Best Places to Visit in Vietnam 2019 the enchanting water puppet perfomance, laid-back beach resorts and islands, exotic food, friendly local communities and of course the local transport.
Gifted with an abundance of flavorful food, fascinating culture, unspoiled beautiful places, and warm-hearted friendly people, Vietnam has more than earned its rep. The country spans vertically, not horizontally and naturally divides into three regions: north, central, and south; there is a great range of climatic and cultural variation so each region offers a distinct experience.
To really see Vietnam, you should visit all three regions. Starting in the north (or south) and making your way down (or up), there is an excellent balance of culture and nature, chaos and tranquillity, allowing families to plan the perfect, personalised itinerary. Now, you have no excuse to stay in just one city, each city in Vietnam has something special and unique.
Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam, this is a peaceful and graceful city with more than 1,000 years of history. Bringing your kids to Hanoi is a precious opportunity for the whole family to discover the history, the culture with friendly people in this vibrant city. Here you can find some of Vietnam’s best art galleries, there is a ridiculously quaint colonial center to explore, parklands and lakes abound.
In the center of Hanoi is the legendary Hoan Kiem Lake, ideal for strolling or watching street performers with lots of great places for families to eat around the lake.
The labyrinthine Old Quarter has so many little laneways and alleys that is a maze of color, sounds and scents. Perfect for a walking tour. Look at the displays in front of the stores and stalls, sample street food and find tiny little alleyways to explore, children will love it. Alternatively, hire a cyclo and relax as your rider takes you on a tour.
A traditional Vietnamese water puppet show would be a great cultural experience for the kids. The art of puppetry originated in the rice fields in the north of the country around Hanoi. Puppetry is believed to be passed through the generations from father to son. Nowaday, water puppetry is common outside of Hanoi so you are also able to see a show in Ho Chi Minh City.
The Museum of Ethnology is great for all ages. It gives an excellent overview of all the minority groups in Vietnam. Beautiful costumes and well preserved artifacts.
There are also many kid centres or indoor play area for kids. Besides, parents can take their children to Bat Trang Pottery Village to discover techniques of making famous pottery and ceramic wares and create their own ceramic products.
Daily tours 2days 3nights and 4days 3nights
Sapa is a small, mountain town in Lao Cai Province. It is located about 350 km northwest of Hanoi, close to the Chinese border. Here's where you'll find the Hoang Lien Son range of mountains, which includes Fan Si Pan—the country's highest peak. This quiet Vietnamese town is home to different ethnic tribal groups.
There are five main ethnic groups in Sapa: the Hmong, Dao, Tay, Giay and Xa Pho. It is said that Sapa was first occupied by the first four groups, since the Vietnamese from the lowlands (better known as the Kinh) did not colonise the highest valleys. These days, Sapa welcomes a diverse range of visitors, attracted by the highland tribes, iconic rice paddies and forest treks. The whole area is blessed with awe-inspiring natural beauty.
Halong Bay Vietnam
Daily tours 1day - 2days 1night and 3days 2nights
Halong Bay is a scene of true beauty. Covered in deep green waters and surrounded by outstanding rock formations filled with hidden caves and a blanket of lush foliage over them. This stunning area is subject to boat cruises and cave tours which would be a great family experience. It gives a family a chance to bond in the tranquility of these hynotising waters.
Halong Bay provides just the right mixture of relaxation and outdoor activity to break up a trip around the country or even as a family holiday destination in itself. What makes Halong Bay so memorable are the numerous limestone islands that just outside of the water making all sorts of stunning silhouettes against the skyline.
Book a cruise and then just take a few days to sit back and soak up the stunning limestone island formations all around the “Bay of Descending Dragon” while the kids hiking, exploring caves and swiming in the calm water. There are communities of fishermen who live on floating villages in the middle of ocean that you can also visit. This is an insightful way to interact with the locals and let the kids experience a different culture.
Phong Nha Cave - Quang Binh
Phong Nha Cave Among the number of scenic spots of Vietnam, Phong Nha cave is distinguished by its magical beauty. Phong Nha cave is acknowledged one of the cultural heritage sites of the world with an unsurpassed wonder of nature. It takes you only 40 minutes by boat on the Son river to Phong Nha entrance.
