc accommodation was quite far out of town and we wanted to catch an early ferry from Ha Tien to Ph Quoc, we decided to book a private taxi from the hotel to Hat Tien (USD40, 2 hours). There seems to be contrasting information online regarding the ferry times to Phu Quoc. Aim to arrive by 9am and you should have no problems. You can purchase tickets on arrival. We caught a 9:30 am ferry, which arrived to Phu Quoc at 11 am, where we were greeted by the driver from Green Bay Resort.

 

ferry to Phu Quoc from Ha Tien

The Phu Quoc Express Ferry to Phu Quoc from Ha Tien

Day 10 Back to Ho Chi Minh

We did look at getting the ferry back to Ha Tien and then the overnight bus back to Ho Chi Minh City. However, even booking 48 hours in advance we found very cheap flights on Skyscanner and realised that it was much easier and cost effective to fly back. There are numerous flight back to Ho Chi Min per day.

 


 

You may also like to read:
Top things to to in Vietnam with kids
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An easy Thailand itinerary (10 days)

Top 18 things to do in Vietnam with kids

The contrasting landscapes, the cultural complexities, and the mouth-wateringly incredible food, make Vietnam with kids a fascinating destination. Couple this with good transport, and the fact that it’s a safe destination and the tourist dollar goes far, it’s no wonder that increasingly more families are choosing to explore Vietnam.

Check out our 10 day South Vietnam itinerary.

streets of Hanoi

  

So if you are planning on travelling to Vietnam with kids, here are the best things to do according to fellow top travel bloggers.

1. Lantern making in Hoi An

(Ania, The Travelling Twins)

We have been a travelling family for the last four years and Vietnam is one of our favourite destinations. We love it for all sorts of reasons – the food, the activities, the people and the sights. Hoi An with kids is our favourite place to be, mostly because there are plenty of things to do with kids.

kids making lanterns in Hoi An

Hoi An is famous amongst other things for lanterns. We wanted to buy one, but we hesitated – worried that lanterns could get damaged in our luggage. However, once we learnt that we could make lanterns ourselves, then we knew that we had to do it. The kids could have fun and make themselves a souvenir of Vietnam too.

We found several places where you can make lanterns. Some have workshops scheduled at certain times and others respond to anyone who drops in ready to try their hand.

The bamboo lamp frames are already prepared. You choose the fabric and colours for the cover. Once you have your materials, you are shown how to stretch and glue it to the frame. My girls at that time were seven and made the lamps totally on their own. We brought them home with us, and we still have them.

The cost of the workshop is approximately 40k VND. About the same amount as you would pay for a similar lamp at the night market. I think it’s fantastic value, fun for kids and providing memories and a souvenir for life.

2. Trekking in Sapa

(Sara, Wheelers on the Bus)

Sapa with kids is one of my favourite places because it felt like an undiscovered treasure. We were hosted by Ethos- Spirit of the Community who are a community enterprise offering tours around the villages of the nomadic Hill tribes of north west Vietnam. All guides have access to educational programmes and funds raised goes towards tackling human trafficking around the Chinese border.

Sapa with kids

Whilst on the tour, we were taken to a market and trekked up the mountain amongst the rice paddies to get to our Guide’s village. We met the family and cooked around the open fire. It is hard to explain the warmth that we felt, sharing food in the multi generational home, experiencing a taste of their life. We spent the whole day laughing together and finding out about their life, marriage, religion, children, work and life in general. We felt like we were taken into their bossom with our guide acting as translator- were gutted when it was time to leave.

We chose a tailor made trek so we knew it would be suitable for us as a family. The guide gave us all some sugar cane to ensure the children had enough energy to get up the hills and chatted and joked with the boys all along the way. They even came away at the end with a toy horse woven from reeds.

3. Kayak around Lan Ha Bay

(Cat, Walk My World)

Cat Ba Island is the launching point for some incredible activities in Vietnam and it was home to one of our favourites – kayaking around Lan Ha Bay. Whilst everyone has heard of Halong Bay, fewer venture to Lan Ha, a neighbouring collection of limestone karsts just off Cat Ba Island. This means virtually no crowds and hardly any cruise ships – a much more peaceful experience.

kayak at Lan Ha Bay

You’ll be taken by boat into the middle of Lan Ha Bay to a floating pontoon where you’ll start your adventure. Kayaking around the hundreds of islands here is a great activity for the whole family as you can hire individual kayaks or have multiple people in the same kayak and go exploring on no fixed route! We really enjoyed paddling around and taking in the incredible views as well as finding stunning white sand beaches that no one else goes to. You can them hop out the kayak and sunbathe, swim in the sheltered coves or just sit and take it all in.

If you manage to find Vanboi Resort, you can buy some freshly cooked lunch on the veranda, overlooking the sea. Hiring a kayak is pretty straightforward as you can either book through an agent in town or head to Ben Beo ferry port and haggle! The cost of the kayak is negotiable (you’re likely to pay about $10 per kayak for the day) and you will also need to pay an additional $2 per person conservation fee at the harbour.

