23 Tips For Taking A Toddler On A Tour Of Vietnam

A dear friend jets off to Vietnam next week with her toddler son, slightly apprehensive about her first overseas trip as a single mother.

The unstoppable Ms J is a seasoned traveler and she tells me she’s got the single mum routine well and truly under control. But I wanted to give her some idea of what to expect in my beloved Vietnam, which can be a crazy and overwhelming place to visit.

So, thinking back on my nearly four years of living and working and traveling in Vietnam, here’s some “Vietnam for kids” tips that I think adventurous parents of toddlers should know before they land. (In no particular order.)


1. Vietnamese people love babies
You won’t really understand how much Vietnamese people love babies until you get there.

You have a cute baby, you’re used to people smiling at the baby, maybe bending down to talk to him/her. That’s at home, and it’s not everyone, just a few people per outing. But in Vietnam, expect just about everyone to react to the baby. Faces will light up, people will start to crowd you, people will clap their hands in front of the baby’s face, pinch cheeks and thighs and pat heads. It can be overwhelming.

If you are in a hurry, just smile and keep walking. If the baby is afraid, just smile and keep walking. If you have time and the baby thinks this is how life should be, just enjoy it. Let the waitress parade the baby around the restaurant, let the xe om (motorbike taxi) driver play with the baby on the motorbike, let the hotel security guard bounce the baby on his knee.

I was initially concerned about how waitresses would take Miss M away from me. But, after being repeatedly reassured that no one planned to steal the baby, I learned to enjoy having a bit of time to eat with no one on my lap, using both hands!

People may give the baby food. It should be OK, even if lollies before dinner isn’t your idea of entree.

Young children, especially light-haired children, will get similar treatment. But it’s babies who are the true rock stars in Vietnam.

Vietnamese people enjoy childish boisterousness and it’s perfectly ok for kids to run around and be noisy in public places. However, naughty is still naughty and won’t be tolerated.

 

2. The traffic is crazy – but you will survive

Motorbike traffic in Vietnam operates on the same principle as a school of fish. The traffic just flows around obstacles. So if you’re that obstacle, the traffic should flow around you.

Getting stuck in the middle of the flow of traffic is scary, especially if you’ve got your child with you, but just remember the school of fish principle. Whatever you do, don’t panic and make a run for it. If you are still, motorbikes can go around. The people on the motorbikes have a vested interest in NOT hitting you, so try to make it easy for them to avoid you by being predictable. Walk slowly, watching the oncoming traffic, and wave one arm above your head to make sure people have noticed you. (You’ll probably feel like a twit, but it is effective — and that’s coming from someone who’s ridden a motorbike in heavy traffic in Vietnam.)

My school of fish theory only applies to motorbikes. Trucks and buses are the kings of the road. They won’t try to go around. Do your very best not to get in front of them.

To cross the road, stand at the curb and look both ways. Honestly, look both ways — people drive every which way. I’ve even seen a bus mount the curb to try to get around a traffic jam. Look BOTH ways, then look again. Don’t wait for a gap in the traffic, you’ll be stuck there til you’re a pensioner. You should look for a light spot in the traffic. When you see it, step off the curb and walk slowly through the light spot, looking for another light spot ahead. Just be slow and steady and you should get to the other side in one piece. Your best crossing option, though, is to wait for a local to cross, then walk beside them. They will think your fear is hilarious, and they will usually try to make sure you survive the crossing.

3. Don’t drink the water
The water from the tap is not fit to drink. Bottled water is cheap and readily available. I’d recommend cleaning your teeth with bottled water, too. And try not to let the baby drink the bathwater.

 

4. Ice is OK
If you get ice in your drink, don’t panic. Check to see if the ice has been made by a machine, i.e. it is cylinder-shaped and has a hole in it. If it’s machine ice, it’s OK.

The big chunks of ice that are dropped into beer and softdrinks, that’s OK too. The chunks of ice in the men’s urinal — don’t drink that. It’s put there to subdue the toilet smell, apparently.


5. Tea is free

In most restaurants, you’ll be served iced tea when you arrive. It’s free, so drink up.

