Frugal Family-Friendly Attractions in Vietnam

in Trip Locations, Vietnam

Vietnam is heaven for bargain hunters, but tiny tots won’t enjoy the shopping in Hanoi and historical sites the country is famous for. So what are families to do? As it turns out, there’s plenty for the entire brood to see and do in this budget Asian destination.

The secret to traveling with children is offering a few sweeteners so they won’t tire of the attractions you really want to see. The kids won’t be thrilled with Hue’s striking Thien Mu Pagoda, but they’ll love the journey down the Perfume River so much that they won’t complain about the destination. Time on a boat is always a bit of a novelty, especially when there are working barges and water buffalo to admire along the way. With cruises costing as little as $6US, the experience is also much cheaper than the more high profile Mekong River cruises.

Lac Thien is one of the most affordable and unique dining experiences in Hue. The café is run by deaf mutes who will offer your children valuable lessons in diversity and tolerance. They’ll be happy with the diverse array of dishes too. The fresh seafood and leafy green vegetables should satisfy even the fussiest appetites. And your wallet will also be satisfied; the meals are some of the cheapest café dishes in the country!

Hitting the markets is another great way to find affordable food that your children will enjoy. Known as street food, these Vietnamese dishes are whipped up in front of your eyes. Kids will love the theatre of the experience and be more likely to step out of their culinary comfort zones.

A visit to some mountains doesn’t sound too thrilling on paper, but the Marble Mountains in Da Nang shouldn’t be missed. There are five mountains in all, with Buddhist grottos and tunnels carved into their faces. Children will love exploring these historic hideaways.

Waterside theatres around Hanoi regularly perform shows featuring Vietnam’s traditional water puppets and classic folktales. Young and old will enjoy the wooden dragon, warrior, fairy, and fishermen puppets that appear to float on water. You can expect to pay around $5US for seats up the front, and about $3US for places further back.

Cham Island is paradise for adults and children alike. Dive boats can take you out for snorkeling and scuba diving, or you can enjoy the waves closer to shore. The water is pleasantly warm all year round, so you needn’t worry about your kids catching a chill.

If Vietnam’s natural waterways don’t provide enough thrills for your brood then head to the Dam Sen Water Park in Ho Chi Minh City. Adults will pay as little as $3.35US, while kids can enter for just $2.15US, depending on the season. That’s a steal for a full day’s entertainment on the many waterslides, roller coaster, and wave pool. There are also plenty of lifeguards on duty, so parents can chill out under the palm trees knowing their little ones are safe.

Street Food in Vietnam

Street Food in Vietnam

Using peddle-power in Vietnam is much more fun than getting around on foot. Big kids will love hiring bikes, while smaller children needing to save their legs will have great fun in a cyclo. These three-wheeled bicycle taxis are large enough to carry an adult and child passenger, along with the driver. Just make sure you negotiate the fare before leaving to ensure you’re not ripped off. Offer a third of the amount quoted, and never haggle up to more than half the original price. Sometimes walking away from the driver will be all it takes to get the right fare.

With a little research, it’s possible for adults and children alike to enjoy an affordable vacation in Vietnam.

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