4. Shopping at the Cai Rang Floating Market

(Melissa, Thrify Family Travels)

Located in Can Tho, a large Vietnamese city, the Cai Rang floating markets are the biggest of its kind in the Mekong Delta. Visiting these markets was certainly an eye opener for my little Australian family.

child at Cai Rang Floating Market

At the markets there are large boats piled high with fruits and vegetables and smaller boats pulled alongside them whilst men and women manually put their purchases into the boats. There are also ladies in smaller boats selling coffee, baguettes and drinks. There are even ladies cooking pho right there on their tiny boats, like little mobile cafes.

To arrive in time to see all the action it’s best to arrive as soon as there is day light. We were staying not too far from the markets, but still had to get up well before sunrise. We then boarded a small little boat which putted along the canals which then took us to the Cai Rang floating markets. There a few different tours available, but we took one organised through our homestay which was $10 US per person.

Seeing the Cai Rang floating markets was a wonderful experience for us all and one I highly recommend for families visiting Can Tho.

5. Go bananas at the Crazy House in Da Lat

(Lee, The Travel Scribes)

Kids love weird and wonderful spaces, so the Crazy House in Da Lat, Vietnam is sure to fascinate them! The vision of Vietnamese architect, Đặng Việt Nga, the Crazy House started as a coffee shop and is now a public museum but also a fully-functioning guesthouse. After a short introduction from a friendly guide, you’ll be able to escort the kids around this bizarre complex – think curving staircases, fantastical turrets, strange walkways and everything in between.

Crazy House Dalat

The property is full of oddly misshapen buildings, art installations and bright, popping colours: the little ones won’t know where to look! And, if they get a little bored, there is a quirky café on-site where they can enjoy a cool drink, or take their ice-cream into the central gardens to relax.

One word of caution: some of the upper staircases don’t have very high railings so children should definitely be supervised here!

Tickets costs 50, 000 VND (approx. 2.15 USD / 1.50 GBP) per person, and opening hours are 8:30 am to 7 pm everyday.

6. Ride the Phu Quoc Cable Car

(Soumya, Stories by Soumya)

Riding the world’s longest cable car in Phu Quoc is one of the best things to do with kids in Vietnam. The journey takes place between two islands of the scenic An Thoi archipelago in south Vietnam and is extremely picturesque and thrilling.

Phu Quoc Cable Car

The Phu Quoc Cable Car is nearly 8 km long, apparently the longest in the world today. It takes 15 minutes to get to the other end. This means for a whole 15 minutes, you are up in the sky in a glass car, that sometimes sways from side to side, staring below at fishing villages, turquoise waters, and hundreds of fishing boats that look like colourful pieces of paper on water. At the end of the ride, you can head to the white sand beach on the Hon Thom island and have a good time at the play area there.

Tickets to the Phu Quoc Cable Car are priced at VND 150,000 for adults and VND 100,000 for kids. You can get to the cable car station in An Thoi by bike, taxi, or a shuttle bus from the Phu Quoc city center.

7. Sail along the Tam Coc River

(Kirsty – World for a Girl)

Sailing along the calm waters on the Tam Coc river is one of the most scenic boat rides to take in Ninh Binh with kids. A three-hour cruise in a wooden rowboat takes you through three caves, past towering limestone karsts and cuts through vivid green paddy fields.

boating along the Tam Coc River

The highlight of a Tam Coc boat ride is without a doubt cruising through the narrow caves with bats hanging from the roofs whilst dodging ghostly stalactites and stalagmites. The three natural caves are called Hang Ca, Hang Hai and Hang Ba and each is remarkably different from the rest. Children will love navigating through the dark and mysterious caves.

There are plenty of stops along the way where little ones can get out of the boat and stretch their legs. The most popular shore excursions are visiting ornate waterside temples and traditional pagodas. The rowers are very accommodating towards children. Life jackets are provided for all passengers and children must wear one at all times. Most children find sailing along on the tranquil water calming so it’s a great family activity.

8. Go on a night safari at Cat Tien National Park

(Mary, Move To Vietnam)

Cat Tien National Park is located two hours north-west of Ho Chi Minh City. It is perfect for family travellers who want to get away from the noise of the big city. This national park is protecting a lot of animals that are endangered in Vietnam. Cat Tien National Park offers a tour called Night Safari where all participants get on a big truck while a tour guide help you spot the stunning animals like barking deer, vivet cats, samba deer, wild pigs, porcupines, gaur, and weasels without disturbing their natural habitat.

deer in Vietnam

The tour runs for an hour, the price ranges from 200.000-250.000 VND ($10-$15) per person. The national park is located 3-minute boat ride from the main island. There is no minimum age limit for the kids.

Check out TraveLynn Family’s tips for doing a safari with kids under the age of 5.

I recommend you stay at Green Bamboo Lodge, they have plenty of rooms and are located with a fantastic view of Dong Nai River. It is a 4-minute walk to the Cat Tien information desk or main entrance. Visiting the national park can easily be squeezed in your 3-week trip in Vietnam either you are heading north or going toward the southern part of the country.