Tra da

6. Napkins are not free
In most restaurants, you’ll get plastic-wrapped moist towelettes or jasmine scented wash cloths. They’re not free. You’ll be charged VND1,000 to VND3,000 per napkin. You’re not being ripped off here. Everyone has to pay for napkins.

 

7. Street food is fantastic
The best Vietnamese food is the stuff that’s cooked right in front of you and dished up on a plastic plate or in a plastic bowl. It’s fresh, it’s hot and it’s delicious. For adults – don’t be too afraid of the raw stuff, just be sensible. Shake any water off and dunk greens in the soup. I’d be a bit more cautious with young kids. You can ask for greens, including herbs, to be boiled. The staff can just dunk it in the big cooking pot. That should kill any germs.

8. Em oi is the most important phrase
“Em oi”. Memorise it. “Em oi.” It means “hey you” but slightly more polite. Use this term to get attention in restaurants, hotels, guest houses — just about anywhere. “Oi” is the hey and “em” is the you. But be aware that “em” is used to address people younger or subordinate to you. If the person you’re addressing is older, or important, use “anh oi” (kind of like “hey, older brother) for men and “chi oi” (hey, older sister).

All tourists try to learn the basics – xin chào (hello) and cảm ơn (thank you). But most Vietnamese can understand hello and thank you. They just won’t be listening for “excuse me” or “hey, waiter”, especially if they’re deep in conversation about last night’s Vietnam Idol. Call out “em oi” and you’ll definitely get their attention.

 

9. Don’t expect Western service standards
Wages are low in Vietnam, really low. Waitresses and waiters only earn about VND2,000,000 a month. That’s about A$100 or US$96 a month. For this princely sum, wait staff are expected to work long long shifts, six or seven days a week. They may even sleep at the restaurant – the restaurant gets free “security” and the staff get free rent.

So don’t be impatient when the wait staff are all sitting around chatting, rather than hovering behind you looking out for a glass that needs refilling. If you need something, shout “em oi” and you’ll get someone’s attention. Don’t be offended when a waitress slouches over and unceremoniously dumps a plate on the table, then turns and slouches off. That’s kind of the way things are done in Vietnam. It’s not a personal insult.

 

10. Food is served when it’s ready
There is no concept of entree and mains in Vietnam. Eating is usually communal. So all the dishes are placed in the centre of the table and every diner serves themselves. Some tourist and backpacker restaurants serve per-person meals – as in you get the whole plate of food for yourself. But not many of those places understand the Western concept of all meals being served at once so everyone can eat at the same time.

Most restaurants in Vietnam have small kitchens and only one cook. Food is cooked to order, so once a dish is ready, it’s delivered. Groups of people need to understand that this is actually good service — the food is fresh and hot and delivered immediately. So, if you’re in a group, do the local thing and share your dishes. That way everyone gets to eat as soon as the first dish arrives. And, if you’re still hungry after everything’s been delivered, order more! If a dish is so good it gets finished, order more! That’s the way the locals roll.


11. You are rich, you have to pay more
If you have enough money to fly to Vietnam, you are rich. In Vietnam, the average annual income is about US$1,100 — probably less than you spent on your flight.

So, don’t get angry when you get ripped off. You really can afford to pay two or three times the local price — and whatever you’re paying for will still be cheap. Vietnamese people think it’s only fair that you pay more – you can afford it.

 

12. People will try to rip you off
Closely related to the previous tip. People will try to rip you off. Don’t get stressed about it, just try to get an idea of what going rates should be. Ask your hotel/guest house receptionist how much a taxi should be to a certain place, or how much a particular item should be at the market. If you pay only double the price they quote, you’re doing well.

 

13. Keep your valuables close
There’s a fair bit of snatch and grab crimes throughout Vietnam. Don’t be too paranoid — that’s no fun at all — but be sensible. Keep your handbag and camera on the shoulder furtherest from the traffic, don’t flash lots of cash around and don’t carry an enormous purse — buy a small purse on your first day and keep it in your front pocket. And only carry enough money for that day, with some emergency cash down your bra. Fellas, I’m not sure where you usually keep your valuables – in your jocks?

