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.
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)
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.