family travel vietnam


Spice Up Your Family Trip to Dalat with these Under-the-Radar Activities!

Sometimes known as the “City of Eternal Spring,” Dalat is one of the most popular destinations for families visiting Vietnam, thanks to its less-than-scorching temperatures, gorgeous mountainous landscape, and wealth of kid-friendly attractions. Families in Dalat can ride roller coasters through the jungle, soar above the trees in cable cars leading to crashing waterfalls, and check into one of the the most child-pleasing guest houses on the planet the Dali-esque Crazy House (a tourist attraction in its own right). The quiet roads are perfect for family cycling trips, and most guest houses in Dalat welcome newcomers with a family meal free of charge, which provides a great way to get to know locals and other guests. Dalat’s popularity can make it feel like a rather tame family resort though, and visitors will find themselves negotiating large crowds at most of Dalat’s family attractions. Scratch the surface, though, and visitors to Dalat with kids can find a whole host of off-the-beaten-path experiences that will add some welcome spice to a visit to this tranquil mountain resort.

 Visit the Elephant Waterfall

Dalat is famous for its waterfalls, and the mountain coaster heading to Datanla Falls is one of the busiest tourist attractions in the town. It’s worth doing (the kids will never speak to you again if you don’t let them ride it at least once), but for crowd-free falls, get yourself to the farther-flung Elephant Waterfall. Some 40 kilometers from Dalat, the impressive falls remain largely a local attraction and happily free of vast crowds of tourists. Several tour operators run trips here, but families can also do it the DIY way by taking either a local bus (these run frequently during daylight hours), or cycling. Note that there are some tough trails to scramble over at the end, so bring sensible shoes. Little ones may need to be carried. The waters crash down from a height of some 30 kilometers, and the area around the absurdly scenic lake is perfect for dips and family picnics. A nearby pagoda with giant blue Happy Buddha is a good spot for family photos.

∴ Impress the kids by telling them the legend of Elephant Waterfall. The less-than-cheery ancient story holds that a kind daughter of one of the tribal chiefs, much loved by the local animals, was due to marry a similarly popular chieftain, much to the delight of the area’s elephants. The great creatures came from all around to attend the ceremony, only to find that the couple had died before the ceremony. The stricken elephants were united in grief and died at the foot of the waterfall, where they were fossilized. The local mountain god cried tears that mixed with the stream, and consoled the dead elephants.


Experience the Lost Art of Silver Ring Making in Action

The art of crafting silver rings has long been practised by local Churu people, but today the tradition is dying out. Visitors to Da Lat can take a craft village tour to see artisans at work their homes in little-visited nearby villages. It’s possible to make the trip by bike, but guides can provide interesting information about the custom. The process of making the rings takes around three hours, and it’s possible to buy the rings to take home, which makes a perfect keepsake (and an incentive for any accessory-loving child to make the trip out here). Surrounding villages are known for crafts such as pottery-making and weaving, and there are some stunning, crowd-free monasteries and temples to be visited if time allows.


Visit a Strawberry Farm

The landscape and climate of Da Lat makes it particularly fertile ground for growing everything from coffee to flowers, and families cycling along the quiet roads will see all manner of farms in the outlying areas. Many of these farms are open to visits, and among the most enticing are the strawberry farms, easily spotted from the road. Many can be visited for a fee of $1 USD, and visitors can pick their own fruit (pay for what you pick) and purchase other tempting products such as jams, jellies and strawberry wine (just don’t drink too much if you’ve come here on your bike!). There are several tour companies offering organized tours to farms, but it’s fun just to look out for signs and call in.


Don’t Miss the 100 Roofs Café

If you visit only one cafe-bar in Dalat, you really have to make it to the 100 Roofs Café. Also known as The Maze, this labyrinthine eating and drinking establishment is truly a one-of-a-kind experience. The owners will tell kids Gandalf and his hobbit pals have pitched up here, and while it can’t really claim to have played host to fictional characters, the network of dim corridors, caves and stairwells makes it feel like you are stepping into a fantasy novel. There are great views from the roof, and it’s possible to spend literally hours navigating the corridors and uncovering secret spots, such as an aquarium-themed underground room. Happy hour promotions make this an extra-fun experience for the grown-ups, while kids can enjoy soft drinks and snacks, but it’s the opportunity for limitless exploring that’s the real draw.


Need more ideas regarding how to travel on a budget with your family? Check out my eBook available for download on Amazon here!

Get off the beaten track in Nha Trang, ditch the beach crowds and full moon parties in favour of family-friendly fun at these under-the-radar spots!

Long sandy beaches, a lovely mountain backdrop, reviving hot springs, excellent diving and delicious seafood: Nha Trang has a lot to offer family visitors to Vietnam. But those appealing attractions mean it’s far from an undiscovered gem. Nha Trang is, with good reason, one of the most popular beach destinations in Vietnam, which might be a little off-putting for families who like their traveling to have a more local experience. Independently-minded families visiting Vietnam shouldn’t avoid visiting Nha Trang because of its popularity–aside from the obvious attractions, there are some less-touristy family attractions and activities in Nha Trang, and a whole lot of lovely swimming and sunbathing to be done.