 

14. Let the hotel keep your passport
Hotels and guest houses are required by law to keep your passport. This is so the police know who is staying where. The hotel staff are not trying to steal your passport, they’re just doing their jobs.

 

15. Allocate a whole day to the Museum of Ethnography in Hanoi
Give the kid a day off from city life and head out to the Museum of Ethnography. Let them run around and climb into and out of the traditional houses in the outdoor section of the museum.

The official Vietnamese government blurb about the museum is here, in all its officious boring glory. For a better idea, read this Travelfish review.

 

16. Vietnam has very convenient convenience stores
If you’re out and about with the little one, who suddenly needs food or water or milk, there is usually a shop close by. A local shop might not look like a shop to you — it will be a stall piled high with packets of biscuits, shampoo, scotch, tinned milk and soft drinks.

The more Westernised convenience stores look like 7-11s. There’s a number of chains, including Stop N Go and 24 Gio (24 Hour). They sell all the Western “convenience” foods like Pringles, Oreos, crackers, yoghurt (pronounced kind of like ya-hout in Vietnamese), packaged sandwiches (which are suprisingly good), cup noodles, water, juice, soft drink and beer.

 

17. Vietnam has cows
Fresh milk is available but for some reason it only lasts a few days, so keep an eye on the expiry date. UHT, or long-life milk, is readily available, as are various brands of powdered milk, sold in a can and marketed as “children’s milk”. There’s also infant formula, if you’re still using that. If you need milk when you’re out and about, find a convenience store and ask for “sữa” (sounds almost like sewer) and point to the baby. You should get something to keep him or her going until you get back to your pad.

 

18. Vietnam doesn’t have McDonalds
Deal with it. It does have a number of international fast few chains, such as KFC, Pizza Hut, South Korea’s Lotteria and Jollibee from the Philippines. But you’d be crazy to waste a meal on bland fried food when Vietnamese food is so utterly sensational.

 

Don’t waste valuable stomach space on Western food when you could eat something like this instead

19. Prepare your story
Vietnam is a very conservative society, with most young people living with their parents into their 20s, and remaining at home even after they’re married. Young people couple up early and when you look around it seems no one ever ventures out alone — it’s all couples. Single mothers exist in Vietnam but they’re usually quite alienated from society. (The abortion rate is very high in Vietnam, too.)

So a woman traveling alone or even going to dinner without a partner or a friend is unusual. Foreigners get away with this kind of thing because they’re very odd. But people will ask where your husband is. Be prepared for it. Decide from the start whether you are divorced or widowed or whether your husband is just “busy” or “at a conference”. By all means tell the truth, but it might take a while to explain your circumstances to someone with limited English and no concept of anything but the traditional Vietnamese life of getting married and then having kids.

 

20. Nappies are cheap and readily available
While many locals raise babies without ever using a nappy/diaper, packets of disposable nappies are available in supermarkets. Be aware, though, that the quality is a lot lower than what you’re used to. Mamy Poko, a Japanese brand, is the highest quality disposable nappy brand. So you don’t need to bring an enormous supply of disposable nappies with you, you can buy as you go.

 

21. Thar be butt-hoses
The butt hose can be your best friend or your worst enemy. If you get a dose of the squirts, use the butt-hose to preserve your butt-skin. Use the butt-hose to clean off the baby — just check the pressure before pointing the business end at any delicate baby bits.

But, with a toddler around, the butt-hose can be a nightmare. Of course it’s excellent fun to spray water at people … just not at the end of a long tiring day when everyone is wearing their last set of clean clothes. When not in use, it’s best to turn the butt-hose off at the wall. Toddlers just can’t resist it.

 Le butt hose

22. Vietnamese coffee is the best coffee on the planet
It’s sweet, it’s thick and it’s strong. It’s just the thing to start the day, or to keep you going. Two might make you a bit shaky, but you’d still be tempted to have a third.

You have to try at least one glass of cà phê sữa đá – milk coffee with ice — even if you’re not a coffee drinker. It’s fantastic.