9. Watch a water puppet show

(Keri, Our Globetrotters)

A traditional water puppet show is an absolute must for a family trip to Vietnam. No gimmicks here, it is a genuine fun cultural event that is easily accessible to all. Despite being performed entirely in Vietnamese you get the drift of the story, either told over one long performance or several skits. Puppeteers stand behind screens while an orchestra plays along, sometimes playfully shouting at the puppets who are standing in water – to resemble a rice paddy in a tradition that dates back to the 11th century.

water puppets in Vietnam

We have visited both the Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre in Hanoi and The Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theater in Ho Chi Minh City. Our kids were slightly different ages at each, but hands down it was their favourite part of each trip! The comedy and magic that the performers – who must have been doing the same routine for years – exuded was beautiful, you can sense their genuine joy in the performance and this really rubs off on the audience.

The show lasts about an hour which is long enough for holding the kid’s attention (and sitting in the theatre can be a great way to refresh yourself from the humidity outside!) It is interactive fun – you could even get splashes in the front – and despite the language you will have a good idea what is happening and be thoroughly entertained with a great Vietnamese tradition.

10. Ice skating in Ho Chi Minh

(Lena, Four On A World Trip)

When travelling to Ho Chi Minh, Landmark 81 is probably one of of the first buildings you’ll notice. It’s actually impossible not to see; it’s the highest building of South East Asia and at 461 metres, it’s the 14th tallest building of the world.

Saigon cityscape

Kids will love visiting the observation desk to take in the amazing view. However, do visit the ground floor as well! You’ll be amazed to find an actual ice skating rink!

It’s open every day from 9:30 to 22:00, and you can borrow ice skates and skating aids; protections and helmets are also available. They also offer daily ice skating classes, if you feel you want to up your game. But either way, it’s so much fun skating around to blasting disco sounds.

A day pass costs 5€ for kids and 7€ for adults, skates included. If you are not up for ice skating but you’re kids are, don’t worry! There is a food court just next to it with free WiFi and a gallery facing the ice skating rink.

11. Ride the alpine coaster to Dasara Waterfall

(Jackie and Justin, Life Of Doing)

Visiting Bao Loc is not on the typical Vietnam travel route, yet it is a good place to stop in the Central Highlands if you’re headed to or from Dalat. One of the top things to do in Bao Loc is to visit Dambri Waterfall and Tourist Area. It’s a fun place for families to spend the day.

Bao Loc Vietnam

Dambri and Dasara Waterfalls are the main highlights of the area. Dambri is mesmerizing to see due to its height at 70 meters (230 feet) high and its powerful cascades. The nearby Dasara Waterfall has calmer cascades and is very beautiful with the surrounding forest area. A unique way to get to Dasara is by riding the alpine coaster to the base of the waterfall. Two people share a bobsled cart and control the speed with the hand lever. It’s great for the thrill-seekers as you can go fast down the mountain!

Other activities include riding a Ferris wheel, paddling a swan boat, and trying traditional Vietnamese games such as balancing on the beam or going across the monkey bars. There is a children’s area with rides, but they’re old and worn down. A better experience is to enjoy your time in the small swimming pool as there is a water slide.

The cost is 200,000 VND ($8.60 USD) for adults and 120,000 VND ($5.15 USD) for children.

12. Cooking class in Hoi An

(Emily, Wander-Lush)

Hoi An, is the perfect place to try a Vietnamese cooking class. The Old City and surrounding countryside is home to dozens of cooking schools, most of which welcome kids from age 5 and up with open arms.

Vietnamese food

A cooking class in Hoi An typically starts with a visit to the local market. This is a fantastic hands-on way for kids to learn more about fresh produce. After you’ve picked up the ingredients you need, it’s time to step into the kitchen. Participants’ level of involvement differs between cooking schools, but in most cases, you can expect to help with chopping, grinding spices, mixing sauces, and barbecuing. Some schools give you the option of choosing a menu in advance. Fresh rice paper rolls and other dishes that don’t require much cooking would be ideal for kids.

I also recommend choosing a cooking school that incorporates other activities outside of the kitchen. My Grandma’s Home Cooking is set inside a local home on a river island. There’s a beautiful garden on the property where little ones can play if they get bored. At Tra Que Water Wheel, participants also help plant rice and prepare sheets of rice paper. There’s even a water buffalo ride at the end. Hoi An Family Tours tailors classes for kids of all ages and include a paddle on the river in a coracle (traditional round boat) as part of the experience.

Prices vary from school to school, but you can expect to pay between $35 and $55 US for a full-day cooking class. At the popular Red Bridge Cooking School, children under 7 can join the tour free of charge.

13. Boat along the Perfume River

(Nicole, The Passport Kids)

One of our favourite activities that we did as a family in Vietnam was going on a half-day tour along the Perfume River in Hue! Hire a traditional Vietnamese boat right from the city centre of Hue and it will take you all along the river with stops at Thien Mu Pagoda and Citadel (Imperial City). The boat will stop at each of these places and you can hop out and explore while the boat waits for you to return to go to the next place.

family on Perfume River, Vietnam

Super easy for a family to relax on the river and visit these places all while seeing Hue from the water. Most boats can be hired directly along the river with the drivers, but we arranged it with our hotel and it cost us only about USD 35 for our family of four. For us, knowing that we would have a boat waiting for us on a specific day and time was worth a few extra dollars for convenience.

14. Cruise Halong Bay

(Nicky, Go Live Young)

Halong Bay, in northeast Vietnam, is known for its emerald waters and thousands of towering limestone islands topped by rainforests. No visit to northern Vietnam is complete without a trip to Halong Bay.