Take a Trip to Yang Bay

Active families in Nha Trang will find it well worth taking a short side trip to the nature-lovers’ paradise that is Yang Bay. Around 50 kilometers from Nha Trang, it’s easily and inexpensive to reach by local bus (or pay a modest fee for a reasonable group or private guide). And while large groups of visitors flock to the pretty waterfalls and pools, the surrounding area is full of blissfully quiet trails. The Yang Bay eco-tourism site covers nearly 600 hectares and includes some truly spectacular flower displays. Look out for the magnificent, color-changing King Lotus flowers, whose leaves span up to two meters! Search for vine trees and weeping fig trees which wind around each other 25 meters into the sky, with a trunks so wide that even the largest family would struggle to reach around it hand-in-hand. There’s also a beautiful bird garden, home to more than 1,000 species. Families can pack a picnic and ditch the group tours in favor of independent exploring; just don’t get lost!


Encourage a Passion for Science at the Alexandre Yersin Museum

One for a rainy day, perhaps, this museum is within easy walking distance of the city center, and will thrill kids with a passion for science. Most tourists are too busy sunbathing or swimming to visit, but it’s well worth coming here to check out the exhibits dedicated to the life and works of Swiss-born, naturalized French scientist Yersin, who spent the last stages of his life in Nha Trang. Best known for his work in combating the bubonic plague, he arrived in Vietnam in the late 19th century to work on treatments for various animal diseases. The museum is located in the stellar scientist’s former home, and items on display include slides, photographs and medical instruments as well as his desk and  his death bed. Entrance is little more than $1 USD.


Hone Your Haggling Skills at Xoi Moi Market 

Bargain-hunting visitors to Nha Trang usually head straight for the famous Dam Market, and there’s certainly a lot of fun to be had browsing everything from crafts and keepsakes to weird and wonderful fruits and vegetables. But while Dam Market does play a large part in catering to the local community, it’s also become something of a tourist attraction, and where tourists flock, higher prices soon follow. For more local flavor, it’s well worth setting the alarm early for a morning visit to Xoi Moi Market on the outskirts of town (get here before 7:30 AM for the freshest local produce and the best bargains). Visitors can get a caffeine fix and a delicious breakfast  or fruit smoothie, if the thought of savory noodles before noon doesn’t appeal. The goodies range from locally-produced arts, crafts and items of clothing to every foodie ingredient imaginable, and with scarcely an out-of-town in sight, prices compare extremely favorably with elsewhere. Just be prepared to haggle, haggle haggle.

 ?Eat this: Its coastal location makes Nha Trang a favorite destination for fish-loving foodies. Among the most popular of the town’s local specialties is bun cha sua. A favorite breakfast dish, it’s a potent mix of rice noodles, steamed fish and spicy-sweet broth. Another key ingredient is jellyfish, which may have kids clamoring to try it or refusing to give it a go, depending on their level of culinary curiosity. Given Nha Trang’s six-kilometer coastline, it’s no surprise that bun cha sua is one of its must-try delicacies. The dish comprises of rice vermicelli, jellyfish, and steamed sailfish fillet in a sweet and savoury fish broth, though some eateries add in crab, shrimp and pork to the ensemble. A popular breakfast amongst locals shopping at Xoi Moi Market, it’s a surprisingly addictive dish.


Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud

Some attractions are worth braving the crowds for, and travel-weary families in Nha Trang  would be wise to follow the tourist trail to Thap Ba Spa, where hot springs, mud baths and all manner of soothing massage treatments will soothe away the stresses and strains of an active, adventurous family break in Nha Trang. The kids are going to love being given the green light to cover themselves in sticky mud (just don’t tell them it’s mineral-packed and bound to do them good).

With its rocky mountains, deep gorges, thick jungle and thousands of miles of coastline, Vietnam is a top destination for thrillseekers looking for their next adrenaline rush. There’s a whole lot of white-knuckled fun to be had here, and there’s no need to strike them off your holiday checklist just because you’ve got kids in tow.

Some activities are suitable for all but the tiniest of visitors to Vietnam, while others are strictly for the grownups. Little kids are sure to enjoy watching their parents rack up cool points by taking part in some seriously daredevil activities. Think you don’t have the guts? You’ll never know until you try!

 Try Sandboarding in Mui Ne

No snow? No problem! Families in Mui Ne can enjoy some of the most epic sandboarding adventures in the world. The giant dunes stretch out for miles. Hire a quad bike to whizz from spot to spot, and the whole family can have a go at soaring down the giant white sand peaks, before making their way over to the Red Dunes, which offer a similar experience but with the added wow factor that comes from whizzing down red dunes. Meanwhile the desert-like landscape provides a pretty dramatic background to the whole experience. Serious sandboarders will bring their own equipment, but newbies can get by just fine on the flimsy plastic boards for sale or rent at numerous spots in this coastal resort town, about a 6-hour drive from Ho Chi Minh City. Families are best advised to take the sleeper bus, and hope the kids sleep en-route.

Why you should do it: The different-sized dunes means all ages can have a go, and the sand means there’s always a soft landing. No experience is necessary, and there’s always a chance to refuel with delicious shrimp pancakes–you’ll see locals unloading their hauls of fresh shrimp as you hike up and down the giant dunes.

