After seeing so many travelling families loving Vietnam, we decided that would be our next destination, and to our luck we managed to get flights for all five of us for $1500 with Airasia, and in the school holidays! My parents also booked the same flights and paid around $650.
Our flight went via Kuala Lumpur so we spent a night at the Youniq Hotel, where we stayed last year on our stopover from the Philippines. Its a great budget place near the airport and has rooms to fit 5 people for around $70 a night.
WHERE WE STAYED
Our first stop was Ho Chi Min , where we stayed in an amazing Airbnb in a plush area of Ho Chi Min. The apartment had three bedrooms, a mattress in the living area, two bathrooms, views over the city (its a level 28 apartment) plus kitchen and washing machine. Here is the link of the apartment, I highly recommend it for those travelling with families.
WHAT WE DID
We booked a two night tour with Water Buffalo tours through the Mekong Delta which I have written in detail about here. This tour was INCREDIBLE. An authentic, off the beaten track tour run by local guides who speak so passionately about their country. Exploring their home villages on scooters was a highlight of the trip for us!
For shopping we headed into Saigon Square where there are lots of markets filled with everything from handbags sunglasses to fake Nike etc clothing. We found the quality of the clothes really good and a fantastic price! I would love a few more days in Saigon next time, the place had a great feel and everyone was very friendly.
We flew with Vietjet Airlines from Ho Chi Min to the island of Phu Quoc which was only around a 35min flight, and we were really happy with the airline - I can't recommend them enough. We did have quite a few flight changes but most times if we weren't happy we could go to the counter at the airport and they would accommodate us where possible - sometimes even changing us back to the original flight time.
WHERE WE STAYED
Daisy Resort Village & Spa
We were taken via the hotel shuttle from the airport to the Daisy Resort, where we had booked a poolside family bungalow. The resort also has a hotel area further up but we wanted more bungalow style, laid back accommodation. The bungalows are all brightly coloured in pinks, yellow, blue and purple , and the pink bounganvillas adorning the rooms and pool completes the look. It is such a bright and cheerful setting and defnitley a place I recommend staying, especially with kids. I have written a full review on the property which you can read here.
WHAT WE DID
The first day we wanted to relax. We had been on the go since the first minute we landed in Vietnam and we were so ready to relax around a pool.
The second day we did a tour with Red River tours which we found along the beach. It was a full day tour island hopping, snorkelling and beaching. We paid around $160US for all 7 of us for the day including lunch.
The driver picked us up around 8.30 and took us to the harbour around 40mins away. We boarded our boat, which was just us and the crew (again we always try to book private tours where its just us) and off we went to our first snorkelling spot. The boat was great with deck chairs up top which were so comfortable!
The snorkelling spots we went to were not too bad, very damaged reef but some nice fish, the second spot we went to was absolutely full of sealice. We all swam back to the boat itching and stinging and once we took our rashes off, realised we were all had little hives and welts. Defnitley the worst sealice I have encountered in all of Asia, but they aren't dangerous so don't let that stop you snorkelling!
The crew caught fresh fish while we all snorkelled which they dished up for lunch, along with rice, pork, soup and some greens. It was a lovely lunch with the most beautiful view!
Our last stop was driving to Sao Beach..which was hands down one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever been to. White sand, crystal clear , calm water with fish swimming around, and the temperature of a bath. Was absolutely magic! A few stinging little sealice again but not enough to make us get out. There is a nice bar at the beach where we enjoyed a beer and some cocktails and lapped up the view.
Sealice - For those wondering what sealice are...they are microscopic little stinging itching things. You cant see them, unlike most of the stingers we have back home in Australia and they just feel like tiny little zaps of itch and sting. Nothing dangerous but can me annoying ?
I really can't recommend this tour enough. It was a fantastic day for everyone and one of my favourite places in Vietnam.
For food & drink I recommend heading down to the beach and wandering along the restaurants there. Rorys Bar is great for a sunset drink and we found some beach restaurants a few doors up fantastic..the kids swam in the water (which again was like a bath) while we drank happy hour cocktails and ate dinner on the beach. We were paying around $35- $40 for entrees, 4 mains, cocktails beer and soft drink. So very cheap!
The night markets were great to stroll through with lots of restaurant options and shopping.
We were only there for two full days so didn't get time to head to Vinpearl amusement park but I heard it's great.
A nice little island with a great laid back vibe..perfect to spend a few days winding down from.the cities.
The place I was most excited for was next. Hoi An! I had heard So many good things about the place I couldn't wait to get there! We flew with Vietjet airlines from Phu Quoc back to Ho Chi Minh, which was 35mins.....then ran to our next flight to Hoian which was an hour.
WHERE WE STAYED
We had a whole lot of trouble finding accommodation to suit all 5 of us in Hoi An - we prefer to find rooms that fit us all if possible, but in the end we booked two rooms at the Hoi An Silk Marina Resort & Spa for a great price. The rooms were absolutely amazing and so big! It is set in a great location, a few minutes walking distance to the old town and lots of mini marts straight out the front. You can read my full detailed review on the property here.
WHAT WE DID
Our days were spent in the pool (it was so hot!!) , wandering around the old town and shopping. We did one full day tour to My Son Temples and Marble Mountains which I highly recommend. We organised it through the tour company directly across from the hotel, where we also did our washing and it was great. We wanted to go Bana Hills but it was a little too far away and we didn't fancy sitting in the car with the kids for that long.
It really is the most beautiful little town with such a great vibe, its easy to see how people pack up and move there. At night the old town is a sea of brightly lit lanterns and shopping stalls and the kids loved making a wish on the floating lanterns and sending them down the river.
Defnitley our favourite spot of our whole trip ?
We stayed two nights in Hanoi on our stopover to Halong Bay. It is a very busy chaotic city and we found it too full on with the kids.
WHERE WE STAYED
We booked a little homestay in the old quarter called 3bhomestay and the penthouse suite cost $50 a night! Was huge...one large bedroom and a huge living area with two beds, full kitchen and bathroom with bath. Great value for money and that price included a lovely breakfast.
WHAT WE DID
We only had one full day so we just wandered around the lake, checked out some of the markets and relaxed at the room.
We booked a two night cruise with Pelican Cruises on Halong Bay with my parents. We were told beforehand that the two night cruise was the best option as you get to see more isolated areas - Turned out to be the right decision and given the option we probably would have stayed another two nights it was so incredible.
We had two interconnecting cabins which was called the family suite, one with a queen bed and the other with twin beds, making it a great option for families.
I have written a full review on our time aboard the Pelican which you can read here. I honestly cannot recommend this cruise enough. We spent our days exploring caves and grottos, floating villages, pearl farms and beaches. Onboard there was happy hour in the afternoons and nights, spring roll making classes, squid fishing and the most incredible food. The area is just beautiful and the mountains seem to go on forever. Such a stunning piece of the world!
Vietnam was everything and more that we thought it would be. The kids loved it, and while it was a little full on with 9 flights all up, they all had an amazing time as did we.