Vietnam with kids: Halong Bay

The unique beauty of the bay, with its towering limestone karsts, make this a natural wonder of the world and a UNESCO World Heritage site. The best way to enjoy Halong Bay is on a three day/two night cruise, giving you plenty of time to enjoy the Bay. There are numerous cruise operators to choose from, with most including transport between Hanoi and Halong Bay. It is important to know that this is a four hour journey and must too far for a day trip.

We opted for Galaxy Premium Cruises and were delighted with our choice. We spent our days admiring the stunning scenery, kayaking and swimming in the Bay, and eating wonderful sea food. The accommodation on board was very clean and comfortable and we loved sitting on the top deck, particularly at sunset. Day two was our highlight when we left the other boats far behind and spent the day swimming and kayaking among the tremendous scenery, almost by ourselves!

15. Enjoy the rides and games at Sun World Ba Na Hills

(Nick, Wandering Wheatleys)

Sun World Ba Na Hills has achieved quite a bit of fame recently for it’s photogenic “Golden Hand Bridge”. Practically built for Instagram, this golden bridge is held aloft by two giant stone hands that appear to spring straight out of the mountain below. What most people don’t realise, however, is that this bridge is just a single attraction in a sprawling theme park built in the mountains outside of Danang.

Sun World Ba Na Hills

Sun World Ba Na Hills is built to resemble a European village or rather a mashup of several villages. It’s a bit like the Vietnamese version of Epcot. You can visit a German-style beer garden, tour a French Chateau complete with it’s owns wine cellar, or wander through an ornate gothic cathedral.

For kids, there are endless activities at Sun World Ba Na Hills. The park is connected via a series of cable cars which kids will love riding. The streets of the European village are full of performers and live shows. And there is an enormous, three-story fantasy park full of arcade games and interactive rides including an alpine slide and rock climbing wall. The best part is all of the games and rides are included in the cost of your admission to the theme park so your kids can play for hours at no extra cost.

Sun World Ba Na Hills is located about an hour outside of the city of Danang which makes it about 1.5 hours from the popular tourist town of Hoi An. Tickets are 750,000 VND (~$32) for adults and 600,000 VND (~$26) for children over 1 meter tall. Children under 1 meter tall are free.

16. Chill at the beach

(Jenny, TraveLynn Family)

With more than 2000 miles of coastline, Vietnam brims with secluded coves, white sands and waters fit for snorkelling. No trip to Vietnam with kids is complete without some downtime at the beach, and makes for the perfect end to a family trip to Vietnam.

main pool and restaurant at Green Bay Resort, Phu Quoc

Na Trang, Mui Ne and An Bang are popular beach destinations, although my vote goes to the beaches of Phu Quoc, an island right in the South of Vietnam. Slip into a low gear, and find a good resort to base yourselves at.

We stayed at Green Bay Resort, which is wonderful for kids. There are bungalows set into the rainforest for varying budgets, a kids swimming pool, and staff are exceptionally welcoming to families. But the best bit for kids is the warm, shallow waters off the private sandy beach, and the free kayaks to paddle the shores.

17. Cu Chi Tunnels

(Sally, OUR3KIDSVTHEWORLD)

Cu Chi Tunnels is an attraction that might not be right for everyone’s kids. Its a personal choice as to what you feel comfortable with exposing your kids to and from what age. I chose not to take my kids at the time to the War Remnants Museum in HCMC, but I felt comfortable taking them to Cu Chi Tunnels. I had previously visited both places and knew what to expect, the kids at the time were 10, 8 and 6 yrs old.

kids on a tank at Cu Chi Tunnels

The Cu Chi Tunnels are part of a much larger network of tunnels that the VietCong soldiers used to win the Vietnam War; it was their operations base during combat utilised for communication, supply route, hospitals and living quarters. There are stories of some soldiers living underground in the tunnel network for 4 years during the war.

When you visit the Cu Chi Tunnels there is part of the tunnel that you can go down into and experience what it was like during the war. There is a 50m and 100m tunnel which has been expanded to allow for westerns to enter. I did it on my first visit in 2003 and only managed to complete the 50m, I sent the kids through in 2015, they weren’t big fans.

Also on display are traps the Vietnamese used during the war and there is a shooting range were you can fire weaponry used during the war. The firing range is unbelievably loud so be prepared. There are also a number of US tanks that were abandoned when the American’s were defeated.

18. Go on a street food walking tour

(Jessica, Unearth The Voyage)

One of the best things to do in Vietnam with kids is to go on a street food walking tour, especially if you are visiting Hanoi.

Vietnam street market

Street food tours are one of our favourite things to do when we first visit a new country because it gives you the opportunity to try foods that are local to that country in a cheap way. It is also very common for locals in a lot of countries to eat a lot of their meals from street food vendors- so it gives you an insight into what it is like to be a local in that country!

One of our favourite companies to go through for tours in Southeast Asia is Backstreet Academy. The cost of a street food walking tour is around USD 20 per person. If you have little ones along, we suggest booking a private tour so you can go at your own pace and have the kids interact with your tour guide a bit more than if you were in a big group!