 Whizz Along Vietnam’s Longest Zipline

Every adventurous soul loves a good zipline, and families in Vietnam can whizz across the country’s longest  (almost half a kilometer!) over deep river to arrive at Hang Toi (or “Dark Cave,” as it’s popularly known), in Phong Nha, Central Vietnam.  Once you’ve clambered down from the double-cable zipline, you’ll strap on a head torch and wind through narrow passageways enter a cave filled with the gloopiest mud imaginable. Wear your swimwear–you’re going to get very, very muddy. You’re also going to bob around like a cork on water in this curiously buoyant gloop. At around $19 USD per person, it’s very affordable adventuring.  

Why you should do it: Pretty much every age group is going to love the zipline, and once you’re over the river there are mud baths, an obstacle course and another zipline called the “Flying Fox.” The zipline is one-way, so you’ll be kayaking back home after taking a pitch-dark river bath to wash off the mud.

Find the Courage for Canyoning in Da Lat

Never been canyoning? Get ready for some seriously high-energy fun. Adventurous families in Vietnam should head to Da Lat for memory-making adventures that involve rapelling, ziplining, scrambling, swimming and jumping through thick jungle, deep caves and waterfalls. This isn’t for toddlers, naturally, but kids aged 10 and over can get involved (and might give their parents a kick up the backside if they look like wimping out!). There are jumps and descents to suit all levels of experience. The most famous route is the Washing Machine Waterfall descent, which whooshes canyoners around as though in a spin cycle.

Note of Caution: There are countless operators running canyoning expeditions in Da Lat (by the way, Dalat is just a few hours’ drive from Mui Ne), but families need to exercise caution. The best-established outfit is Phat Tire, which has an excellent reputation for family trips, and offers full training before letting anyone loose on the ropes. At around $75 USD per person for a day’s adventure it’s pricier than the others, but it’s worth it for the professionalism and peace of mind.

Visit the World’s Largest Cave at Son Doong

Talk about off the beaten track! This giant cave in the middle of central Vietnam’s Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park has only recently opened up to visitors, and fewer people have stepped inside than have stood on the summit of Everest. There’s some serious trekking to be done (this is best suited for older kids and teens), and visitors need to be physically fit to take part. Once inside, it’s like something from another planet. An airplane could comfortably fit inside the main cavern, and the cave network is so vast that it has its own weather system and cloud-shrouded jungles (yes, jungles INSIDE the cave!). There’s a lot to take in, but visitor numbers are limited, and there’s currently just one operator allowed to run tours to the caves: Oxalis. Prices vary according to duration and comfort levels, but this is not going to be a cheap part of your trip – be prepared to pay up to $3,000 USD, for 4-5 days trekking, accommodation, and the caves themselves.

⛷ Boxout: Huge Cave, Tiny Village

Visitors to Son Doong will pass through the isolated Ban Doong Ethnic Village (population: 40), based inside the National Park. The remote community had very little contact with the outside world before the caves opened up to (very limited) tourism in 2013.

Eat Some Extreme Foods

Vietnam lends itself well to adventurous eating, and families in Vietnam can challenge themselves to some seriously hardcore snacking. Think you haven’t got the stomach for bugs or crocodile? Maybe it’s time to introduce yourself to some new and sustainable protein sources (and you don’t want to lose face in front of the kids, right?). One of the best spots for out-there eating is Bo Tung Xeo in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) – where diners can tuck into grasshoppers, scorpion, snake, rat and ostrich, grilled right in front of you.

⛷ Boxout: Crickets on the Go! Forget nuts and potato chips: Adventurous eaters in Vietnam can chow down on crickets as a bar snack or quick protein fix on the go. BugSnack, which launched in 2016, is a pre-packed insect snack, in packaging that features a cheery-looking hopper on the front.

Need more ideas regarding how to travel on a budget with your family? Check out my eBook available for download on Amazon here!

Here is everything I thought would help you plan a Vietnam with kids. I tried giving you a more general image as well as going into detail, in points that I found important.


On South China Sea, neighbor to Cambodia and Laos. An hour flight from Bangkok, Thailand. A long, narrow country, with a lot of beaches. Half of Vietnam is a peninsula.

Best seasons:

In Vietnam it’s hot all year around. Seasons are largely fictional. There are times of year it’s a bit warmer or rainier (and it’s still hot when it rains). Supposedly you can arrive all year around, but I recommend going in October-April, not too hot and doesn’t rain too much. Even when it’s hot, it’s not suffocating heat because you can go into the pool or the ocean, and there are air-conditioners in almost room.

Estimated budget for a family per month:

In Vietnam accommodation is the most expensive thing. Food and transportation and all else is negligible.

Very low budget: low budget hotels without swimming pool, cheap restaurants and little or no adventuring, 1000-1300$ a month.

Low budget: cheap hotels with a pool, cheap restaurants and street food, and staying put for the most part, 1300-1550$ a month.

Medium budget: good hotels with pool and breakfast, right on the beach, good restaurants (even if in my opinion the best restaurants are cheap/street food), moving often from place to place, maybe even some water sports lessons (surfing, scuba diving, kite surfing), 1950-2100$

High budget (vacation): luxury hotels, expensive restaurants, tours, diving and surfing, private transportation, 2600$ and above.


