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Top tips for visiting museums,temples and monuments with children in Vietnam
To avoid the fatigue and crankiness on long days out sightseeing there should be one rule of thumb… scooter ! In Vietnam, the kick scooter is not really used and it is therefore a novelty and is tolerated just about everywhere. Hence despite very long days out & about, and in very warm temperatures we had a great time….
Raise their hand anyone that has not experienced a tantrum or scene when on holidays during a day’s sightseeing. I doubt many hands would be high in the air. Yes we all have had to leave a superb temple or museum a little earlier than we would have liked to, or god forbid miss one of the must-see’s ! I think we can all relate to this scenario to a greater or lesser extent.
It is clear that our dear ones do not always have the same appreciation as ourselves for art, architecture, culture or magnificent countrysides. Therefore bringing them travelling and to visit the sights, like the imperial city in Hue (in the Rain) or the Ho CHi MInh Malseulem (in midday heat) could very quickly turn into a nightmare.
Here are our top tips to get through a days of intensive sightseeing (or even multiple days) so that it remains a wonderful memory for all the family :
Do not walk to the sight. Even if it's a relatively short walk it's very often worth it to take some mode of local transport. If you walk to the destination then they will inevitably get tired during the visit. Depending on the country/location you are in there a variety of different modes of transport to choose from, so mix it up and keep them happy : variety is the spice of life
Bring a kick scooter ! This is revolutionary ... believe me. This is what we did for our trip to Vietnam, primarily i must admit for our video series, however despite putting the whole family through looooooong days of filming (including some very early mornings like our 5am Tai Chi session by the lakes side in Episode 3) we never had any tantrums. Its bizarre (yet understandable at the same time) that kids are never tired when they are on a scooter, even though they have to push it ! However the cherry on the cake is to bring an adult scooter also ! This is for several reasons : you can also be part of the fun, the family can use the scooters as a means of transport, you will not literally get left behind and also if they do get tired you can double up on the adult scooter and take a child onboard. During our vietnam stay we passed many family travellers like ourselves but they were trying to carry kids in the sun or drag them around the sights, whereas we were always, having fun, laughing and doing synchronised scooting.
Play games : find all the animals in the paintings for example. See if all the dragons look alike or spot the differences … What do you see in that painting Which do you prefer. Many places now have activities adapted for children. Be sure to tune in for our Episode 10 on Ho Chi Mihn city where an art expert plays games with us in a compempary art gallery
Make a donation by lighting a candle in a church or temple. Sometime something very simple can
Visit something when something special is happening like a festival, a ceremony or a concert. It is not always easy to sync your vist with something cool so in that case check out the places that organise things specifically for kids.
Visit the area with locals (students or volunteer guides), as they will know best what is ideal for the kids (as they tend to be younger) . Bike rides, the best ice cream in town, the anecdotes that would interest children is all their domain. But aside from this the children will get a real idea of what the local people are like. Check out hanoi free tour guides when in Hanoi and Hoi An free tour guides when in Hoi An !
Encourage them to become a photo journalist : with the iphones and cameras that are omnipresent (or even a specific child friendly camera) you can motivate them to get the best shot to show their friends and family back home. Or even better, what we did is we organised photo competitions amongst the family. It gets everybody thinking about how best to capture a certain magnificent monument in their own unique way and appreciate it all the more.
Take videos with them - introducing the location/monument for family back home. Involve them in the choice of the filming location, the angle and what you are going to say.
Rest & hydration : these are obviously very important to keep them energised.Always have a bottle of water on hand and make sure they (and yourselves) drink regularly. Take some time in the souvenir and ice cream shops along the way AFTER the visits are finished (allows room for negotiation) … or before hand if really need be
EP 3 - Tai Chi in Hanoi by the lake & Vietnam History tour on a kick scooter !
The Kid Trotter brings you to do some Thi Chi by the Hoàn Kiếm Lake in Hanoi and after she takes you on a cultural and historical tour of the city with a little Vietnam history lesson on Ho Chi Minh