19. The War Remnants Museum in HCMC

(Bec, Wyld Family Travel)

The War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City is a place where you learn so much and your heart will hurt like you never thought it ever could. It is place where young kids may not understand the full extent of what is being showed there and a place where older kids may have many questions.

War Remnants Museum HCMC

Taking kids to a place like the war Remnant Museum in Ho Chi Minh City is a hotly debated topic for many families and if you do decide to take your kids there there are things you need to consider. The displays are graphic and they explain situations in the Vietnam War that may not be what you have learnt in your history lessons. This is a side that many do not know about, as there are always 2-3 sides to every story.

The outside area of the museum is filled with old Army tanks, helicopters and and some old bombs. This is a place where younger kids may find very interesting as you can get up close to them and really see what they looked like. There is also the jail there that does have some extremely graphic images and descriptions of the start and lead up to that war in Vietnam.

Inside the museum is where your kids may struggle with the information that is displayed. It covers all areas from bombing to Agent Orange as well. Our daughters are older and they were able to self regulate what they wanted to see and read but one of us always checked a room before they entered to give them a brief over view of what was in there. There are seats on the outside of the rooms where they waited for us if they did not want to enter. There were other kids there too and they always found someone to talk to or help with their English.


Have you visited Vietnam with kids? Would love to hear if you have done any of these activities. Or perhaps there’s something I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments below.

 

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A ‘mumcation’ in paradise: Green Bay Resort, Phu Quoc REVIEW
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private infinity pool at Green Bay Resort

A ‘mumcation’ in paradise: Green Bay Resort, Phu Quoc REVIEW

When your day starts with a floating breakfast in your private infinity pool, and your only appointment that day is with the spa, you know you’re on to a good thing at Green Bay Resort Phu Quoc. A friend and I were on a mumcation in Vietnam. There were no kids or husbands on this trip. Just us and our unplanned and uninterrupted days. Bliss.

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AD| Breakfast at home usually consists of munching on a piece of toast whilst running around the boys, asking them 50 times to dress into their uniforms, listening to their reading books, folding the washing, serving their five course breakfast and finding time to brush my own teeth before running out the door. .. So this morning I very much savoured this floating breakfast @greenbayphuquocresort in our private pool. Absolute bliss 👌 .. .. .. #vietnam #vietnamtravel #travelvietnam #vietnamtrip #instavietnam #visitvietnam #vietnamcharm #igvietnam #myvietnam #explorevietnam #igersvietnam #vietnamnow #ig_vietnam #parentswhowander #mumlife #uktravelblogger #femaletravelbloggers #mummybloggeruk #parentblogger #mumsinphotos #parenthood_unveiled #beautifuldestinations #mytinyatlas #passionpassport #travelmum #wanderlustmomblogger #greenbayphuquocresort #phuquoc #phuquocisland #bbctravel

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Disclaimer: A friend and I were offered a 4 night complimentary stay (sans kids!) at Green Bay Resort Phu Quoc in exchange for social media coverage and this honest blog post review. As always, these are all my own words. This post also contains affiliate links. Should you click to purchase, it is at no additional cost to you, but I receive a small commission. 


We had spent almost a week travelling from Ho Chi Minh, via Can Tho and Chau Doc, and our intentions for our final days on the tropical island of Phu Quoc were to unwind, relax, chill, and relax some more. Green Bay Resort Phu Quoc is the perfect place to do just that.

Although do check out our post – Top things to do in Vietnam with kids – if you’re planning a family trip to Vietnam. 

Luxury bungalows, pavilions and villas

Nestled in to the lush hills, overlooking the gulf of Thailand are a range of luxury accommodations at Green Bay Resort Phu Quoc; from garden view bungalows, to three bed ocean front villas with a private pool.

Sympathetic to their lush surroundings, these accommodations have been built with natural and sustainably-sourced materials, with wood furnishing created by local craftsmen, yet you can still expect those modern amenities typical of a luxury resort;  think outdoor bathtubs and rain showers, ridiculously comfortable king size beds, and excellent free WiFi.

Click here to check accommodation options and prices.

Oceanfront Pavilion with Private Pool, Green Bay Resort Phu Quoc

We stayed in an Ocean Front Pavilion with Private Pool. The sun streams in across the pool and decking in the morning, but come mid morning, the decking is in the shade offering a welcome respite from the heat of the day. My favourite spot to read was perched in the water overlooking the rainforest and out to sea. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.

 

Swimming and dining

At the heart of Green Bay Resort is the main restaurant (where breakfast is served) a large heated swimming pool, and a small private beach that is impeccably maintained.

As the resort is rather spread out, it was a bit of a walk from our Ocean Front Pavilion to this main area. However, this was no problem at all. Whenever we wanted to go to breakfast, or to the spa, we would call reception, and a ‘buggy’ would arrive a couple of minutes later. Excellent service.

main pool and restaurant at Green Bay Resort, Phu Quoc

sun loungers on beach at Green Bay Resort

The breakfast spread is impressive and includes everything from fresh breads and cheeses, to sushi and chocolate doughnuts. The lunch and dinner menu offers both Western and local dishes, and although vegetarian options are limited, just ask the staff and they will rustle you up something special. I particularly enjoyed the vegetarian curry.

What to do at Green Bay Resort

If you feel like you need to adjust your horizontal lounging position, there are a handful of activities on offer.