Vietnamese visa you do In advance online. It costs 18$ a month or 30$ for three months, for single entry visa. Multiple entry visa costs 25$ for a month or 65$ for three months, and takes 2-3 work day to process and get a certificate, which you need to print, and then bring to clerk at the airport to put a stamp in your passport. In the airport you also have to pay a service fee of 25$ per person. It’s best to prepare dollars cash in advance.

Exchange rate and currency:

The Vietnamese currency is called Dong, and it has one of the smaller denominations in the world. One dollar is worth 22,500 dongs (VND). A good amount to get from the ATM is 4-6 million (2 million at a time). Yes, all you need to do to be a millionaire is fly to Vietnam.
The ATMs charge high commission. And in most you can only pull 2 million at a time.an ATM that doesn’t tale commission and lets you pull larger amounts is Citibank. Look for it.


Vietnam has great WiFi almost anywhere. And it’s always free and usually without password.
Sim cards are readily available in stores. You can also get a very comfortable data package.

Places I recommend:

Mui Ne, a charming little vacation town on the beach, 3 hours’ drive from Ho Chi Minh city- sitting on a world heritage site. Because of the desert clime, there’s hardly any humidity and annoying critters, which makes it a perfect place for a vacation.

Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

Hanoi, Halong bay


Try This article as well- everything you need to know before you go.

Foods to try:

Pho: a Vietnamese noodle soup, with some vegetables and lots of meat or seafood, traditionally mixed in with some fresh leaves for seasoning, and hot chili sauce if you like spicy.

Banh Mi: Vietnamese Sandwich, cut in half baguette, with all kinds of meats and pastrami (usually pork), vegetables, mayo and chili if you want. One of the world’s best sandwiches.

Banh Xeo: a salty crape fried in butter and oil with all the extras you want (usually meat and seafood), with some bean sprouts on top, sauces and herbs.

Fruits: Vietnam has the best fruits in Asia. Better than Thailand or the Philippines or anywhere else. If you haven’t bought a few kilos of fruits for dinner, then you haven’t been in Vietnam. My favorite is Dragon Fruit but everything is delicious.

Here is a whole route for food loving familie :-).


Busses in Vietnam has an excellent network of comfortable busses (the best busses I’ve been in by 500%) that get everywhere cheaply and quickly.

A few words on long distance busses:

-The busses have inclined almost bed-like seats (sleeper).

-Inside the bus there are three rows of single “beds” and two stories per row.

-When entering the bus you’re asked to take your shoes off and put them in plastic bags.

-They’ll ask you to take as few bags as possible because there’s simply nowhere to put them.

-Most buses have wifi

-And air conditioning.

-I highly recommend booking the back row in advance. It’s the only row where you can all be together and you’ll have some extra room for your bags.

Trains- are also good and comfortable.

Flights- there are a few local companies that do domestic flights.
The four companies are: Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet, Jetstar, and Airmakong.

Taxis- also comfortable. Most use a meter. Beware of stings.

Scooter taxis- fun, and cheap.

Things you should know:


The biggest holiday of the year is called Tet, the Vietnamese New Year, around the end of January/beginning of February. The prices around Tet skyrocket. Almost to doubling. Including the food in the street food stalls. You could have soup at a stall for 15,000vnd one day, and the next day the same soup at the same stall will cost 25,000vnd. That’s accepted and shouldn’t be bargained over. Additionally, during the holiday most businesses will be closed.

Vietnam for those keeping kosher:

Keeping kosher is difficult in Vietnam, because they live on pork and seafood. Chicken and beef are common too, but they cook using the same ports and utensils. For vegetarians, a lot of times when you ask for a vegetarian soup the restaurant will just fish out the chunks of meat and serve you he same soup. Nevertheless, you can still find vegetarian restaurants here and there. Or an Indian restaurant (where they understand what ‘veg’ means).

There’s an abundance of fruits, vegetables, eggs, bread and markets to buy some basic ingredients.

When thinking of a family beach vacation, Vietnam isn’t the first place to pop in mind.

Usually it’s closer to Thailand or Goa. But for those looking for a change, or to find a quiet, luxurious place, should definitely consider it as an option. I flew to Vietnam with my kids just to spend a few months on the beach…

Mui-Ne is a small stretch of beach five hours by bus from Ho-chi-Minh city
The bus picks you up at the hotel in Ho-Chi-Minh and drops you at your hotel in Mui-Ne.

∴ One straight road. On one side the beach and resorts built one after the other, and on the other side hotels, stores, spas, and that’s it. Mui-Ne is all about relaxing.

∴ Kite-surfing enthusiasts like the place as it has great surfing, shops for renting equipment and courses.

∴ Keep in mind that on this vacation you won’t do anything other than swim, walk on the beach, play in the sand, oh, and eating.

∴ Mui-Ne is heaven for seafood lovers. Along the street (and there’s only one street) are spread restaurants showing in their aquariums all the things you can eat. Squids, Octopus, Shrimp, Prawns, and different kinds of clams and oysters, crabs and snakes, lizards, turtles…

∴ And for fruit lovers. Pineapple, Passion Fruit, Litchi, Jack Fruit, and more .they even make fresh aloe-Vera juice and also avocado shakes.

∴ The place looks completely western. Everything is clean, pretty, and modern. Not what you’d think of Southeast Asia or Vietnam.

