Planning on heading to Hanoi with kids? Hanoi is a great choice for families. Its ram packed with history, delicious food, amazing Vietnamese coffee and family friendly activities galore. Known by some as the most beautiful city in South East Asia, Hanoi is a city that has to be explored.
Hanoi With Kids – Tips for Family Explorers in Vietnam
When is the best time to visit Hanoi?
September to February is much cooler than the oppressive heat of the summer months and you can experience the celebrations of Vietnam National Day (September), the festive season (Christmas and New Year Eve) and the Lunar New Year (February).
We visited during Christmas 2015 and found the weather cool, but not cold. It was nice to be able to explore Hanoi in jeans and a t-shirt without returning back to the hotel dripping with sweat.
Where should you stay in Hanoi?
We recommend staying in the Old Quarter. The hotels and guesthouses are budget to mid range (if you want luxury head to the French Quarter) and you will be in thick of traditional Vietnamese life. We stayed at Hanoi Little Town Hotel for around £25/$37 per night (including breakfast) and were treated to some of the best hospitality we have ever received from a hotel. The rooms are spacious, well furnished and your kids will be doted on by the staff. (No affiliation, just a really fab little hotel).
Our Top 5 Fun things to do in Hanoi with Kids
- Explore the Old Quarter on foot or by cylco
The Old Quarter is a maze of colour, sounds and scents. Perfect for a free walking tour! Our kids loved looking at the displays in front of the stores and stalls, sampling street food and finding tiny little alleyways to explore. Alternatively, hire out a cyclo and relax as your rider takes you on a tour (don’t forget to negotiate a rate you are happy with before you set off).
- Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Palace & Museum
The mausoleum may not be suitable for everyone, little ones might find it boring or confusing. Our kids aged 8 & 9, found it interesting and useful for their studies of Vietnamese history. The tour of the mausoleum is free and leads you directly to the palace and former home of Ho Chi Minh.
The palace and gardens are perfect for families as there is lots to explore and space for little ones to stretch their legs.
Entrance to the palace and gardens was 20,000VND for adults and free for children. The museum was 10,000VND for adults and free for children.
- Water Puppet Theatre
You cannot go to Hanoi with kids and not take them to the Water Puppet Theatre. The shows are colourful and entertaining, depicting life in Vietnam through the use of music, fire and dancing water puppets. The shows are always packed so make sure you book your tickets a couple of hours in advance.
Shows are available frequently every day and ticket prices are around 60,000VND/$3 per person.
- Hoan Kiem Lake
A beautiful lake situated between the Old Quarter and French Quarter. Perfect for an evening stroll and people watching. Our kids enjoyed walking around the lake, watching street performers and bartering for cheap souvenirs. There are also lots of great places for families to eat around the lake.
- Cong Vien Nghia Do Park
The park has its own lake, walking trails and a play area with its own zip line. Entrance is very cheap at 2,000VND for adults and 1,000VND for kids. Its a perfect place to take your kids to blow off some steam whilst mom and dad relax on the fake grass.
What are the options for families eating out in Hanoi?
There are a ton of options to suit every budget and taste in Hanoi. A must try is Beef Pho (noodles in broth) and Bun Cha (grilled pork with vermicelli), both delicious and very cheap. We also tried beef hotpot, a dish that you self cook at your table. If you prefer to stick with Western food then head over to the Hoan Kiem Lake area where you will find the usual chain restaurants.
Crossing the road in Hanoi with kids (and without)
You might think that its odd for me to suggest that you may need advice on crossing the road in Vietnam. I would have too, until I experienced it for myself. The roads in Hanoi are mental. I have never seen anything like it in my life and we had to learn quickly!
The key is to walk out confidently, at a steady pace and keep you arm in the air to signal your presence to oncoming traffic. Wagoners Abroad have written a whole post dedicated to this very subject, if you need more advice then click here to read it.
What kind of budget do I need to travel in Hanoi with kids?
We found Hanoi to be one of the cheapest places to visit in South East Asia. You can find budget hotels from around $15 per night and eat out for around $1-2 per person. There are lots of free activities and those that charge an entrance fee are very cheap. A family of four could easily manage on a budget of $50 per day.
Scams to be aware of in Hanoi
I was really nervous about travelling to Vietnam as I had read so many horror stories about travellers being robbed and ripped off, particularly in Hanoi. I don’t know if we were very lucky or it was the fact that we were in Hanoi with kids, or maybe I just have a ‘don’t mess with me’ kinda face, but we didn’t get scammed at all. In fact I found the people of Hanoi to be very welcoming and hospitable.
Check out this post by GoSEAsia for detailed information on scams to be aware of.
Have you ever been too Hanoi? What did you think? Do you have any other tips to share?
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