Snorkel gear, kayaks, and bikes are available free of charge for all guests. There are also complimentary morning yoga classes available and a fitness centre, which I have to admit I didn’t go near.

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#ad See… it's not all lounging by the pool here at @greenbayphuquocresort 🛶😉 .. Went out for a little potter on the kayaks. Free for all guest at the resort 👍 .. And we've just got back from a massage (check out the jungle massage huts on my stories). OMG I have never felt so relaxed in all my life! 🧘‍♀️👌 .. .. .. #kayaking #vietnam #vietnamtravel #travelvietnam #vietnamtrip #instavietnam #visitvietnam #igvietnam #myvietnam #explorevietnam #igersvietnam #vietnamnow #ig_vietnam #parentswhowander #mumlife #uktravelblogger #femaletravelbloggers #mummybloggeruk #parentblogger #mumsinphotos #beautifuldestinations #mytinyatlas #passionpassport #travelmum #wanderlustmomblogger #greenbayphuquocresort #phuquoc #phuquocisland #bbctravel

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If this all seems rather energetic, book in for a spa treatment; the outdoor rustic spa huts for massages are divine. If possible, speak to the Weather Gods and time your massage with a rainstorm. Magical.

massage huts at Green Bay Resort

There is a complimentary shuttle service each day from Green Bay Resort to ‘Down Town’, leaving at 10am and returning at 1pm. But if you’re looking for markets for street food and souvenir shopping, take a taxi to the Phu Quoc Night Markets, which open at 6pm. Book a taxi from reception. The driver will use the meter and expect to pay about VND250000.

How to get to Green Bay Resort Phu Quoc

There is a complimentary pick-up and drop-off service for all guests from the ferry terminal or airport on Phu Quoc. Email Green Bay Resort at least 1 day in advance to book.

Airlines currently operating both domestic and international flights from Phu Quoc include Vietnam Airlines, VietJet Air and Jetstar Pacific Airlines. There are several flights per day to Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. Check Skyscanner for the best deals. We managed to get a flight from Phu Quoc back to Ho Chi Minh City for just £35, booking 48 hours in advance.

ferry to Phu Quoc from Ha Tien

There are regular ferries throughout the day from Hà Tiên and Rạch Giá on the mainland, although there is contradicting information online regarding ferry times. However, if you arrive to the ferry terminal around 9am, you should have no problems getting on a ferry to Phu Quoc. Our ticket from Hà Tiên to Phu Quoc cost VND250000 (approx £8).

Is Green Bay Resort kid friendly?

Despite visiting Green Bay Resort on a mumcation, I can’t help but put my mum/blogger hat on when visiting accommodations. Whilst there are no kids clubs or playgrounds at the resort, there are family rooms available, a kids pool, and warm shallow waters to play in, as well as exceptional staff who I noticed were wonderful with a young family visiting at the same time as us.

I would definitely return with my boys. Although I doubt the floating breakfast experience would be quite as relaxing.


 

You may also like to read:
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Visiting Phu Quoc with kids

Sapa with kids

THE ASIA INTERVIEWS – Sapa with kids

This month we chat to Sara from The Wheelers On The Bus about her favourite family holiday in AsiaSapa, VIETNAM. Have you considered visiting Sapa with kids? It’s an absolute must do for a family trip to Vietnam!

Sapa with kids

I absolutely loved following this family on their round-the-world adventures. They’re true intrepid travellers, with a true focus on giving back to those they meet along the way. And since returning to the UK, they’ve moved into a yurt in the depths of the Welsh countryside! This family is VERY cool! I’ll let Sara tell you more…

1. Tell us a bit about yourselves. Where are you from and how often do you travel as a family? How old are your children?

We are a family of four originally from Bristol UK. We sold our house and took the children (two boys aged five and seven) on a round the world trip. We visited sixteen countries in fourteen months; Australia, Asia and Central and North America. We now live in a yurt on a mountainside in Wales on the outskirts of Snowdonia national park.

Sapa with kids

2. How many times have you travelled to Asia and why do you love travelling there?

I have visited Asia many times before children and loved it- vowing to take my children travelling if I ever had any.

As a continent it has such a huge range of landscapes and cultures so it is hard to sum it up succinctly. I love the food, the weather, the family-centric ethos, the fact that it is SO different from western countries and whilst well travelled it still has many places that remain undiscovered.

3. Why is Sapa your favourite destination?

Sapa is one of my favourite places because it felt like an undiscovered treasure. We were hosted by Ethos- Spirit of the Community who are a community enterprise offering tours around the villages of the nomadic Hill tribes of north west Vietnam. All guides have access to educational programmes and funds raised goes towards tackling human trafficking around the Chinese border.

Sapa with kids

Whilst on the tour, we were taken to a market and trekked up the mountain amongst the rice paddies to get to our Guide’s village. We met the family and cooked around the open fire. It is hard to explain the warmth that we felt, sharing food in the multi generational home, experiencing a taste of their life. We spent the whole day laughing together and finding out about their life, marriage, religion, children, work and life in general. We felt like we were taken into their bossom with our guide acting as translator- were gutted when it was time to leave. My regret? I wish we had arranged a homestay so we could have spent more time with them.