If you are a coffee drinker, don’t settle for hotel coffee or the Americano crap served in backpacker joints, keep walking til you find a place that will serve you the good stuff. A little tin pot that’s filled with ground coffee, then hot water which slowly drains into a cup with a bit of condensed milk in the bottom. Once all the water has filtered through the ground coffee in the tin pot, pour the hot coffee into the glass of ice you’ve been served. Jiggle the long spoon and the straw around until everything is cold and mixed up and Bob’s your uncle.

 

23. Have fun
Vietnam is noisy and dirty, with rubbish in the streets, horns honking day and night and all available space dedicated to some form of commerce. But it’s fun. Enjoy the craziness. Look at the expressions on people’s faces as they zoom around in absolutely mental traffic conditions. Listen to the laughter coming from people dining on the footpath, on tiny plastic stools. See if you can spot two traffic police on enormous kick-arse motorbikes having a bit of a cuddle (same-sex touching and hugging is big in Vietnam, opposite sexes don’t touch in public).

A wet market in Ho Chi Minh City

And if you don’t love it, that’s ok. Just observe the craziness and focus on the parts of Vietnam that appeal to you, whether it’s the food, the pagodas or the businesses that serve the expat community, like the fancy bars, high end restaurants and gourmet supermarkets.

 

A mango smoothie at an expat cafe

For more photos and other fun, follow Dropout Diaries on Instagram and on Facebook

6 years ago

By: Barbara

A career girl who dropped out, traveled, found love, and never got around to going home again. Currently on a year-long World School adventure with my two kids, seeing what this wonderful world can teach us.

56 Comments

  1. A guide that I had in Hue told me that Vietnam has a 2-child only policy, so that’s why they LOVE babies so much… 😉
    Raymond @ Man On The Lam recently posted..It’s a Man Eat Dog World

  2. i love this – SO many great tips, rolled into one seemingly innocuous article.
    wandering educators recently posted..Top Free Smartphone Travel Apps

    • The Dropout says:

      Thanks Dr J. Some of the tips aren’t just for parents. I’ve just seen some travelers get very heated about things like napkin charges or ice in their drinks when it’s not really necessary.

  3. Tracy says:

    Wonderful tips!!! We loved the museum of ethnography in Hanoi. The children especially had a great time there climbing in and out of the houses, learning about traditional village life and exploring the gardens.

    Ice in the urinals ??? If it keeps down the smell I wish they’d use it in the women’s toilets as well
    Tracy recently posted..Learning through lollies!

    • The Dropout says:

      I’ve seen mothballs in the urinals too, and sitting on drain covers. I don’t think any of the methods work too well!

      I loved climbing in and out of the houses at the Museum of Ethnography too! I was the only one there the day I visited — such a relief after several days in Hanoi.

  4. wandergurl says:

    As a filipina living in Australia i am super jealous of the fact that Vietnam has Jollibee. I miss chicken joy! LOL
    The coffee sounds awesome! I hope to visit Vietnam someday

    • The Dropout says:

      I don’t think I ever experienced chicken joy while I was in Vietnam. I hope you do get to visit Vietnam. It’s an amazing place and very different from the Philippines.

      • Thuan says:

        I love Vietnamese coffee, but don’t live too close too Little Saigon, let alone the big Saigon! Everyday I either have Starbucks or brew American style coffee myself. Funny thing is that I went on Youtube recently and learn how to make Vietnamese ice milk coffee myself. So after twenty something years, the problem of wanting to have Vietnamese coffee at home finally is solved! And after a month or so practice, I got pretty darn close to the taste of Vietnamese coffee found at coffee shop here in Little Saigon, but not comparible to the stuff I had in VN. That’s serious coffee. Before Starbucks, Coffee Beans, etc open up in most Asian city metros, I thought the Vietnamese may not have had the most sophisicated taste for coffee.

  5. Great article. And great point about getting ‘ripped off’. After a long time travelling and living in South-East Asia and some of the poorest (in financial terms) parts of the world, I have seen MANY Western people whinge and whine about prices and openly and proudly haggling over what is in fact, 50 cents in their own currency, but to locals might mean a day and a half of food for their family.

    A bit of perspective is always a good thing I think…

    Nick

    • The Dropout says:

      I really hate the feeling of being ripped off, and you can have days when you feel like everyone is out to get you. But, to enjoy traveling, you really need to get over it fast.