∴ The hotels are amazing. The service, for the most part, is amazing.

∴ You can rent bicycle or scooter to get around easier. On the other hand there are taxis and scooter-taxis flooding the area. And there’s the local bus.

Fairy Springs- a charming piece of nature in the middle of the stretch of beach. It’s a fountain of water coming from the ground. They’re warm and flaw in a shallow stream to the ocean. You walk along the stream barefoot, on the soft, soft send. A joy for the kids. Colorful dunes in the background. Along the way there’s also an ostrich farm where you can ride the birds.

∴ The night life is awesome and include lots of alcohol, clubs, and live shows.

∴ If you’re worried- there are ambulances and a high-level professional clinic.

∴ One of the big advantages of the place (the reason I chose it) is that it’s a desert area, and the humidity is very low. So even though you live right on the beach, you don’t feel it! The weather is a-m-a-z-i-n-g

∴ Staying there is Very comfortable– there’s fast WiFi almost everywhere, excellent coffee, air-con, spas…

∴ There’s one resort that offers a private mud bath. Take the kids and make them feel like Shrek 🙂. After the bath you’ll get free access to the huge swimming pool filled with mineral water and health.

∴ You can get any kind of massage there, Including hot stones and everything. And special kinds like coconut or rice milk massage or massage with aloe-vera.

∴ Every travel agency offers tours in the area.

∴ And of course to try out many different water sports. Boogie-board, wind-surfing, kite-surfing, jet-skiing.
∴ One note: Despite the touristic nature of the town, many service providers don’t speak English.

In short: prepare yourself for a high-end vacation for ridiculously low prices.

Recommended hotels in Mui-Ne and their price
Recommended hotels in Saigon and Hanoi and their price

prices for example:

  • Excellent resort with ocean view, swimming pool and a private beach (family room including breakfast) – 30$-60$ a night. There are more expensive resorts offering private bungalows and such, those can get as high as 500$ a night.
  • Cold coffee- 0.5$
  • Beer bottle- 0.5$
  • Full seafood hotpot- 5$
  • Whole peeled and sliced pineapple- 0.5$
  • Full body massage- varying prices. Depends if you go to the small spas or the big luxurious ones. Somewhere between 5$ and 25$ an hour.
  • Bicycle rent- 2$ a day. Scooter rent- 8$ a day.
  • Fresh coconut juice straight from the nut- 0.5$

My life for me isn’t just traveling. And it isn’t just an easy way to make my way in the world. As you probably already know by now, this lifestyle is very meaningful to me. And in fact almost every step I take, and almost every choice I make, happens only after a lot of consideration and no little desire to do the utmost for me, but mostly for my children.

I try my hardest to take the points that make our unique routine, and make the most of them. To think, to be creative and use everything that our lifestyle allows, all to give my children morals, confidence and experience.
This post is born of questions that a number of families asked me while planning their trips or already traveling. I found out in in the short, practical answers I give to everyone, hides a lot more than just “how to pack for your trip”
So here are four things that seem small, but in reality are huge.

1. Their own bags

When going on a long trip, your suitcase or big bag and everything in it become a very big part of your life. Therefore, it’s important to put some thought into how to best distribute the equipment between everyone.
Give your children their own bags, let them decide what they take (with your well-meaning guiding), and make sure all their things fit into their own bag. That includes shoes, personal toiletries, and a towel if possible. That bag will be their private, intimate place, where their things are, and they’re responsible for it.

Give them the feeling that you trust them to know how to take care of their things, to remember packing them whenever you’re going to a new place, and make sure they can carry their bag themselves. Respect their privacy about the things in the bag, and give them that good feeling involved in being responsible over its contents.

2. Financial freedom

Southeast Asia presents a wonderful opportunity to let the kids handle money on an everyday basic from a very young age. Involve the kids with everything money, on the everyday level. But everything. They should know how much the room costs at the guesthouse, look at the prices in menus, and be aware of the daily budget you’re keeping to. Calculate exchange rates.

And beyond that- make sure they always have money in their pocket. To experience regular shopping, every day, according to need, but also desire. Slowly slowly they’ll learn not to buy ice-cream with that money, but to save it for when they’re really thirsty and just want a bottle of water. Or to pay for the laundry you asked them to collect. Or the bus ride. I’ve been giving my older children (14 and 17 years old) free access to the family wallet and money and they manage their money very responsibly.

3. social awareness

During your time abroad you’ll have to deal with a lot of things you might not think about beforehand. For example, friends’ and family’s birthdays and other events you won’t be able to participate in. to mark the important dates and feel that you share your loves ones’ happiness, despite the distance, set aside a small amount of money (that you would’ve spent anyway on the event) and go out with the kids to give that money to those that really need it. Make the kids a part of everything, ask them their opinions, and give them the chance to be involved. Buy fruits for the street urchins, clothe for poor families in your area, or donate a few books or toys to a local orphanage. To this day there’s a Tibetan woman in Pokhara that hugs me every time I pass her by, because of the warm socks and shirts I bought for her children for the birthday of a close friend of mine, in his name. Actually, it was my daughter that asked her what she needed and went with her to the store to get what she needed.

