This beautiful, beguiling country is packed with opportunities to explore everything from ancient cities to hidden caves. Visitors on luxury family trips to Vietnam can unwind in style at some seriously impressive kid-friendly hotels and boutique guest houses. What’s more, the Vietnamese tend to dote on children, so a warm for you and the brood is virtually guaranteed.
Our itinerary for a two-week family trip to Vietnam proves that a luxury vacation with the kids doesn’t need to mean abandoning your sense of adventure. If you’re craving some luxury, this 2-week itinerary allows plenty of time to relax and soak up Vietnam’s beauty and unique ambience, while still packing in plenty of big ticket sights, experiences and family-friendly activities.
Day 1-3 Ho Chi Minh City
The city formerly known as Saigon is still frequently referred to by the old name, as well as being commonly shortened to HCMC. Whatever you choose to call it, it’s wise to start your Vietnamese family vacation here, rather than throwing the brood in at the deep end by starting the trip in noisy, chaotic Hanoi. HCMC is a gentler introduction to Vietnamese cities, and there’s plenty here to keep the family entertained for at least a few days. There’s a lot to pack in, so hiring a driver/guide to whizz you around the city’s best sights and attractions is a wise move. Be sure to find time to take in one of the famous Water Puppet Shows, where folkloric tales are enacted on a “stage” of water (there are several in the city, but the Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theater in District One is reliably good), while the city’s zoo and botanical gardens also merit a visit.
Where to stay: Get things off to a comfortable start by checking into one of the city’s plush family-friendly hotels. For high-end accommodations on a grand scale, we recommend Park Hyatt Saigon, where the family-pleasing amenities include lush landscaped gardens, an outdoor pool, a super-handy location perfect for downtown sightseeing, and even a butler service for families wanting to go all-out. Families looking for a more boutique option might want to try Villa Song, which has 23-beautifully-appointed rooms and suites and a gorgeous riverside location. Both hotels can arrange transfers from the airport, and both have good on-site dining, so it may well be tempting to spend your first day and night just relaxing and soaking up the tropical bounty.
? Box out: Your kids may never forgive you if you leave HCMC without a visit to Suoi Tien Cultural Amusement Park. It’s a Buddhist-themed park, where rollercoasters and waterslides whizz past statues and shrines, and staff stroll around dressed as golden monkeys. Located in District 9, it even has an artificial beach. Best to side aside a whole day for this one!
Day 4-5 Mekong Delta Cruise
A luxury cruise along the Mekong Delta will be a memorable part of your family trip to Vietnam. Kids tend to love the colonial-era boat replicas, and the cabins are cool and comfortable. Meals are provided on board, but be sure to mention ahead of time if there are fussy eaters or food allergies. You’ll glide past gorgeous pagodas, drinking in stunning sunsets (and delicious cocktails, should the mood strike!) as you go. Excursions such as cycle rides and cookery classes are optional extras. One high-end option is Les Rives Experience, and for those who want to step up the luxury level, private speedboats and skippers are also available, which allow families to set their own sightseeing agenda. Plan to spend at least one night aboard.
Day 7-10 Nha Trang
Avoid the risk of car sickness and take a flight (around one hour, several flights daily) to the beautiful beach city of Nha Trang. Island-hopping boat tours and a visit to VinPearl Amusement Park offer further family fun. Book into your own private paradise at Evason Ana Mandara – a luxury resort set right on the softest, whitest sands imaginable. There’s a Kids’ Club (free for under-fours) and tons of water-based activities for older kids and teens. A spa (parents and kids pampering sessions available) and plush bar and restaurant mean families on luxury breaks in Nha Trang may never want to leave.
Day 11-12 Hanoi
After soaking up sun and spectacular views at Nha Trang (a flight from Nha Trang to Hanoi takes a little under 2 hours), the batteries should be recharged enough for a visit to the big city. A fun way to see the city is to take a bike ride to the the tranquil Hoan Kiem Lake, a pleasant setting for afternoon water puppet shows. On your second day in the city, have a guide take you on a whistle-stop tour of the city’s best temples and pagodas, stopping for lunch in the French Quarter, and visiting the Museum of Ethnology, which provides an interesting look at Hanoi’s multi-ethnic makeup, where kids can peek inside traditional dwellings.
Where to stay: Look for centrally-located lodgings on Hang Trong, Ngo Queyen or Hang Bong for ease of access to major sights. One lovely option for families is Apricot Hotel, an artsy lakeside spot with an emphasis on the finer things in life like afternoon teas, fine pastries and brightly-colored cakes. There’s a rooftop bar with glorious panoramic views so visitors can get the lay of the land as they sip sundowners at cocktail hour. Families on a luxury trip to Hanoi should have their hotel arrange a direct transfer from the airport.
?Box out: Kids with a head for heights can zip up super-speed elevators (50 seconds from ground floor to 65th floor) where a glass-floored Sky Walk offers a birds’ eye view of the city that’s not for the faint-hearted.
Day 13-14 Halong Bay
No luxury family break in Vietnam would be complete without a cruise around the magnificent Halong Bay, an UNESCO World Heritage Site with crystalline waters and dramatic conical islands. It’s a short hop from Hanoi, and your hotel will be able to arrange transfers and book boat trips. Do your research in advance, though–there are lots of types of trips available, but kids tend to enjoy the traditional-style junk boats. Indochina Junk is good option for off-the-beaten track exploring and it has a license to explore some regions that few other boats are allowed to visit, all with a focus on sustainable luxury travel.
? Tip: Halong Bay boat cruises are best for pre-toddling babies and kids that are old enough to know about boat safety. As strollers aren’t a practical option on the islands you’ll be visiting, kids will need to be small enough to be carried or big enough to walk by themselves. Unless you want to spend your whole cruise chasing your toddler all over the ship, it’s best to either take wee babies or wait until the kids are older.
Day 14- Hanoi/Departure
Back to Hanoi to catch the flight home! If your flight leaves late at night, it’s work making a quick trip out to Tam Coc, a group of three hidden caves famous for their natural beauty set the city in the glorious Vietnamese countryside.
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