  6. Amy says:

    Mike and Ioved Vietnam when we were there! I can’t wait to go again, this time with the kiddos! And the coffee? Oh the coffee….one cup and I would get the shakes, my heart would race….but oh so good!
    Amy recently posted..You Can Travel Too….If You Want It Bad Enough

    • The Dropout says:

      I really miss the coffee, Amy. I had an unopened packet of Vietnamese coffee in Singapore that I was saving. But we gave it away! So we have to start planning a trip back to stock up on coffee.

    • Clawd says:

      Amy, taking the kids was the best thing we ever done, we have 4 girls, when we went last year they were aged 8, 5, 3, and 1, they had a ball and keep asking when we’re going back. The first time we went, back in ’08, we done nothing but wish our girls were with us, I vowed then and there to never go on holidays without the kids again.
      Try going to Sai Gon and going to the theme parks, take you swimmers to al of them, they all have water parks inside, Dam Sen is in district 7, Suoi Tien is in district 9, and Dai Nam is way outside the city and takes a little while to get there, but you get to feed the giraffes, the kids loved that.

  7. A very thorough list. And you obviously aren’t holding anything back 🙂
    Stephanie – The Travel Chica recently posted..Feeling Small in Buenos Aires

  8. Tracey says:

    Thanks so much for such a great article. These tips will be great on our trip next year and we don’t even have a toddler!!!
    Tracey recently posted..Is it wrong to tell a taxi driver where to go?

  9. The tip about the butt-hoses seriously cracked me up.
    Technosyncratic Travel recently posted..Monthly Travel Budget: Sept. 2011 (England, Malta, Germany)

  10. Whoa! I don’t remember paying for a napkin. I probably didn’t pay attention to the bill. Funny. Great tips!
    Christy @ Ordinary Traveler recently posted..Paradise in Arizona – Havasu Falls Photo Essay

  11. Jeremy Branham says:

    Absolutely fantastic tips on traveling in Vietnam. Such helpful advice on getting around, local culture, and traveling with kids. Definitely some great tips for anyone traveling to Vietnam!

    I am not a coffee drinker AT ALL but I may try the milk coffee!
    Jeremy Branham recently posted..Hollywood, war, romance, and a German Old World Village

  12. robin says:

    Essential reading for any mums on the way to Vietnam and there’s quite a lot in there for the rest of us too 🙂
    robin recently posted..El Idioma

  13. Sophie says:

    Very comprehensive list of useful tips. When my oldest daughter was 4-5, we travelled around in South-East Asia quite a bit and I found it surprisingly easy, even as a single mum. We weren’t in Vietnam, though. Have to try that with my youngest 🙂
    Sophie recently posted..What to do on a Friday night in London if you’re time travelling

  14. I don’t have a toddler, and these tips are still really useful! Can’t wait to go to Vietnam to try them out! 🙂
    DTravelsRound recently posted..Escape of the Week: The Dead Sea

  15. How these people survive in such low wages for god sake, Wow, Vietnam must be cheaper than Thailand, in Thailand the sallary is around 300 USD per monht
    make money relax recently posted..Fuji Restaurant Chain Bangkok Thailand

  16. Bec says:

    Great tips. I really don’t see getting ‘ripped off’ in SE Asia as getting ripped off. As you said, they earn so little compared to many of the people who travel there, it just seems ridiculous to haggle over a $5 or $10 difference in price. Let it go people!
    Bec recently posted..The Red Shoes

  17. Taryn says:

    Thanks for these great tips! Vietnam is on our list of potential vacations next year, this will be very helpful with our 2yo!
    Taryn recently posted..Charlotte on: Good Governance

  18. Ange says:

    Thanks….!
    very useful tips. i am traveling with my 2YO. little devil to Ho chi Mihn this coming Friday. Do you think taking a stroller with me is a good idea? or his scooter? or i will be carry him up thru the streets all the time…? maybe i should get a little light umbrella pram….? thanksssss!!!

