Vietnam, a country that is fast growing popular on the travel circuit became a part of our travel list as well. But traveling with kids requires some planning and thought, so we would like to share our Vietnam itinerary and the tips to make a fun trip.
When we travel with kids, we like to go slow and give the kids time to enjoy the place and themselves. So the itinerary is planned to include places that kids will also enjoy.
Now that you have already planned a trip to Vietnam and are in a process of designing an itinerary that fits your interests, it’s vital to know the travel essentials like visa requirement, when to go, how to get to, how to get around, where to stay and more before you set off.
Before you plan your journey, check if the visa is required to visit Vietnam. Citizens of around 24 countries don’t need a visa if their travel duration is 14-30 days.
Applying for a visa is quick and easy with 3 different ways available and e-visa being the smoothest. Read our complete guide about how to get a visa for Vietnam.
Best time to visit Vietnam
The best time to visit depends a lot on where you plan to visit in Vietnam – North, Central or South. South Vietnam has more tropical weather with wet and dry seasons while North Vietnam has cold winter and hot summer.
But generally, October to March is a good time.
Vietnamese Dong (VND)
The notes come in denominations of VND 1000, 2000, 5000, 10000, 20000, 50000, 100000, 200000, 500000.
The 10,000 and 100,000 notes are very similar and there are chances of getting mixed up especially for first timers.
Pro Tip: It is better to carry cash with you all the time as many museums and eateries only take cash.
We had 10 days’ time on our hands. We entered Vietnam from Hanoi and exited from Ho Chi Minh City, trying to cover the length of the country.
Our Vietnam itinerary looked like this:
Day 1 – Land in Hanoi. (Old Quarter, Hoan Kiem Lake, Water Puppet show)
Day 2 – Hanoi city tour (Ho Chi Minh Complex, Temple of Literature, Tran Quoc Pagoda )
Day 3 – Day trip to Halong Bay
Day 4 – Hanoi (Museum of Ethnology, Bat Trang Pottery Village)
Day 5 – Fly to Phu Quoc (Enjoy the beaches)
Day 6 – Phu Quoc (Vinpearl Land amusement park)
Day 7 – Fly to Ho Chi Minh City (Explore City)
Day 8 – Day trip to Cu Chi Tunnels, Mekong Delta
Day 9 – Half-day trip to Floating market
Day 10 – Ho Chi Minh City tour. Fly back home.
The itinerary can be modified to include other cities of interest like Hoi An, Da Nang and extended up to 2 -3 weeks.
Check out other itinerary options to choose from.
Day 1 – Hanoi
The day when you begin your vacation is very exciting as you are ready to explore a new destination.
But give some time to rest after a long journey. Our flight reached in the morning, so after resting for half a day, we head out to explore the Old Quarter and Hoan Kiem Lake.
Old Quarter, located next to the Hoan Kiem Lake is the heart of the city and the commercial hub.
The streets and sidewalks are bustling with people and vendors all around. As you walk around, you’ll notice the old buildings and crammed streets.
The names of some streets still have the old names as per the business that was done some 1000 years back. Do stop to shop for the Vietnamese silk and other handicrafts.
The Hop-on Hop-off bus is also a great way to explore the city and see all the major attractions if you are short of time, or before you decide what attractions to visit.
Why not end the day with a Water Puppet Show at the Thang Long Water Puppet Theater. A water puppet is an art form that has been a part of Vietnamese culture since the 11th century. It is amazing to experience how the artists bring the lifeless wooden puppets to life through a musical drama in the water.
Note: Do book the tickets in advance as they sell out very fast. Book them in advance and skip the lines by choosing from these options:
Day 2 – Hanoi
Head out to explore the ancient city of Hanoi after having a healthy breakfast of Pho – a clear soup with meat, rice noodles and herbs.
Are you a vegetarian? Don’t fret, we got you covered with a list of Vegetarian food in Vietnam that you must try.
Ho Chi Minh complex is a vast area with many points of interest – Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Ho Chi Minh House, Ho Chi Minh museum and One Pillar Pagoda.
Ho Chi Minh was a revered leader who fought for the independence of the country and is loved by all the citizens. It is great to know in spite of being so popular leader, he believed in simple living and loved his countrymen.
The Temple of Literature is Vietnam’s first university built in the 11th century and is still visited by the students to take blessing especially during the exams.
In the evening visit the West Lake and the ancient Tran Quoc Pagoda from the 6th century. The red color tall Buddhist pagoda sitting on the West Lake is so beautiful and impressive that you don’t feel like leaving the place.
Since it was our first time and there is a language problem in Vietnam, so we took a guided tour. A tour lets you know about the history and interesting facts about the place.
Day 3 – Halong Bay
The trip to Hanoi is incomplete without visiting this UNESCO World Heritage site. A sight that is so beautiful and inviting, the thousands of small islands of limestone standing tall in the emerald blue waters.
Halong Bay is explored in a junk boat, a type of Chinese sailboat. There are multiple tour operators with options of budget to mid-range to luxury cruises to choose from.
The cruise traverses through the small islands, lets you explore the limestone caves from inside, kayaking through.