4. What were your top 3 things to do in Sapa with kids?

Sapa is all about the trekking, as the town itself is not hugely interesting. We chose a tailor made trek so we knew it would be suitable for us as a family. The guide gave us all some sugar cane to ensure the children had enough energy to get up the hills and chatted and joked with the boys all along the way. They even came away at the end with a toy horse woven from reeds.

Sapa with kids

We liked walking around the square and visiting the market where the hill tribes sell their textiles. I lost the boys for half a minute and they had been dressed up as Red Dao children by a couple of tribe elders! The fabric and textiles are incredible as it is all hand worked and utterly beautiful.

Sapa with kids

There is also the Sapa Culture Museum where you can find out the history of the hill tribes that settled there and you can see some crafts being made. This was great for a rainy day.

5. Where did you stay and do you recommend it?

We stayed at the Sapa Memory Hotel which was £20 per night for a family room with breakfast included. I would recommend it as they were very accommodating when we turned up at 4am having missed the sleeper train. They let us have our room several hours early so we could get a good sleep before our trek!

Sapa with kids

6. What did the kids eat?

Fried rice and noodle soup, as in most of Asia! There were western foods available but they were more expensive.

7. How did you get around Sapa with kids?

We walked as our hotel was just a fifteen minute walk into the town.

8. What is your top tip for travelling to Sapa with kids?

Book with Ethos so as to avoid the potentially awful human zoo experience. Our trek felt like a genuine cultural exchange and was incredible because of that.
Be careful with the Hanoi-Sapa sleeper train; they are notoriously hard to navigate. We booked several weeks earlier through our hotel (Blue Sky Hanoi) but on the night we were refused access to the train. It was really distressing and when the ticket seller called the Manager of the hotel to come and get rid of us, he advocated for us and convinced her to pay for a private driver as she had oversold the train! Dong (the manager) was our friend and saviour that night.

Sapa with kids

9. What items could you not have done without in Sapa with kids?

Trekking shoes, water bottles and layers- it can get chilly in the mountains even if it is warm when you set off.

10. Where are you off to next?

We are exploring around our new home in Snowdonia and saving for our next big trip to South America. Trying to be sensible to save for the next big one!

Sapa with kids

 

You can follow the adventures of The Wheelers On The Bus on their website, Facebook and Instagram.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. Should you click on a link to purchase, this is at no extra cost to you, although I receive a small commission. 

 

Sapa with kids

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Ninh Binh with kids

THE ASIA INTERVIEWS – Ninh Binh with kids

This month we chat to Rosalind from Research Roam Repeat about her favourite family holiday in AsiaNinh Binh, VIETNAM. Have you considered Ninh Binh with kids? It’s an absolute must do for a family trip to Vietnam!

Ninh Binh with kids

Vietnam is currently a hot destination for family travel. But you don’t hear of many families visiting the dusty town of Ninh Binh. Sometimes it is finding the perfect accommodation that makes a place for you. In this case, Rosalind and her family found the most wonderful homestay that made the whole family feel extremely welcome. And the free bike hire with child seats sounds like a massive bonus to me! I’ll let Rosalind tell you more…

1. Tell us a bit about yourselves. Where are you from and how often do you travel as a family? How old are your children?

We are a family of 4, living and working in London, UK. My husband and I are both academics working in the field of global health. As the name suggests, this involves a fair bit of travel, usually to low- and middle-income countries seeing as that is where most of our research projects are based. I hate to leave my girls (age 2 and 5) behind so, where possible, we like to take them with us when we travel for work. Unfortunately that has got a lot harder since our eldest (5) started school. Our biggest family adventure to date was when we moved to India for a year for my PhD fieldwork. We also like to travel both near and far during the school holidays.

Ninh Binh with kids

2. How many times have you travelled to Asia and why do you love travelling there?

Between us we have travelled to various parts of Asia for work, including Cambodia, Bangladesh, India, Singapore, Thailand, and Russia. Since having kids we have been back and forth to India too many times to count! And most recently, we enjoyed a fantastic family holiday in Vietnam to celebrate finishing my PhD!

3. Why is Ninh Binh your favourite destination?

The scenery in Ninh Binh just blew me away. It was the part of our itinerary that we were most unsure about. The rest of our trip included Hanoi, Sapa, and Hoi An. We didn’t fancy making the journey to see Ha Long Bay- controversial considering it’s the country’s main attraction. My youngest is so high energy and wild that I didn’t fancy spending 24 hours on a boat with her trying to hurl herself off the edge! So instead we wanted to explore a lesser visited part of the country and came across Ninh Binh. When we got off the train and arrived in the town itself we were fast regretting our decision! There is not much to see except a dusty town. We took a taxi to our homestay and soon started to realise the beauty of the area.

4. What were your top 3 things to do in Ninh Binh with kids?

1) Just cycling around, taking in daily life in the countryside
2) Climbing to the pagoda at the top of Mua caves
3) A boat trip- either Tam coc, Trang an, or Van long

Ninh Binh with kids

5. Where did you stay and do you recommend it?

We stayed at Ninh Binh Panorama Homestay and this is what made our trip so special. My jaw literally dropped as our taxi turned off the road to start to 1.5km bumpy path up to the 6 shacks. Our local taxi driver was even frantically taking pictures on his phone- which I think says a lot! The ladies who run this place are so kind and welcoming. My daughter also really enjoyed playing with the daughter of one of the owners. Our little shack had 2 large doubles (perfect for a family) and the view from our balcony of dreams was second to none. Nothing quite like beers on the balcony in a hammock whilst the little one naps. This is currently my favourite accommodation in the world!