    • Barbara says:

      Hi Ange, some parts of Ho Chi Minh City are easy to navigate with a stroller and some parts are not!
      If you can find a light umbrella stroller, that might be the best option. Because two-year-olds are HEAVY, too heavy to carry around all day. But if you have the umbrella stroller you can use it where the sidewalks allow, and carry it (and the toddler) around sidewalk coffeshops and parking areas.

      Good luck! I hope you enjoy Ho Chi Minh City’s craziness!

      • Thuan says:

        Walking and strolling in Saigon District One is manageable for toddlers (adults). I tried the bus system on my last trip on Feb 2012. It’s inexpensive and comfortable. I used it to get between the centro mercado to Hung Vuong Plaza for 20 cents. Do not travel during peak hours on buses or any transportation means.

  19. […] The Dropout Diaries – Barbara makes me laugh and laugh.  Often in the facebook group we are in – but regularly on her blog too!  If you are signed up for my newsletter (you are aren’t you?) you will have read her Vomit Express post that I sent out back in March.  If you didn’t and you’ve ever had small children – go read it now.  Truly priceless!  Barb left her corporate life in Australia, found love overseas and had a baby!!  If you love food you’ll love many of Barb’s stories and photos too. […]

  20. Awesome that all these tips are in one place! I have friends coming in a few days and just emailed them this link and will do so for everyone else who’s coming for a visit. Great post!
    James @ Fly, Icarus, Fly recently posted..The Repro Men — Saigon’s Anonymous Artists

  21. Ann says:

    Hi Barbara, might be worth noting that strollers are best left at home/hotels. Sidewalks are for motorcycles, not people 😀

    • Barbara says:

      It depends where you are, Ann. In downtown Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, strollers are fine. And in other tourist areas, there’s usually places where strollers work. But you are right, strollers can’t always traverse the footpaths. There’s usually a bit of up and down action as you navigate the coffee shops and motorbike parking areas. 🙂

  22. Hey there, great post. We travelled around Vietnam (keeping it simple) with our almost two year old last year. It prompted me to write a post about it too and another post about flying with babies and toddlers. I did a fair amount of reading before we headed off, but I figured our experiences account fr quite a lot don’t they? So if it is useful for your readers, here are my Vietnam and Flying links:
    http://sweetmotherofblog.com/travelling-in-vietnam-with-toddler/
    http://sweetmotherofblog.com/flying-with-babies-and-toddlers-is-tedious/

    All the very best,

    Miranda at sweetmotherofbog.com
    Sweet Mother of Blog recently posted..Oven dried homegrown tomatoes

  23. Thuy Linh Le says:

    I’m a 100% Vietnamese mom of a 20mo living in HCM City who happens to read this article. It shares really interesting and realistic ideas about traveling in Vietnam.
    Stroller are not such a good idea whentravelling in Vietnam, especially in HCM City and Hanoi where traffic is so heavy and most people driving motorbikes which has exhaust tube just right in the level with your kids’ face when lying in the stroller. Last year, I took my German friend to a trip throughout Vietnam , together with my 6 mo baby. On the way moving,I just put her in a carrying belt . Me and my friend exchange carrying her. For me, carrying the baby was much safer than put her in a stroller.
    It’s right that Vietnamese are fond of babies. We think that children are some kind of “spare properties” and gift of nature of their parents. Childless people are often considered as not blessed. We have a commonly thoughts of “common life pattern ” that is growing up, graduate from university, get a job and getting married, have children. The normal age for marriage of a woman is under 30. Above 30 year old, the unmarried woman is considered as having an issue and family, esp. her mother will urge the woman for searching a boyfriend and matchmaking. People will ask you about your marital status and will ask question like “you re old enough, when will you get married?”. It can be very annoying when being constantly asked like this by everyone from your family members, friends to less close acquaintance, colleagues, customers… but for most VN people, like me, it’s not abnormal.
    I know my English is not excellent. But hope you can understand me. If you have any questions, feel free to ask me.

    • Barbara says:

      Hey Thuy, thanks so much for dropping by my blog.

      We used an Ergo carrier rather than a stroller for our baby. For me, carriers were fantastic, although it did get very hot in Ho Chi Minh City. You are right about the baby being at exhaust pipes being level with a baby in a stroller.

