Is it possible to travel to Vietnam with a toddler? How kid-friendly is the country? Vietnam, a destination on the bucket list of many global travelers, boasts a rich history, unique culture, and diverse geography.
However, visiting Vietnam with a toddler requires thoughtful planning. During my journey there with my young child, I found the locals to be exceptionally warm and accommodating towards children, making it a welcoming place for families.
But it’s important to note that the general infrastructure, food, and commuting methods in Vietnam can be quite different from what many Western families are used to.
In this article, I’ll share essential tips for planning the perfect trip to Vietnam with a toddler. I’ll cover how to prepare, what to pack, and the necessary precautions, as well as suggest family-friendly places to visit in Vietnam.
Table of Contents
Traveling to Vietnam with a toddler – what to expect?
Vietnam is extremely toddler-friendly in some departments and not quite in a few others. So let’s quickly go through what to expect on a trip to Vietnam with your young kid.
What I was most impressed with was the easy availability of family rooms across all budgets all over Vietnam. Unlike other countries where you have to look for an VRBO or a joint double room to accommodate you and your little one – you’ll find plenty of rooms in Vietnam that come with multiple beds.
So booking affordable yet spacious accommodation during your time in Vietnam won’t be a challenge.
Toilets / Diaper Change Facilities
Toilets all across Vietnam – public and private are surprisingly clean. You can easily take your child for a toilet break.
If your child is not yet toilet trained – you will still find decent availability of diaper changing stations, and family rooms in most tourist places.
Diapers – in various sizes and types are also available in shops across all the towns and cities in Vietnam. So you can easily buy diapers as you need those on the go.
Food and water
Major cities like Hanoi, Da Nang, and Saigon have many supermarkets selling baby food or quick meals like cereals, noodles, and pasta for kids.
Most restaurants all over Vietnam are happy to customize the food for your kid. They can make it less spicy or can even serve kid-friendly options like sandwiches, noodles, rice, or french fries.
Language barriers may make communication a bit challenging. But if you use Google Translate – you should be able to manage easily. On Halong Bay cruises – children are looked after very well and the staff is comfortable with English. So you can request food that meets your child’s requirements and the staff would gladly oblige.
Water in Vietnam is not potable and you must buy a bottle of mineral water all across Vietnam.
Public transport within towns and cities is not impressive at all. The best way to commute internally within a town is by car or a scooter.
This is where you may find Vietnam vastly different from Western countries. Most locals don’t use car seats for their kids and take their little ones on scooters.
So if you insist on using a car seat – carry one yourself or book from a reputed vendor who can provide you with a car that comes with a car seat.
Even though we traveled in Vietnam on a scooter with our toddler – we don’t recommend it to you if you are not used to driving through insanely chaotic streets.
Vietnamese cities like Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, and Hoi An are not stroller-friendly due to their busy and uneven streets. Da Nang might be an exception, but overall, it’s better to opt for a baby carrier or toddler reins, especially in crowded areas.
In addition to this, you should note that
- It is easy to find a doctor or a pharmacist in major towns all across Vietnam
- It is advisable to apply sunscreen and mosquito repellant when traveling to Vietnam with a little one – the sun can be harsh and you’ll find mosquitoes in areas like the Mekong Delta, the outskirts of Ho An, islands like Phu Quoc, etc.
Places to see in Vietnam when traveling with a toddler
The best way to travel within Vietnam is by moving either from North to South or from South to North.
Ideally, if it’s your first time in Vietnam, you should visit Hanoi, Halong Bay, Danang, Hoi An, and Ho Chi Minh City. If you have some extra time you could visit Sapa, Phu Quoc Islands, Da Lat, etc.
But since you will be traveling with a toddler, I recommend that you take into consideration the following factors when booking your trip and finalizing your itinerary
- Do not hop between too many towns and cities. Traveling with a toddler is exhausting and you don’t want to pack and unpack too often.
- Book a centrally located accommodation to make commuting hassle-free
- Use flights for internal commute. They are convenient and fast.
