The fluid, s-shape of Vietnam supplies a natural route from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City with overnight trains and domestic flights providing travel options for families to keep cultural contrasts coming thick and fast, and young adventurers excited and eager for more. Vietnam yearns to be appreciated and deserves to be, too. Poverty and the Vietnam War can be tough for little kids to comprehend but older children, teens, will learn about the world, warts and all, as well as enjoying the chance to make new friends as part of a small group tour or interact with local children as part of a homestay experience. If travel broadens the mind, family holidays in Vietnam fill in the gaps, with Nha Trang, the Mekong Delta and the limestone landscapes of Halong Bay, all playing their part in memorable moments to be shared as a team or coveted as secret treasures.

Find out more in our family holidays in Vietnam travel guide.


The benefits of small group & tailor made tours

If you fancy travelling in Vietnam with other families who have children of a similar age, small group holidays (no more than 20 people per group, three to five families) are ideal. Small groups also include a tour leader throughout so you don’t have to worry about tickets, languages and travel times, and your family can enjoy being together, on the same level. Travel will often feature traditional junk boats, three-wheeled cycle rickshaws (cyclos), private minibuses, overnight sleeper trains from Hanoi to Danang, and the occasional domestic flight. The majority of hotel accommodation will be en suite, with a basic swimming pool, or in a traditional guesthouse or even staying with a local family, in their own home.
Tailor made holidays allow for more freedom of choice and include detailed trip notes to complement an itinerary that’s been chosen to meet your budget and preferences. Tailor made means young children (under five) can come too rather than sticking to a minimum age limit, as per small groups, and flexible itineraries can be created to include child-specific activities and ‘down time’. Although tour leaders won’t accompany tailor made groups, English-speaking tour guides will be on hand to help you in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and the historic cities of Hue and Hoi An. Finally, free days can be built into tailor made trips alongside chances to stay a little longer in one place and a choice of accommodation.
Both types of tour feature different modes of transport, varying degrees of comfort and multiple activities to suit children’s age groups and abilities. You know your family, what they like and what they don’t; be honest and build a balance because although it’s fun to have an adventure, you don’t want to test endurance and stamina levels, just for the sake of it.

Daniel Pawlyn, from our tour partners Intrepid Travel, explains the advantages of small group and tailor made tours: “The biggest advantage of a small group family tour is the opportunity to make friends with the other families on the trip. The kids form new friendships incredibly fast, on the first day in our experience, and the adults bond almost as quickly over dinner and drinks at the bar. Tailor made trips could be well suited to larger, extended family groups, or families who already know each other, so have less need to meet others outside their group. Additionally, they can choose how long they stay in places, and where they stay. Prices tend to be higher for tailor made as the group will be smaller and costs, for a tour leader, for example, must be spread across a smaller number of people.”




... you don’t mind one or two lengthy bus or train rides and the thought of your family kayaking, cycling or spending a night on a traditional ‘junk’ boat doesn’t fill you with fear.
... your family can handle a stroll around an ancient walled city or floating market before enjoying the peace of a pagoda on a lake or respectfully visiting a Buddhist temple.
... you’re happy to stay in accommodation that’s small and locally owned and you’re not afraid to go without mod cons if it means having an authentic homestay experience.)


... you’re looking to spend the entirety of your holiday in one place.
... you’re not ready. Be honest, if your children are acting their age then wait a couple of years until they’ve matured and are more willing to embrace differences, instead of searching for similarities.
... you’re wondering whether there’s a ‘kids’ club’.



Southern Vietnam is consistently warm (above 30°C) all year, with brief daily downpours in May-Nov offering refreshing respite from humidity but little consequence to travel plans. Autumn, Christmas and Easter holidays (Oct-Apr) find the central coast lashed by colder monsoon rains, although Oct-Mar is the best time to go on a family holiday in Vietnam if you’re heading for Hanoi and Halong Bay. In general, Vietnam is drier in winter and wetter and hotter during the summer. Tet celebrations in Jan-Feb all but bring things to a standstill, although they can be good fun if you’re happy to join in.
Photo credits: [Topbox: UpSticksNGo Crew] [Family small group: eric molina] [Family tailor made: Katina Rojers] [Tempchart: ] [Helpdesk: Petr & Bara Ruzicka]
Written by Chris Owen
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