Whether you’re already traveling in southeast Asia with your kids and whether you’re looking for to change something and go to a different destination than the one you usually go to, here are some tips that will help you travel with kids in Vietnam:
Vietnam visa– very simple. You can make it online from anywhere in the world. The websites i checked (and there are loads) all look legit. I chose one where I could pay using PayPal and even though it was a bit more expensive, i felt safer. You give them the details, pay, and within two days you’ll get a signed confirmation letter to present at the airport. Price: 20$-25$ per person for the letter and the service (for a visa of a month/three months).
With the letter you go to the visa counter in the airport (visa upon arrival). It’s important to get there as fast as you can 🙂 so you won’t stand in line for so long. There are forms to fill but the Vietnamese are very considerate and let you fill just one form for the whole family (very rare, in other countries you have to fill a form for every person… Exhausttiiiiing). You present it at the counter together with your passports and a passport photo for each person and wait.
You need to prepare the visa payment in advance. It’s 45$ per person for a one entry three months visa.
There is an ATM machine there. Only it doesn’t always work…
It takes a bit of time until they’re done making the visas. In that all you do is sit and wait. It’s not always easy after a long flight. I recommend to make sure you have at least a water bottle and maybe something for the kids to do.
They’ll call your name (pay close attention, it’s very hard to understand what they’re saying…) to go to the counter and take your passports with the visa signed off. Pay them and you’re done. With the passports you go to the immigration counter to get them stamped.
tip: if you are with kids you’re allowed to go to the shorted lined VIP counter. Don’t stand in the long line.
(what’s written here stands for the airport in Ho-chi-minh. I haven’t been to the other ones)
The ATMs when you exist the airport are especially nice and allow you to pull a larger sum than most ATMs everywhere else and they do it for the same fee. Take advantage of it.
Health and Clinics in vietnam:
network of excellent modern clinics managed by an Israeli doctor: Family Medical Practice.
Vietnam is cleaner than Thailand and has a lot less mosquitoes. Especially on the beaches. It seems an irrelevant detail but when i go to choose our next destination that detail plays an important role. The mosquitoes in southeast Asia can carry diseases.
Television: in most hotels there is a TV. The main kids’s channels are Disney and cartoon network. Both in English (in many countries the programs are in the local language but not in Vietnam!). Also, in Vietnam there are no TV commercials.
The Vietnamese love kids. They just look a bit cold. But if you’re nice, you’ll immediately find out they’re warm, charming people that are always happy to help.
Motorbikes: The amount of motorbikes and scooters is just huge. I highly recommend you show your kids where the exhaust pipe is in a two wheeler and warn them to stay away from it, especially when working your way in between the dozens of parked bikes..
passports policy: In Vietnam they take your passports when you check into a hotel. So should always have photocopies of your passports and visa.
To travel with kids in Vietnam is an amazing experience. It’s a very diverse country, it has indulgent beaches, beautiful well developed cities, treks, rice fields, culture, language, flavors. It’s crowded sometimes and completely crazy but also calm and luxurious. That’s it’s charm. Don’t be afraid. Go along with everything Vietnam has to give.
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