We chose to do a one-day cruise at Ha Long Bay that included pick-up and drop to the hotel on the same day, exploring limestone caves and bamboo boat ride.
Even though it was hectic we enjoyed it. Not sure how the kids would be up for night stay in the waters, we chose this. This is light on the pocket as well. book the cruise in advance to get availability.
But if you want to enjoy the beauty at your own pace then do opt for 1 night or 2 night Halong Bay cruises to get the most. Choose from the following budget cruises or the luxury options suiting your budget:
Day 4 – Hanoi
Are you interested in the history of the culture and the evolution of the Vietnamese way of food, clothes, and living?
Then the Museum of Ethnology is the best place to visit.
With interesting exhibits of 54 ethnic groups of Vietnam, their rituals, food, clothing, and houses. Do check out the replicas of the different types of houses outside, including the stilt dwellings.
Highly Recommend: We recommend taking the kids to get them an insight into a different culture and its evolution. It is a great way to make them respect and understand diversity.
Are you short on time in Hanoi or want to make your own itinerary, read Top attractions in Hanoi to help you plan a great time in Hanoi.
We highly recommend taking free tours from the enthusiastic students of Hanoikids.org
Day 5 – Fly to Phu Quoc Island
After a 2-hour flight from Hanoi, we reached from North Vietnam to the island in South Vietnam, Phu Quoc.
There are multiple operators plying at this route like Vietnam Airlines, Jetstar, VietJet Air to choose from.
Phu Quoc, Pearl Island is famous for its pristine white sand beaches and is thronged for a relaxing vacation.
Relax at the resort beach or explore the other beaches like – Bai Truong, Ganh Dau and get mesmerized. If looking for adventures, then choose from the activities:
Day 6 – Vinpearl Land Phu Quoc
When traveling with kids, a visit to Vinpearl Land Phu Quoc Amusement park is a must. With ample rides, aquarium, dolphin-shows, full-blown water park, it is a win-win for everyone.
There is free shuttle service available to and fro from all major hotels to the park.
Day 7 – Fly to Ho Chi Minh City
With fond memories of Phu Quoc, it was time to bid adieu and land at the economic hub of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City.
Formerly known as Saigon, this city has transformed into a major business hub with tall skyscrapers. But it preserves its history as well.
Do you want to explore Ho Chi Minh City like a local? Then read Things to do in Ho Chi Minh City for the must-visit places.
Spend half a day touring the heart of the city at Saigon Central Post Office, Notre Dame Cathedral and the Independence Palace.
Saigon Post Office was built in the late 19th century during the French reign and still preserves so much history that makes it one of the most popular destinations.
Touring these places with a guide telling you all about the anecdotes and deep history is totally worthwhile. We chose to have enthusiastic college kids as our tour guides for a walking tour from Saigon Hotpot and highly recommend them.
And if you are vegan, then don’t worry. Try the Private Vegan food tour for an unforgettable experience.
Day 8 – Day trip to Cu Chi Tunnels & Mekong Delta
Cu Chi Tunnels are a vast network of underground tunnels spread across cities that were built during the Vietnam war as hiding spots for soldiers.
It is an experience to be able to see how the soldiers lived in those dark and narrow tunnels for days.
Cu Chi tunnels are about an hour away from Ho Chi Minh City and can be easily done as a half-day trip or as a part of a day trip to Mekong Delta.
Cu Chi tunnels are all about history, facts, and stories without which it is just a maze of tunnels. So, choose a tour and let the guide take you back to the Vietnam war times.
If Mekong Delta fascinates you, then plan to stay at night and head to a floating market early in the morning.
Day 9 – Half Day Trip to Floating Market
The extensive river system and water in Mekong Delta make it a lifeline for people and is an inevitable part of their lives.
Floating markets where vendors sell everything from fruits, vegetables, flowers and other stuff in their boats. Some even cook and sell food in this floating market.
Cai Be and Cai Rang are the most popular floating markets but Cai Be is the closest to Ho Chi Minh City.
Note: The markets are in full swing early morning, so plan to reach early if keen to visit, else it would be a waste of time.
Day 10 – Ho Chi Minh City
Spend your last day exploring the neighborhoods of this sparkling city.
If you have older kids then do visit the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City with exhibits from the Vietnam war.
And don’t forget to indulge in some Vietnamese delicacies especially the street food and variety of coffee.
With some fond memories to cherish, it’s time to bid adieu and catch your flight back home.
Itineraries for Vietnam
There can be multiple itineraries for Vietnam depending upon the region you visit. But we would suggest having a minimum of 2 weeks to soak in the diversity in culture and landscape.
The other notable places that can be included in the Vietnam itinerary are:
- Ninh Binh
- Hoi An
- Da Nang
- Nha Trang
Did you find this itinerary helpful? Have you visited Vietnam with kids? Which places have left a mark in your hearts? Do share your experiences.
This article includes affiliate links to the products we earnestly love and recommend, meaning at no extra cost to you, we might make a teeny-weeny commission if you click on the link and decide to buy something. The money will be used to sustain this little cozy blog we call our virtual home.
Sharing is nice:) If you have liked our post please share it with your friends and family and feel free to subscribe to our mailing list or you can also follow our stories on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.