This park has been recognized as a world natural heritage site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) at its 27th general assembly session being held in Paris from June 30-July 5. The area is considered a paradise for researchers and explorers of grottoes and caves, and Vietnamese and British scientists have so far surveyed 20 with a total length of 70km. Of them, 17 are in the Phong Nha area and three in the Ke Bang area.
Phong Nha Cave was formed by tectonic happening in the heart of Ke Bang limestone mountains hundreds of millions of years ago. Traces the writing carved on the rock by ancient Cham language that Phong Nha Cham was found from time immemorial.
Hoi An Vietnam
Hoi An provides a family with relaxation with lovely ancient town, pristine beaches and awesome food. There’s a wide range of activities for all the family such as biking, cooking classes, strolling around the night market or relaxing on the beach.
Winding through the pedestrian-friendly streets observing the comings and goings of daily Life in the bustling marketplace, and checking out the spectacular architecture will keep you occupied the ancient town of Hoi An for hours. (Hoi An old town is a car-free zone.) One of the not to be missed sights in Hoi An is the Japanese Covered Bridge.
It was built in the 1590s by a Japanese community, and is guard by a pair of statues of monkeys and another of dogs. Why monkeys and dogs? An old tale says it is because they began building in the year of the monkey and finished in the year of the dog. A boat along the Thu Bon river is a chance for kids to see river life and fishermen at work.
It’s also worth returning into the old town in the evenings to witness the spectacle as the noisy locals gather in the streets to play games and get together to unwind. With sparkling lights and colorful lanterns, the vibe is lively.
Da Nang beach Vietnam
Da Nang is a good port of entry. There are brilliant beaches, delicious food and luxury resorts for the ultimate family holiday destination with kids.
The main attraction might be the beautiful My Khe Beach (also known as China Beach) and Cua Dai Beach. These enormous beaches stretch from Hoi An to Danang. It’s safest to swim around where the lifeguards are.
Scattered along the sands and out to sea are the picturesque traditional Vietnamese fishing boats and in the hotter months the sands are packed in the late afternoon with locals cooling off after work – a lively and fun sight. Along the main road next to the beach at sunset, roadside stalls set up selling snack and beers which is an amusing way to interact with the locals in the early evening.
About 42 km west of Da Nang, Ba Na Hills is a stunning mountain retreat, perfect place for families with a replica European castle, and a spectacular underground amusement park carved into the mountain featuring many types of rides, Ba Na is perfect place for families.
Another place is Marble Mountains. The “mountains” are actually a series of five limestone hills with the following names: Fire, Water, Earth, Metal, and Wood. It’s worth devoting a couple of hours to walking slowly up Thuy Son (Water Mountain), the only one of the five you can climb. If you have the time and the kids are interested, it is worth engaging a tour guide to talk you through the history and significance of the several caves. But if your kids prefer to just run and explore, this is equally as fun.
Nha Trang beaches Vietnam
Nha Trang beaches are spread out around the beach resort city, offering a myriad of sightseeing and recreational activities for visitors looking to soak up the sun during their holiday. Often called the Riviera of the South Sea
Nha Trang boasts a six-kilometre stretch of beautiful coastline with a wide array of dining and accommodation options set along the white sandy beaches. No two beaches are the same in Nha Trang, ranging from the bustling Tran Phu Beach for travellers who want to be in the centre of all the action to the more remote Bai Dai Beach that is great for when you want to escape the often overcrowded city.
Some of these locales may be a long drive away from Nha Trang City, but the tranquil scenery of the coastline makes it well worth trip. Tran Phu Beach is easy to walk to from almost anywhere in Nha Trang City, making it the most popular beach in Nha Trang.
It hosts the iconic Tran Phu Street, which is a beautiful seaside promenade with plenty of luxury and mid-range beachfront resorts, hostels, souvenir shops, museums, and seafood restaurants. Nightlife around Tran Phu Beach is also popular – highly recommended bars include The Sailing Club, ZIMA, and Skylight Skydeck & Rooftop Beach Club. Alternatively, there’s a wide array of activities such as surfing, snorkelling, bicycle tours, spa treatments, meditation and yoga in Tran Phu Beach.
Muine Bay - Phan Thiet city
Mui Ne was an isolated stretch of shoreline where pioneering travellers camped on the sand. Times have changed and it's now a string of beach resorts, which have fused into one long coastal strip. These resorts are, for the most part, mercifully low-rise and set amid pretty gardens by the sea.
