Family Trip To Northern Vietnam - Where To Go?

Nga Do
Perfect for travelling with kids & teenagers even the old people, Northern Vietnam offers the perfect combination of adventure and excitement for all the family. Explore the backstreets of Hanoi by cyclo, experience rural life in Bat Trang, cruise through spectacular Halong Bay, discover fascinating lives of the ethnic minority villagers in Sapa and of course THE FOOD.

Photo by Vietnam Typical Tours

#1: Is Northern Vietnam good for a family holiday?

Definitely yes, Vietnam has many advantages to be one of the top family destinations in Southeast Asia:

  • Vietnam is relatively safe for traveling.
  • There are a lot of attractions in North Vietnam: magnificent mountains, unique rice terraces, romantic beaches and well-preserved natural parks.
  • With 4000 years of history, the culture and customs in Vietnam are fascinating with many historic sites, intriguing folklore and amazing cuisines.
  • You can enjoy many family-friendly activities in Vietnam such as cooking classes, craft-making classes, sightseeing, shopping, biking, trekking, hiking, kayaking, etc.
  • Vietnam is suitable for budget traveling since food and accommodation here are affordable.

#2: Best time to travel to North Vietnam for family vacation

The North Vietnam is cool from August to April, hot and rainy from May to July. The temperature may drop to 10 Celsius degrees in winters (December – February). We recommend families with kids to visit North Vietnam between September and March to avoid sultry summers and chilly winters.

#3: Top places to visit for family trip in Northern Vietnam.

Need some packing list inspiration head here for some great ideas on packing for the whole family.

Photo by pxhere

Ha Noi Capital

Hanoi is a city full of culture, traditions, crazy streets, hectic traffic and amazing food! It was a city that many travelers loved visiting and found many family friendly activities.

The best place to start exploring Hanoi is by walking around the Old Quarter where you can spend many hours enjoying the sights and noises from street food barbecues, shops spilling out their goods onto the road and watching push bikes go past with fridges attached to the back!

In particular, water puppetry is an extremely interesting experience for your family. sure! The show was fantastic for young and old. Beautiful and creative, to include fantastic live music.

Yes, the traffic is crazy and as a pedestrian you just have to start walking, walk with confidence and trust that the traffic will move around you.

Hanoi is home to loads of different museums including the Museum of Ethnology. The museum takes you on a tour of different ethnic groups throughout Vietnam but the real fun for the kids is outside where there were approximately 15 different full-scale houses to explore. You are allowed to climb up into and walk through the houses and you get a real sense into the way of life.

Hanoi cuisine is suitable for everyone, it was fresh and yummy and there were so many options from street food, to restaurants where you sat on the floor to ladies selling cut up fruit and freshly baked doughnuts along the street. Another way to enjoy the amazing food is to join in a cooking class! 

Photo by Vietnam Typical Tours


Sapa is a one of the best places to visit in Vietnam. Tourists typically reach it via a mix of a lovely night train from Hanoi that goes all the way to Lao Cai, and a shuttle bus. Once in Sapa, the range of things to do is incredible. Most people go to hike the beautiful mountains that surround it, including the Fansipan, and admire the rice fields – the view changes dramatically in different seasons, going from a bright green when rice is just about to be picked, to the rich brown at the end of winter.

Another reason to visit Sapa is getting in touch with the local indigenous communities, including the Hmong. These still preserve their traditional way of life, including wearing the traditional clothes. The entire region is scattered with colorful markets where it is nice to get souvenirs, as well as enjoy a bit of street food and catch a bit of local action.

Halong Bay.

Halong Bay, a UNESCO heritage area with stunning ocean surrounded by 1,600 high limestone islands, around 3 hours drive from Hanoi. We highly recommend taking a 2 night, 3-day cruise to experience the beauty of this stunning area. It’s worth paying a little more if you can to take the trip with a more established company – both for safety reasons and because they tend to go a little more off the beaten track with their itineraries – it can get super crowded out there!

Coming to Halong Bay, you get to experience the cruise and got to experience sea kayaking, swimming on a deserted island, visiting a floating fishing village and a pearl farm and a visit to beautiful caves. Surprise Cave to see otherworldly stalagmite rock formations. Onboard highlights included a sunrise tai chi session, Vietnamese cooking lesson and night fishing which kids loved. The food on board was absolutely delicious and a real highlight for this foodie family!

Photo by Franzfoto

Mai Chau

Mai Chau is a valley set in the stunningly beautiful and mountainous area. It is highly recommended that you and your family take a little escape from the touristy hubs and pristine beaches to explore a new type of travel. The unspoiled beauties of this mountainous are will not let you down.

During the trip, you can go trekking or cycling to enjoy fruitfully the picturesque valleys and rice paddy terraces.

Some other activities suggested include visiting some alluring caves, some local villages and staying in some stilt houses to try the buffalo meat and traditional rice wine made by the friendly local people.

What could be more cordial and meaningful? This is a chance for you to take an insight into the life of Vietnam’s indigenous ethnic minority groups as well.

#4: Best Northern Vietnam itineraries for families

To explore North Vietnam, you will need at least 4 days for your trip. If you are lack of time, we recommend that you travel to one or two places so that you can fully discover each area’s beauty. 4 or 5 days is enough for a visit to the highlights of northern Vietnam.

Read some of our recommended Vietnam Itinerary Ideas to make an unforgettable holiday to Vietnam.

