Vietnam – first far away trip with toddler

Hoi An, Sunset, Vietnam
Sunset in Hoi An, Vietnam

It was New Year’s Day – my wife and I were brainstorming new resolutions, objectives, fun events and of course travel. It had been 3 years since our long-haul holiday and never with a small kid. We mentioned quite a few places – Australia, New Zealand, Bali, Vietnam. The discussion turned serious – my wife shrugging her shoulders telling me “this will again end up nowhere!”

But it did!

Finally we shortlisted Bali and Vietnam. We bought a travel book online for both destinations but until we received them both by post, we had already set our minds on Vietnam.

We received so many words of discouragement as if we were going nuts or as if this was like some sort of a dead sin that we were about to do to travel with such a young toddler. Some – maybe out of respect – just sighed to us when we told them about our intentions. But very few could contain enough their facial expressions. Had we not made our homework properly, we would have probably changed our minds. Luckily we did not. We read a lot of blogs which helped us find the comfort we needed to pack our suitcases and leave to Vietnam with an 18-month old fairly energetic boy.

Vietnam, Halong Bay
Halong Bay, Vietnam

We have got to be honest. We did play it very safe though.

  • We in fact favored Vietnam over Bali as accident & emergency care (in particular hospitals) is more sophisticated in Vietnam especially in and close to major cities, than that in Bali.
  • We skipped homestays and basic accommodation to avoid less hygienic places and food.
  • We had to compromise a few adventures which we would have loved to do had we been without a kid.
  • We decided to fit in less places to take it easier so that our son will not get too tired.

That was the compromise … But you know what? We have no regrets as this holiday was surely a memorable one for us and for the kid. He might not remember anything but I’m pretty sure that it had a good deal of positive impact on his character formation and towards the love for nature and the world.

For now, a snapshot of our itinerary in short:

  • Hanoi (1 night)
  • Halong Bay (2 night cruise)
  • Hanoi including day trip to Ninh Binh (3 nights)
  • Sa Pa (3 nights)
  • Hoi An (4 nights)
  • Dubai (3 nights)

As you can see, we only managed to fit in 5 places in almost 3 weeks (Hanoi – Halong Bay – Sa Pa – Hoi An – Dubai). This is a matter of preference. We found this to work well for us as whenever we tried to squeeze in a lot of places at one go (especially now that we had a kid alongside us), we always regretted it. For those of you who are more on the go, you can always try and fit in Hue (which is relatively close to Hoi An) and of course, Ho Chi Minh City (or as it is still known by the locals – Saigon) and the Mekong Delta.

We will be posting more detail on Vietnam in the coming weeks. Looking forward to share with you this lovely experience and why not, maybe it will inspire some of you to go and venture this beautiful country and amazing nation with your little ones.

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