Ninh Binh with kids

6. What did the kids eat?

My eldest was all about ‘noodles with beef’ and my youngest pretty much lived off white fish and watermelon! Fresh juices with every meal were also a hit.

7. How did you get around Ninh Binh with kids?

The homestay had complimentary bicycles (complete with child seats). These were perfect for both girls. We cycled everywhere and this really made the trip what it was. Winding down back alleys, taking it all in, and the kids LOVED this mode of transport.

Ninh Binh with kids

8. What is your top tip for travelling to Ninh Binh with kids?

Make sure to get out of the town- nothing to see here. And secondly, exploring by bicycle is a must!

9. What item could you not have done without in Ninh Binh?

I keep banging on about the bicycles but without these the trip would have had a completely different vibe. They gave us the freedom to explore at our own pace, on our own time frame.

10. Where are you off to next?

A little closer to home- we are headed to explore Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way in a camper van next week!

 

You can follow Research Roam Repeat’s travels on instagram.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. Should you click on a link to purchase, it is at no extra cost to you, but I get a small commission that goes towards the running of this blog. 

Ninh Binh with kids

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Phu Quoc - Vietnam beach with kids

THE ASIA INTERVIEWS – Phu Quoc with kids

This week we chat to Melissa from Thrifty Family Travels about her best holiday destination in Asia for family travel – Phu Quoc, Vietnam. Have you thought about visiting Phu Quoc with kids?

This place sounds absolutely divine! South East Asia offers so many wonderful beaches, but it can be so difficult to track down the right one that works for young families. I reckon Thrifty Family Travels is on to a winner here!

Check out our post – Top things to do in Vietnam with kids.

Phu Quoc - Vietnam beach with kids

1. Tell us a bit about yourselves. Where are you from and how often do you travel as a family? How old are your children?

We are Thrifty Family Travels which is made up of myself (Melissa), my partner Andy and our daughter Myla who is currently 6. Both Myla and I are born and breed Australians, however Andy is from New Zealand but has called Australia home for over 20 years.

We travel as often as we can around school and work both internationally and within our own country which is Australia and even our own local city of Brisbane.

Phu Quoc - Vietnam beach with kids

2. How many times have you travelled to Asia and why do you love travelling there?

I personally have been to Asia over 10 times, gosh maybe even over 20 times! Even Myla has been to Asia 5 times. Myla’s first international trip was to Thailand when she was 18 months old.

Given Asia, in particular SE Asia is so close to us in Australia it makes it an easy and cheap holiday destination. We also love the gorgeous beaches, the exotic culture and how friendly and welcoming the people are in SE Asia. Oh and the food – it is amazing!!!! We love Asian food.

3. Why is Phu Quoc your favourite destination?

Phu Quoc is one of our family favourites. We just love the stunning beaches here. The water is so calm and warm and crystal clear. We all just love lying around the beaches all day. Unlike other SE Asian beach destinations, it’s not crazy busy (yet!!) and I find there are not as many vendors trying to sell you things, so you can relax a lot more.

I love the fact that the water is calm so its super kid friendly. Andy and I can dine on the beach or have a few drinks and Myla can swim in the shallow water or build a sandcastle.

Once you have had enough of lying around, there are plenty of other beaches to explore, islands for snorkelling and little villages.

PhuQuoc_sea

4. What were your top 3 things to do in Phu Quoc with kids?

I have probably already mentioned them but swimming in the calm beaches, playing in the sand and visiting the friendly local people in the villages.

5. Where did you stay and do you recommend it?

We stayed at Viet Thanh Resort on Long Beach. They have fairly large bungalows and a few of them are right on the beach which is perfect for watching the kids play whilst you relax on the veranda. They are located on what I believe is the most beautiful part of long beach and the accommodation is basic and cheap.

Phu Quoc - Vietnam beach with kids

6. What did Myla eat?

Well Myla loves rice, so she’s always good in Asia. There is all the usual western food if your kids are not into Asian food like sandwiches and chips. Myla loved the pancakes at Viet Thanh that she had for breakfast every morning.

Phu Quoc - Vietnam beach with kids

7. How did you get around Phu Quoc with kids?

We like to hire a motorbike, but there are plenty of taxi’s around too.

8. What is your top tip for  travelling to Phu Quoc with kids?

Book into one of the beach bungalows at Viet Thanh – you will think you are in paradise!!!

My other tip is to get out and explore the island, there are so many gorgeous beaches and the little villages are awesome.

9. What item could you not have done without in Phu Quoc?

My swimmers! I lived in them.

10. Where are you off to next?

Next we are off to Adelaide, we have never been to South Australia so keen to check it out.  Our next international trip is to Langkawi and Kop Lipe – yes more stunning SE Asia islands!

 

Read more about Thrifty Family Travels on their website. You can also follow on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. Should you click on a link to purchase, it is at no extra cost to you, but I get a small commission that goes towards the running of this blog. 

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