4. Full and active cooperation

Let the kids have a say about every decision, considerations, inquiries. Send them on info-gathering missions- starting from the currency exchange rates in whichever country you’re going to, and all the way to finding a place to sleep. My children, according to their ages, manage the trip completely alongside me. They search for plane tickets, find out all the info we need about the places we want to go to (visas, currency, diseases, etc..) and very often they’re also responsible for booking hotel rooms for the first few nights in a new destination. I don’t chase after them to do it, I trust them fully and give them all due credit. How to get from place to place, how much does it cost, which company to go with, how long does it take, where should we stop and rest. And many other fine-print details that amount to quite a list that we share amongst us.

The K-12 education program, experience public school at home.


“Whoever Said That Money Doesn’t Buy Happiness Didn’t Know Where to Shop”
~Blair Waldorf

Shopping is an inseparable part of almost every trip abroad, and Southeast Asia is no exception. It’s a well-known fact that after a two week trip in Thailand with the kids, you dedicate two-three days to shopping. Because it’s so much cheaper. And it’s so much fun to go shopping, and convert everything to your local currency and see just how cheap everything is.

But Thailand is no longer the only destination where it pays to go on a crazy shopping spree and come back home with a new wardrobe and a truck’s worth of furniture. In fact, if you ask me, there are some places I much prefer, from a quality perspective, from a price perspective, and even from a design perspective. A few years ago, I was in Ho Chi Minh City with my kids, and we planned on going to Bangkok from there. Of course I gave up the shopping in Vietnam, thinking I’ll do it all in Bangkok. But when I got there I discovered that their products weren’t nearly as good, and of a much lower quality, and more expensive. And I was very disappointed.

Only Two Phrases Can Change A Woman’s Mood….

2) 50% OFF

And so here are the three places I recommend for shopping in Southeast Asia:

1. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

in Saigon you can’t not want to buy everything. When you walk in the street and see the small designer stores, or even the street vendors with the cut-paper greeting cards, and it’s all so cheap, it’s hard to stand the temptation. I love walking around the streets of Saigon, and breathe in inspiration. In fact, Saigon is one of the only places where I enjoy going to the mall.

Four of my favorite places:

Saigon Square– a colorful market with a lot of finds, some of them even original (ZARA, GAP, H&M)- all for really funny prices of only a few dollars. Even the fake’s quality is pretty high and the designs are in good taste. A lot of clothes and products for children and babies. A few years ago I bought my daughters some very cheap designer clothes and they’re still wearing them to this day (the older one gave the younger and all that). I always shop there when we visit Ho chi Minh city.

Vincom center– a wonderful mall, with a whole floor with only kids stored including a mindblowing stored like Lego, Corolle (an amazing doll company), a huge bookstore, children’s playroom, food court and more. The rest of the mall is dedicated to woman’s products, cosmetics, shoes, etc…
Diamond plaza- another mall, this time more luxurious. Everything looks very well thought of. I especially like the cosmetics floor that is simply stunning. With products of the world’s best companies, and attendants that give you free samples and put makeup on you (they’ll be happy to help the girls too ), and of course everything has testers. The joy! The prices are lower than the rest of the world, but for Saigon they’re pretty high. Other than that, they have designer stores with international fame.

Ben Thanh market- one of the places all the guides recommend. It’s a market where they sell anything you can possibly want, from cheap clothes to souvenirs, local produce like Coffee (a million kinds and flavors), tea (ditto), Vietnamese Coffee filters, baby products. It’s a huge compound, crowded and loud, with a number of exits and entries. And a food court to those interested. You should go there if only for the experience, I sometimes buy there the Vietnamese Coffee (I know exactly which brand and which type of coffee, and how much the locals buy it for)- if I can find it at a low price. It’s customary and recommended to bargain and bargain hard.

2. Manila, Philippines

Alright this one isn’t really new. Manila is THE place for shopping, if you happen to get there. Manila is full of shopping centers, from all sorts of markets to expensive luxurious malls.

My four favorites are:

Glorietta- we’re talking about a compound of a few malls made into one. Something huge. There’s everything you can possibly be looking for and then some. In Glorietta there are the biggest and most diverse stores I’ve found yet of brands like GAP, Old Navy, and Banana Republic (even in Thailand I never found the like). ZARA has a very large shop. If you get there- look for the Vietnamese restaurant in the food court. The food there is just like in Vietnam.very very tasty.

Robinsons– a department store chain with pretty much the same stores all over and a wonder of a supermarket with ingredients that are almost impossible to find elsewhere. I like their prices, and I also like their home products section- where you can find a wide variety of mosquito repellents (I collect those…) and a number of other necessities.

Greenbelt– a nice mall with a selection of big brands and large cosmetic stores where you can find some really nice bargains. My daughters and I spent a whole afternoon just in one of those cosmetic stores, impressed by everything.

SM mall chain– not specific to Manila, you can find these malls, in all sizes, all over the Philippines. If you’re in Cebu you should give it a visit. Even if you’re in Manila it’s still worth going to. Some of these malls are in the top10 biggest malls in the Philippines and indeed the whole world. They also host all kinds of afternoon activities (for free), and we once took part in a Zumba class that happened in the mall, to the great joy of all shoppers. They also have some of the best stores from, with well-known international brands. In every mall there is also a nice local book store with a collection of nice English books booklets for all ages.

