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Why visit Vietnam with children ?
Amazement was the reaction in our entourage when we announced we were going (and bringing our 5 year old ) to Vietnam. I’m not too sure where this reaction came from, perhaps becuase it is so far from home, perhaps it is perceived as a dirty 3rd world country, perhaps it is considered a reserved destination for young adventurous backpackers, or perhaps its just too different to the European family norm. All I can say is it was a truly memorable trip for our family and highly recommended
Vietnam is an ideal country to visit with kids. The kindness of the locals and their affection towards young kids surprised us at first, but then facilitated our interaction with just about everyone .... from security guards to shopkeepers to hotel staff etc etc . Cononlised by the French and the Americans in the not too distant past, the country has done a good job to conserve its wonderful culture… It is a country that allows foreign visitors to have certain ‘home’ comforts. It is clean, politically stable and many people speak english ! The countryside is quite extraordinary also … therefore all the ingedients seemed to be there for a great trip. Here is our list of reasons the Vietnam is a great place to visit with the little ones (in no particular order) :
The Vietnamese are genuinely friendly and curious
During our 3 week trip our daughter who was 5 and ½ had her hair stroked, her head patted, or her cheeks squeezed at least 100 times by local adults. You can see this right from the off in our episode 1 (EP 1 - Visiting the market and old town in Hanoi)
She spent time playing with random local kids, children of our host families but also kids from remote mountain villages, and she was even invited to spend some time in a local school.
The Vietnamese love children
Personally i do not know another country (so far as a parent) that is as child friendly. I’m not talking here about having attraction parks in every city, or playgrounds in every city park. I’m not talking about a ‘child policy’ to entice more customers. I’m talking about just people being genuinely and really genuinely interested in the ‘child’ and being sooo accommodating and even bending over backwards to suit families. Everything from service and attention at restaurants, to not batting an eyelid at our scooters in museums and temples made our holiday pretty amazing.
Every time the welcome was warm and caring towards Enya. It was the opposite to what you might sometimes experience in Europe ( the feeling that they are hoping those pesky little kids will behave themselves) Indeed you can see this underlined in many of our videos… whether it was students, local tourists or our guides, everyone rapidly developed a complicity with Enya as they played with her, carried her, held her hand or even caressing her hair !!
A very different culture but still a reassuring environment.
The other big advantage of vietnam : is a total change of scenery...but with certain european comforts. Occupied by the french for many years, Vietnam and especially Hanoi still has many French style buildings in certain areas. Even if the old quarter is typically asian the population has embraced change and adapted to certain western customs. Today in Hanoi, and alot of other places in Vietnam, many cafes and restaurants resemble ours…. with english menus.
Speaking of english, you will find that a big number of the Viets speak english (at least in the urban areas). You will even find certain people that speak fluent french ( in places like Hue for example) Therefore it is quite easy to communicate, facilitating the organisation of your travels and accommodation on the fly.
The country has made great progress in the hygiene domain, due in great part to the influx of tourists over the past 20 years. Compared to India it is very clean. During our trip we had no health issues, despite eating out all the time…. we did of course only eat cooked foods, fruits with skins and bottled water…. However we have seen in alot of places that the locals boil water to wash veg or serve drinking water. And most importantly of all toilets and bathrooms were clean.
Cheap yet super enrichiching
I should maybe have begun with this point. It is a big factor when travelling with children. Vietnam is one of the cheaper countries to holiday in, after the plane ticket is bought of course. 2 euros per meal per person at the lower end and about 10 euros for a really amazing meal. 20 euros for a bedroom in a clean yet lower end hotel or in a homestay. Obviously if you have a bigger budget there are many luxurious abodes to meet your fancy (and wallet).
With regards tickets for temples and monuments, the prices are pretty cheap. If you are travelling long distances a chauffeur driven car may well be cheaper than the train if you are 3+ people.
So to resume from our experience you would be looking at approximately 50-60 euros per day for 3 people. And for that you get to discover beautiful red and gold temples, multi colored markets filled with with foreign fruits, picturesque rice paddy fields and a delicious cuisine with all their herbs and spices.
How can you not consider visiting Vietnam ?? Check out our video below and leave us some comments. Have you been to Vietnam ? What was your experience like ?
EP 1 - Visiting the market and old town in Hanoi
In this first episode of The Kid Trotter, Enya discovers Hanoi with a local vietnamese student. She learns to cross the crazy roads amongst the millions of motorbikes before diving into a local market to see how the local people do their shopping. You will also learn why the Vietnamese dance in temples and visit the famous water puppet theatre .