The original fishing village is still here, but tourists outnumber locals these days. There are a handful of luxury hotels (and a smattering of cheap guesthouses) but Mui Ne is mainly a midrange resort.
Kitesurfing is a huge draw – there are several excellent schools and world-class wind conditions between late October and April. One major problem the area faces is the steady creep of coastal erosion, particularly around Km 12. It’s almost impossible to get lost in Mui Ne, as everything is spread out along a 10km stretch of highway.
Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
Ho Chi Minh City is the largest city in Vietnam, an excellent entry point with a mixture of historical sites, cheap shopping, glorious food and chill-out on-the-water activities. Most restaurant and café is fine and most dishes typically have a non-spicy option upon request.
For history buffs, there are several war-related tourist destinations, some of which are still interesting for kids. To dive yet deeper into the American War (that's how Vietnamese call the Vietnam War), the must visit site would be the Cu Chi Tunnels, a system of underground tunnels.
The soliders used the tunnels to hide, communicate and sometime live in during the war in Vietnam. The Cu Chi Tunnels tour is really an interesting and educational journey, something the whole family will enjoy. Following up on what you can learn at the Cu Chi Tunnels, the War Remnants museum displays weapons, tanks and pictures from the war.
For shopaholics, there is a treasure trove of little boutiques and art galleries. And for those who just want to relax, a couple of days on the Mekong is ideal plus there are plenty of public parks where the kids can run. While the war attractions are fascinating for adults, Suoi Tien Amusement Park or Dam Sen Water Park are great for the whole family to cool down and have fun with numerous exciting games.
Ho Chi Minh City, like the rest of Vietnam, has large motorcycle population. A great way to get an authentic sense of life in Vietnam today is to take a Vespa tour, where you are zoomed through the countryside on the back of a scooter driven by a guide who will stop to introduce you to local families.
For having fun you can visit Suoi Tien Amusement Park, with swimming pool and dinosaur garden or Dam Sen Water Park.
Mekong Delta Vietnam
Daily tours 1day - 2days 1night and 3days 2nights
Mekong Delta has been developed into a network of canals ranging in size from those big enough to fit a small row boat, all the way up to multi lane canals, used to ship produce. Life in this area of the delta moves at a slow pace, but that is not to say that there is not a great amount of visual activity, there is. A boat trip along the narrow canals is a must and for your children is sure to delight. Mekong Delta brings visitors an ordinary picturesque scenery filled with coconut palms, fruit gardens and paddy fields.
Most tours to the delta include a stop on an island or riverbank garden. These are usually good places for children to run around – sometimes tours also include a visit to a small produce farm of rice noodles or coconut candies.
Its complicated history, rich traditions, healthy cuisine and friendly people – who tell fascinating and often dramatic stories of life in Vietnam, from past to present – make for a highly cultural trip. Cycling, kayaking, hiking and snorkelling will keep energetic teenagers entertained, and there is an excellent balance of culture and nature, chaos and tranquillity, allowing families to plan the perfect, personalised itinerary.
Not only does Vietnam have all of this to offer and more, but what makes it so special is the people you will meet along your journey. The Vietnamese people are so welcoming, friendly and hospitable and they are really the highlight of anyone’s visit to Vietnam. With so much to share and do together, experience the culture, flavours, and highlights of a Vietnamese adventure your family will always remember.
Phu Quoc Island Vietnam
Phu Quoc Island boasts idyllic beaches, romantic sunsets, evergreen forests, and a serene atmosphere, making it an ideal holiday destination for travellers looking to escape bustling city life. Located 45 kilometres west of Ha Tien in the far south of Vietnam, the northern part of the island is relatively untouched due to its status as a UNESCO-listed national park but there are plenty of luxurious resorts, funky bars, and quaint cafes along the southern coastline.
Aside from beachside activities, visitors can also explore traditional villages, expansive nature parks and Buddhist pagodas, all of which are easily accessible via motorcycle, taxi, bus or even daytrips by reputable companies. Catering to just about any budget level and preference, Phu Quoc’s dining scene ranges from local markets selling fresh seafood and Vietnamese street food to expat-owned bistros offering authentic western and European fare.