∴ by the way, one of our little pleasures, whenever we go to a mall in the philippines, is the Buka. A drink of coconut water and ice with some sugar (to those who want it). Not something anyone should miss.

3. Pushkar, India

if you’re looking for shanti clothes, Yoga pants, colorful skirts, dresses and tunics, jewelry, perfumes, and oils, Pushkar is the place for you. Pushkar is a gathering place for wholesale traders from all of India and the world. To the little picturesque market come shop owners from Europe and the rest of India to buy whole stocks of clothes. And we get the lowest prices :-). The diversity is huge, and of course they’ll saw anything you ask of them. In our last time in Pushkar I had some dresses, Yoga pants and shirts (and, of course some really eye-catching skirts) made for me and my daughters for hilariously little money. Pushkar’s market really is charming and if you get there don’t miss Sanu’s fruit & juice shop.

please check out our favorite hotels in vietnam and in the philippines.

My new ebook is now available on amazon. click here, and find out how to travel the world with your kids for less then 1400$ a month (yes, even when shopping at those really trendy shops :-)).

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Discover the best hotels and accommodation prices in Vietnam-Ho Chi Minh(Saigon) and Hanoi when travelling with kids. Recommended destinations for a comfortable stay

Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh city are both remarkable destinations that any tourist would love. Not only do they have a certain charm around them, these cities are also home to some really amazing relaxation spots. However, when you stare reality in the face, the first thing you observe are the clogged array of motorbikes, scooters, cars, and smoke in a dense and people-clogged environment. This colorful mess might make you stop in awe at the crosswalk and wonder if you will ever be able to cross that road.

However, even with this rather dense atmosphere, navigating these two cities can be really easy if you know the right place to stay and are able to find your way around.

Below is a list of Recommended hotels in Ho Chi Minh City when travelling with kids:

Best Luxury Hotels:

The reverie Saigon– Do you want to get a mind blowing view of the river and the entire city? This hotel offers you everything you need in a five-star hotel and so much more. From a breathtaking swimming pool with color changing waters, to a full bursting minibar and a manservant available for hire, it is just perfect if you are looking to have a great time. It also features wall-to-wall windows with well facilitated rooms (including an espresso machine!)

Kids below 11 years of age stay free. Price– 225$ a night.

Book your stay now to enjoy the amazing city and all of its pleasantries!

Click to book through Agoda now

Click to book through Booking now

Sherwood residence hotel– Get the feel of luxury at an affordable rate! The Sherwood residence hotel offers you apartments from 80sqm in size in a spectacular apartment setting. This standard room comes with 2-bedrooms, 2-bathrooms, living room, well equipped kitchen with a fridge and even a washing machine.

To get more out of your stay, you also get a swimming pool, a play room for the kids and so much more in a sparkling and squeaky clean setup.

What’s even better? Children younger than 11 years get to stay for free!

The price- 87$ (for the standard apartment described above) a night and upwards for other high end rooms with additional features.

Book your stay now to set down a reservation for your trip!

Book through Agoda today

Book though Booking today

caravelle saigon hotel– Would you like to enjoy the serenity and astonishing beauty of Ho Chi Minh? the Caravelle Saigon hotel brings you a 5-star hotel in the perfect location! You get great rooms, a wonderful pool and a remarkable view!

It also offers free stay for kids younger than 5 years!

Price- starting from 135$ a night.

Make your reservation today to enjoy excellence in hospitality!

Click here to book through Agoda

Click here to book through Booking

Best Guesthouses in Saigon:

beautiful Saigon hotel– Want an affordable yet high class accommodation that brings you quality service and a family friendly environment? The beautiful Saigon is what you need!

Here, you get an amazing location, swimming pool, clean rooms, fast Wi-Fi and breakfast included in the fee. It is absolutely affordable and offers you the option for rooms with three or more beds for better convenience.

Kids younger than 10 get to stay for free!

Price: Starting from $28 night.

Click here to book through Agoda

Click here to book through Booking

Saigon Europe hotel spa– Experience convenience and relaxation in a spa styled hotel with all of the facilities you need!

Want to stay in a good location, with big, clean, air conditioned rooms and a pool? The Saigon Europe hotel spa offers you that and so much more. It also come with a served breakfast included in the fee.

Price: $50 a night for the family room.

Book your reservation today and give your family a treat.

Click here to book through Agoda

Click here to book through Booking

Recommended hotels in Hanoi with kids:

Best Luxury Hotels:

meracus hotel– Enjoy the service of a great staff and a breakfast served for kings in the highly rated Meracus hotel. With a strong reputation of excellence, this hotel is located right on Hoan kiem in a perfect location and is extremely affordable for all of the features it offers!

Price: 70$ a night for a family suite.

Click here to book through Agoda

Click here to book through Booking

Hanoi la siesta– Perfect for maximum comfort, the Hanoi la siesta is designed as a family friendly location with pleasant and helpful staff and a good location. Located in the old quarter, you can book rooms with connecting doors for great family accessibility and closeness.

Price: 160$ a night for two rooms with a connecting door, or 170$ a night for a family suite.

Want to enjoy your stay with your family? Book a room at the Hanoi le siesta today!

Click here to book through Agoda

Click here to book through booking

A good hotel for a good price:

hanoi lotus boutique hotel– This hotel offers you an amazing array of services including friendly staff, great location, an awesome restaurant and organized tours for the entire family. You also get free Tea/Coffee/fruit juice throughout the whole day.