      The “common life pattern” was what I was trying to explain. If you’re not following the pattern, people will ask a lot of questions and maybe not understand your life.

      Thanks for explaining things. Your English is perfectly understandable! (I just hope I picked the correct name to address you by!)

  24. I love your bio and this fabulous article which is an amazing intro to Vietnamese culture and traveller / tourist life there as well as being a brilliant reminder for those of us who have been and loved it! I still feel a small sense of accomplishment for learning to cut through 100’s of motorcycles and cross the street!

  25. Hi 🙂 Thank you for this article – I am going to read your blog like crazy! I am going to Vietnam for four weeks this summer with my husband and four children (1, 6, 9 and 13) and we are so excited – and these are really really good tips!!! Thank you!

  26. Emma says:

    I just laughed out loud at the picture of your daughter with the butt hose! We have just landed in Spain where there are bidets which my 2 year old thinks is his own personal wash basin and swimming pool for his toys. I’m trying not to be grossed out by it cause it’s clean, but that picture is exactly what I’m talking about!

    • Barbara says:

      Should I tell you about the time I discovered my niece cleaning her teeth by putting the butt hose in her mouth (yes IN her mouth, with lips wrapped around it) and spraying?

  27. Garrett says:

    What would you recommend for travelling from one end of the country to the other. We plan to spend a month or so slowly making our way across south-east Asia. Should we rent a car, use taxis or other public transport options. Just wondering about whether to bring a car-seat for my 12 month old.

    • Barbara says:

      You could bring a car seat but you’ll find most taxis don’t have seat belts in the back seat, so it will be a wasted effort. I’d recommend trains or flying for long distance trips, taxis for getting around. Hiring a car means hiring a driver, and paying their for their accommodation and meals.

  28. Katja says:

    hi 🙂 Great post 😀 We are thinking of going with our 4 year old and our baby(5 months) in november for about a month….We are looking at Phu Quoc as a possible destination. Any tips for that?

    • Barbara says:

      Hi Katya, welcome to the blog! I think Phu Quoc with a five-month-old would be fun if you were after a resort experience. If you wanted to explore the island, you’d have to get a taxi and/or a private tour guide, because I don’t think you’d want to take a five-month-old on a motorbike. It is a very beautiful island, though it’s already over-developed, in my opinion.

      • Katja says:

        hahaha…hmm yes the 5 month old on a motorbike would probably be a bit too laid back 😀 How developed is over-developed in your opinion? dont seem to be able to find much about it. And would you just happen to know of a nice tranquill beach with huts / bungalows and shallow clear water for teaching a 4 year old to snorkle….. ? 😀

        • Barbara says:

          I didn’t swim when I was on Phu Quoc because I was working. I really liked Mango Bay Resort, which would be nice with kids. You need to check the weather to see which side of the island will get wind while you’ll be there. The wind, unfortunately, pushes a lot of trash onto the beaches, so you want to stay on the non-wind side.

          • Katja Jarnum says:

            Thank you so much for your advice 🙂 Sorry for not having gotten back sooner; it has been a bit hectic this week. Will definetly check out the mango resort. Have a great weekend 🙂

  29. Jo says:

    Thanks for this – we’re visiting Hanoi at the moment with our 4 (yes, 4) kids – 8,5,3 & 0.6 years. We went to the Enthology Museum today on your recommendation and loved it and the middle kids loved the playground afterwards. We get a lot of attention because of ‘all’ our children. We were totally bombarded by a bunch of teenage girls this afternoon so my husband got in on the fun and took a pic of them all crowding around our kids. Old Quarter took a bit of getting used to in terms of keeping everyone safe but once you realise the traffic has a cooperative spirit to it, you can see how to work with it. Thanks so much for the reminder about being ‘ripped off’ – it really put things into perspective for us (even though we’ve spent a lot of time in Asia, it was still a good reminder)

    • Barbara says:

      That IS a lot of kids. 🙂 So glad the post helped you find some fun in Hanoi. You might want to visit Lenin Park at sundown. People rent out little electric cars, and its fun for the kids to zoom around.

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