- Travel during the dry season (Avoid June- September for most of Vietnam and October-November for central Vietnam regions like Hoi An and Danang)
Here is a list of the best places to visit in Vietnam with a toddler.
1. Hoan Kiem Lake
Hoan Kiem Lake is situated in the heart of the Old Quarter of Hanoi. The lake and its surrounding area are the best place for you to spend some time with your toddler. Your toddler can walk around at the promenade, ride a two-wheeler by the lane, participate in the toddler-friendly activities conducted here, buy candies and toys during the evening market, or explore the beautiful Ngoc Son temple with you and marvel at the Red Bridge that connects the temple with the mainland.
2. Water Puppet Show
Next up, if you think your toddler can stay still for about an hour – take your toddler with you for a water puppet show. The Thang Long water puppet show is the oldest and longest-running water puppet show in Asia and is an excellent place for your toddler to feel amused looking at colorful puppets performing in water.
Your toddler may not be able to understand the story but you will spend a good time creating unique memories.
3. Rest of Hanoi
In addition to these experiences, take your toddler around with you for sightseeing all across Hanoi.
Some places like the Hoa Lo prison museum or the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum must be avoided when visiting Vietnam with a young kid – you can take your kid with you to temples, churches, and parks.
Kids even enjoy spending time at the lively Beer Street in Hanoi where buskers and karaoke performers keep the energy vibrant. You can even take your toddler along with you on a street food tour (avoid the bike tour) where your kid can sample some lovely Hanoian desserts while you enjoy pho, banh mi, banh xeo, egg coffee, and more. There are also plenty of Hanoi cafes that are toddler-friendly.
4. Halong Bay
Halong Bay, known for its emerald waters and thousands of towering limestone islands topped with rainforests, offers a serene and picturesque cruising experience.
But I don’t recommend a day trip to Halong Bay as it can be quite hectic as a one-way trip from Hanoi to Halong Bay takes about 3 hours. But what I highly recommend instead is an overnight cruise on Halong Bay.
A family cruise in Halong Bay can be a relaxing way to see the stunning natural beauty of the area, with activities on board catering to all ages, including toddlers. The cruise provides opportunities for families to explore caves on a bamboo boat, go kayaking, or simply enjoy the scenic views from the deck.
Plus, most cruises are equipped with top-class amenities including high chairs, toddler-friendly 3-person kayaks, clean showers and bathtubs, and a warm and welcoming staff willing to accommodate all your toddler needs.
5. Ba Na Hills
Ba Na Hills, near Da Nang city, is a hill station. This is also the place where you will find the spectacular Golden Hand Bridge.
This location is perfect for families with toddlers due to its combination of outdoor and indoor attractions, including an amusement park with toddler-friendly rides and activities. You can typically spend a full day here, enjoying the various attractions, gardens, and architectural marvels.
Even the cable car journey to Ba Na Hills offers spectacular views, which can be a delightful experience for the little ones.
6. Rest of Da Nang
Da Nang, as a whole, is a toddler-friendly place. Its vast coastline ensures that toddlers get to spend plenty of time on the beaches – building sand castles or even running around on the promenades neatly laid out all across the town.
The dragon bridge is also an exciting attraction for kids – especially if you visit on Saturdays when it spits out fire.
But places like the Marble Mountains which require climbing over steep steps and slippery roads should be avoided when visiting Da Nang with a toddler.
7. Hoi An – Ancient Town
Half an hour away from Da Nang is the magical town of Hoi An. Hoi An is particularly toddler-friendly as it turns into a pedestrian town after 3 pm. You can easily walk around with your little ones here after sunset and marvel at the beautiful lighting and the many colorful lanterns.
A boat ride through the Thu Bon River is also an exhilarating experience for toddlers. Make sure you ask for a life jacket here as commercial boat companies can skimp on basic safety measures.
You can then visit the Hoi An Night Market and treat your toddler to lovely pancakes.