Price: 25$ a night for a double room, 40$ a night for a family room.

Follow this link to book through Agoda

Follow this link to Book through Booking

Best Guesthouse in Hanoi:

funky jungle– If you are a backpacker/traveler, a group of friends travelling together or visiting the city as a family, then the funky jungle is the ideal location for you!

Located in the heart of the old quarter, this guesthouse provides a common playroom, restaurant and bar (free beer!). It is a great place for social encounters/making new friends from all over the world.

You can get a few beds in a dorm room, or get a private room.

Price: A bed costs 10$ a night and a room costs 35$ a night.

Click here to book through Agoda

Click here to book through Booking

Don’t forget that you need to make your Vietnamese visa in advance online. and read more information about trip to Vietnam with kids. 

For more inspiration try our awesome itineraries:

Vietnam with kids- Two weeks luxury vacation

Vietnam for food loving families

and more…

You can find many more hotels throughout Vietnam on Agoda  , Booking  or Hotelscombined  

My new eBook is now available on amazon. click here, and find out how to travel the world with your kids for less than 1400$ a month (yes, even when staying at those really nice hotels :-)).



A second before summer vacation, a lot of the families I escort can already smell the flight date getting nearer. And the closer the moment comes for them, I feel a sort of confusion, a need to hold on to something, a minute before they lose control and head into the unknown.

So for their sake, and for any others that feel the need, here are the two most important tips I can give:

1. you already made a basic plan (after in depth research or maybe in less depth), bought flight tickets, consulted with a traveler’s clinic. Everything is more less arranged? Great.
Now let go. Leave the travel guides be. Leave the facebook groups, leave the blogs (even mine).
From now on, let the road set the way. Sit quietly, breath deep. Live already knowing that each one will get his/her own journey. It doesn’t matter if it rained on you on the way to Dharamsala or if it was boiling hot. If you have a hotel in New-Delhi or not. Those things are no longer in your control. All that’s left is to look on the road, the view, on what your journey will bring you.
That the decision that whatever comes your way- you’ll deal with. That you’re open and ready for adventures, of every kind and color. To meetings with others, with yourselves, with your family members. Accept that the way won’t necessarily be what you imagined it would be, or (and especially) what you planned. Changes and surprises will come. They’re part of the journey.

2. the hot springs in Vashisht are a huge gift. A little piece of heaven I’m grateful for everyday I’m here. We enjoy them and learn a lot from the experience of going to them.
Things that would’ve been very hard to teach my daughters any other way. And that I probably couldn’t teach them any other way, if it wasn’t for our stay here.
But not everyone sees it that way. In fact, most tourists that come here to see the hot springs don’t spend time on them, and definitely don’t dare to actually swim in the pools.
They see that place in an entirely different way. They see grey cement, dirt, bare brick walls.
And they run away.
And I want to thell them- wait a moment. Stop. Take those western glasses off for a minute. And look. Lean. Without prejudice, without criticism, without judging. Leave the west outside. Come try. Open a door to experiences, to curiosity, to love for something completely different, and not necessarily better or worse.
Open yourselves. Completely. Don’t close down because that’d be a shame. To visit a different place, a new place, totally different from anything you know and manage to really experience it on a deep level- that’s amazing. A whole world suddenly opened. A million flakes of inspiration, a million new points and each one of them can lead to a different and spectacular way. And it’s a shame to miss that.
Oh… all the things I learned in the last five years. From everyone. The tourists. The travelers. The views. The locals. There’s so much wisdom in them, a different wisdom, odd and fascinating. Yes, they think very differently from us. They see things differently. But that’s what’s so interesting!
I see tourists that made an effort and saved money for a very long time, invested a lot of money and and went really far. And all that for what?
Leave the books, the researches on the internet. Leave them. Go see the world with clean eyes. Sit with the locals, talk with them, ask them where they think you should go. Where is the best local food. And how exactly do you eat it. How to get from this village to the other one. Join that journey you took yourself into.
Come take of your clothes, slowly slowly dip your legs in the hot water, until you get used to them, look around you, see the women, the youths, the old ladies. How everyone here, free with their bodies, washing each other, dipping naturally in the pool, chit-chatting, laughing.
Come, get in, like it’s your first day alive.

watch this video– the girls talk about their experience at the hot springs in vashisht.

Spark Online Training by Edurekabanner

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
– Mark Twain

Do you also dream of leaving the nine-to-five? Of forgetting about that pesky snooze button? The dishes in the sink? Well, I’m here to help you. take a wonderful break.

Whether you’re planning a short vacation to Vietnam, a one-year tour of southeast Asia, or an open-ended trip across continents, I’m here to answer all your questions, address all your worries, concerns or fears.
I offer an hour long session, during which I can explain to you everything you’re uncertain about, address all the fears you have of your trip, recommend locations and things to do in those locations, advise about your budget and anything else you might want to know. From small to big, I am here.

I will also send you a list of sure-proofed accommodations and local contacts you should have. As well as many tips and detailed info (such as how to handle money on each specific destination, which ATM is the best one to use, how to buy a sim card or how and where to get internet, and more).

For that I only charge 70$.

Contact me