With many beautiful landscapes, it is hard to pick up some destinations for your family trip. Vietnam Typical Tours has synthesized some family-friendly places in North Vietnam to travel with your family:


Hanoi City Tours - Sapa Trekking Tours - Halong Bay Cruise

Hanoi capital is famous for rustic Old Quarter, delicious street foods and numerous historic sites and museums when your kids can learn a lot about our glorious past and national pride. If your family wants more authentic experiences, there are many craft villages around Hanoi’s rural areas such as Bat Trang Pottery Village where your kids can attend some creative craft-making workshops.

Sa Pa: On a daily tour to Sapa, you not only have a chance to breathe the fresh air of a northwestern mountainous region, but also visit emerald terraced rice fields, spectacular waterfalls, conquer to Fansipan Mountain and trek to some ethnic villages such as Cat Cat, Ta Van and Ta Phin Villages.

You can see more: Best Travel Experiences in Sapa

Ha Long Bay: Ha Long Bay is the most sought-after tourist destination in Vietnam due to its spectacular beauty. Two day on Ha Long Bay cruise is a must-do activity for your tour in Vietnam.

#5: 10 tips to make the most of your family trip to Vietnam

1. Check your family members’ health conditions before the trip

Your kids must be in a good health condition in order to fully enjoy your Vietnam tour. Make sure that your family arranges an appointment with a doctor two months prior to your trip to Vietnam.

2. Lightweight clothes are needed

Summers in Vietnam are really sultry and humid. Bring cotton T-shirts and pants and avoid thick fabrics. Also, pack some long sleeve shirts to protect your children from the sun if your families spend a lot of time participating in outdoor activities. If you travel during winter, warm clothes are recommended: sweaters, coats, hoodies and other accessories such as scarves and gloves.

3. Pack wisely – There are many convenient stores around our cities!

Don’t bring everything to Vietnam; we have a lot of convenient stores here: Circle K, Shop & Go, Family Mart, etc. Towels, shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel will take up a lot of space in your luggage, and you can easily find them in travel-size in Vietnam. Children usually get hungry after long hours of sightseeing, but you don’t have to pack a lot of snacks and bottled water for them. Buy toilet paper as well, believe me, you will need it!

The only things you need to prepare are clothes, basic medicines, bug sprays and sun-protection items. If you travel to Vietnam with babies and toddlers, remember to bring all necessities and baby food.

4. Introduce your kids about Vietnam culture and destinations

There is no point in traveling to a new country without any knowledge of its culture. You can introduce a bit about Vietnam to your kids, our nature, attractions and local people. Let your kids see some photos and videos of Vietnam. 

Typical video of Sapa Vietnam natural landscape, people and unique culture for your children:

5. Prepare for jet-lag and time zone differences

The timezone in Vietnam is GMT +7, which is 11 hours ahead to New York, 6 hours behind London and 3 hours behind Sydney. To make the time zone transition easier for your kids, we advise that you should plan carefully your flight schedule. 4-7 days before your departure, shift bedtime, mealtime and nap gradually, about 10 or 20 minutes per day. When arriving in Vietnam, be sure that your children participate in outdoor activities during daytime and their rooms should be as dark as possible during night time.

6. Crossing the road is challenging yet fun

The best way to discover Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City is walking along our streets. However, you will get panic when crossing our chaotic and never-stop-moving streets. We recommend four things to remember when walking across our busy roads:

Survey the streets and follow the lighting system. You may wait for a traffic gap to walk cross, but it never comes!

Just take a deep breath before crossing, and remember three DON’Ts: don’t stop, don’t rush, and don’t step backward.

You can ask the locals for help. Vietnamese people are friendly and willing to help you

7. Keep an eye on your kids all the time

Losing your kids is the worst nightmare in your trip. Teach your kids to remember their parents’ real name (Yes, real name! Not mommy and daddy). Tell your kids to seek for lifeguards, security guards and polices in tourist destinations when they get lost. Dress them in bright colors. Put necessary information (your kids’ name, your phone number and hotel address) in Vietnamese in your children’s pocket.

8. Organize family-friendly activities for your children

Your family trip to Vietnam is not only a relaxing time but also a great learning opportunity for your kids. Your kids can learn about history and culture of a different country, interact with local people, sample traditional cuisines and learn important soft skills. Don’t forget to combine nature exploration with cultural discovery and local interaction in your list of things to do in Vietnam with your family.

9. Food hygiene and allergy

Vietnamese traditional foods are healthy since they contain a sufficient amount of fiber, carbohydrate and protein. Compared to Thailand and Cambodia, the foods are less spicy and tenderer. Pho, banh mi (Vietnamese sandwich) and bun cha are the most preferred cuisines by international tourists.

Always drink bottled water since tap water is not safe here. And yes, always use hand sanitizer before and after eating.

Vietnamese waiters and waitresses are not often aware of customers’ food allergy, so be extra-careful if your kids react negatively to a certain food. Have some medicines in hand and be aware of the ingredients before ordering any food.

10. Prepare your trip with a local tour operator

Preparing your trip with kids is tiring and time-consuming. It is recommended that you contact a local travel operator to minimize the probability of unexpected issues in your family vacations. If you travel with your babies, we can arrange a quiet room which is away from the pool, restaurants and elevator and arrange an infant bed.

Tell us all your health issues and we can customize a Vietnam tour with appropriate itineraries and activities for your kids. We can contact the restaurant if any of your family members have dietary restrictions or food allergy. We have a list of local hospitals and clinics in hand and we can contact them immediately when you request.

Wish you have a great vacation with your family in Vietnam!

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