8. Rest of Hoi An
The outskirts of Hoi An are also a delight for those traveling with families as there is plenty that you could do with your toddler
- Spend a fun day at the An Bang beach
- See the coconut village in a fun basket boat with your little one
- Go cycling in the lush rice fields
- Hop on a buffalo for a short buffalo ride
- Attend the majestic Hoi An Memories show with over 500 performers
9. Cu Chi Tunnels
Seeing Cu Chi Tunnels on this list may come as a shocker to you. The reason why I recommend Cu Chi Tunnels with your toddler is because toddlers can actually explore the entire area. The open spaces, the arms and ammunition, and the old jets are all new for toddlers. Plus, they don’t even find the tunnels narrow at all for their size, and hence walking across the tunnels is a delightful experience for them.
So even if they don’t understand the significance of the place, they can give you great company as you see this historically significant site close to Ho Chi Minh City.
Quick note: Even though many people visit the Cu Chi tunnels and the Mekong Delta in one day – I find the schedule too hectic for a toddler. There isn’t much for a toddler to admire at the Mekong Delta and hence it is best to keep the trip limited to Cu Chi Tunnels only.
10. Rest of Ho Chi Minh City
Just like Hanoi, certain places in Ho Chi Minh City are not kid-friendly at all for their disturbing images. One such place you should avoid is the War Remnants Museum.
But other than that – there is plenty to do in Ho Chi Minh City with your little one.
- Take a stroll along the Walking Street at night – you’ll find plenty of street performers here.
- Take your kid to the Zoo and Botanical Gardens for a fun evening
- Visit one of the many baby cafes in Ho Chi Minh City where your kid can play on his own while you relax with some snacks and coffee.
- Visit the book street on a Sunday – it comes to life with many toddler-friendly activities and games conducted all across the street
- Get a thrilling panoramic view of the city from the Bitexco tower. The place also has interactive screens that can keep your toddler amused.
11. Sa Pa
Sa Pa, located in the northern province of Lao Cai, is known for its terraced rice fields and rich cultural diversity, with several ethnic minorities residing in the area.
Normally, a trip to Sa Pa involves trekking and can definitely be a bit hectic for those traveling with a toddler. But the area is too scenic to be missed. The best way to plan a trip to Sa Pa is by visiting the place on your own at your own pace instead of booking a round trip from Hanoi.
Spend some time in nature, take your little one out on walks, interact with locals, and mark the days you spend in Sa Pa for relaxation in an otherwise packed Vietnam itinerary.
12. Phu Quoc Island
Phu Quoc Island, situated off the coast of Cambodia in the Gulf of Thailand, is Vietnam’s largest island, known for its sandy beaches and tropical landscapes.
The island is particularly suitable for families with toddlers. It has many child-friendly resorts and calm, clear waters, perfect for safe swimming and playing. Visiting this island is excellent for families who are planning a longer vacation in Vietnam or for those who have already visited Vietnam and want a more laid-back vacation.
Some things to do at Phu Quoc Island with a child are
- Spending time on the beach
- Exploring the Vin Pearl Safari
- Spend a day at the Vinworld amusement park – one of Vietnam’s largest amusement parks
Traveling to Vietnam with a toddler – FAQs
Is Vietnam toddler-friendly?
Vietnam is a toddler-friendly country. From stunning beaches to bustling cities – there are plenty of things to do with kids all across the country. Finding family-friendly accommodation is also not a challenge. The only factors to plan for are the lack of stroller-friendly streets and the unavailability of car seats.
Is it safe to travel to Vietnam with kids?
Vietnam is a safe country with hardly any occurrences of major crimes against tourists. The locals are warm and friendly and most are welcoming towards families with young kids. The only extra measures to take in terms of safety are
– drinking safe water as tap water in Vietnam is not potable
– practicing road safety in bustling towns like Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi
– exercising general caution
Guest Author – Vrushali Ketkar is a passionate travel enthusiast and writer with a legal background. On her blog, Couple of Journeys, she crafts detailed and engaging travel content, focusing on helping busy individuals and families maximize their travel experiences. Her insights are aimed at simplifying trip planning and enhancing the joy of travel for all.
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