Introduce your children to the best of Vietnam on this 10-day, family-friendly itinerary. With a mix of culture and soft adventure, this trip is ideal for all ages. Meander through vibrant markets and sample street food in Hanoi, sail the emerald green waters of Ha Long Bay, learn to make paper lanterns in the lively port city of Hoi An, and finish in Ho Chi Minh City for a tour of the Cu Chi Tunnels and a captivating evening cultural show.


  • Enjoy the modern yet historical Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City
  • Cruise, kayak, and swim in gorgeous Ha Long Bay
  • Explore the UNESCO-listed riverside port city of Hoi An
  • Go underground and experience the complex Cu Chi Tunnels

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Hanoi Hanoi
Day 2 Explore Hanoi, Water Puppetry Show Hanoi
Day 3 Transfer to Ha Long Bay, Cruising & Kayaking in Ha Long Bay Ha Long Bay
Day 4 Explore Ha Long Bay & Transfer to Hoi An Hoi An
Day 5 Hoi An Fishing & Basket Boat Ride Hoi An
Day 6 Explore Hoi An & Lantern Making Lesson Hoi An
Day 7 Free Day in Hoi An Hoi An
Day 8 Transfer to Ho Chi Minh City, Traditional Culture Show Ho Chi Minh City
Day 9 Cu Chi Tunnels & Ho Chi Minh City Tour Ho Chi Minh City
Day 10 Depart Ho Chi Minh City  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Hanoi

Welcome to Hanoi!

Welcome to Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. On arrival at the airport, your driver will pick up your family for a transfer to your hotel. After taking some time to relax and unwind, get over the jet lag by exploring one of the most ancient capital cities in the world. Today, Hanoi is a mix of the old and the new, with contrasts of traditional society mixing with the influx of modern conveniences. 

You can opt for a food tour that will give your family an introduction to Vietnamese cooking. Start with a trip to Thanh Ha Market, where you'll browse food stalls, try local delicacies, and learn about Vietnamese culinary culture. Continue to Dong Xuan Market, famed for its noodle shops, and sample treats such as pho sot vang (noodle soup with pork and herbs) and bun dau (tofu served in soup with rice noodles and fermented shrimp paste). Finish back in the Old Quarter with deserts and a sweet iced coffee while watching Hanoi's street life unfold.

Day 2: Explore Hanoi, Water Puppetry Show

Explore Hanoi, Water Puppetry
See a water puppet show

Continue exploring Hanoi today, starting with a visit to the Ho Chi Minh Complex, Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum, the Presidential Palace, and the One Pillar Pagoda nearby. Then, explore the maze of streets and guilds in the Old Quarter, and walk around the Lake of the Restored Sword, a favorite among Hanoian families. Continue to the Temple of Literature, the first university in Hanoi. Enjoy a relaxing time in its beautiful garden while your children play. The last stop is the peaceful West Lake and the lovely Thanh Nien Street and sedate Tran Quoc Pagoda.

For lunch, consider some of Hanoi's staples, either bun cha (a traditional pork dish of Hanoi) or pho bo (beef noodle soup). In the afternoon, treat your kids to a private water puppet theater performance, where you'll get the chance to go backstage. Meet Mr. Liem, a passionate seventh-generation puppet maker, and performer. Kids love getting their hands on the bamboo rods and learning the basic techniques to move puppets through the water.

Day 3: Transfer to Ha Long Bay, Cruising & Kayaking in Ha Long Bay

Family-Friendly Exploration of Halong Bay
The paper-flat waters of Ha Long Bay

After breakfast, you'll depart Hanoi for the coastal retreat and fishing community of Ha Long Bay. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the true natural wonders of the world. Board your ship for an overnight sail across the paper-flat waters, taking in views of more than 2,000 limestone karsts steeped in Vietnamese legend.

Enjoy lunch while cruising through the breathtaking scenery of limestone rocks and karst grottoes. Afterward, adventurous kids can hop in a kayak to explore the towering islets and caves, while younger children can opt for a gentle small boat ride. Spend some beach time on the shore, then return to your boat in the evening to watch the sunset, enjoy some family-friendly activities prepared by the cruise team, and relax over dinner.

Day 4: Explore Ha Long Bay & Transfer to Hoi An

Continue Exploring Halong Bay in a Family-Friendly Way
Wake up in Ha Long Bay

Let the kids sleep in this morning as you rise early to catch the sunrise and take part in some tai chi on deck. Then enjoy a hearty breakfast and get ready to explore a limestone cave by boat. Children will be fascinated by the stalagmites and stalactites all over the cave. After exploring, enjoy an early lunch while watching the limestone islands go by as you cruise back to port.

After the cruise, you will be transferred to the airport in Hanoi, from where you will fly to Da Nang. Upon arrival in Da Nang, your driver will meet you at the airport and take you to the hotel in Hoi An. Hoi An is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a Southeast Asian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century. Its buildings and its street plan reflect both local life and foreign influences, while its pedestrian-only streets and compact nature make it an ideal place for little ones to explore.

Day 5: Hoi An Fishing & Basket Boat Ride

Hoi An Fishing And Basket Boat Ride For Families
Traditional basket boats steered through coconut palms

Today you and your family have a full day of exploring. Set off into the countryside this morning as you join your guide to explore the scenic rural roads around Hoi An by bicycle. After that, you will board a boat with a local fisherman and enjoy a hands-on experience of traditional net fishing.

Then it's time to switch to a distinctive Vietnamese bamboo basket boat for a trip down the waterways of a coconut palm paradise. Learn the history of these unique modes of transportation as you float gently down the river and admire the passing scenery. Kids will especially like the fun spinning motion of these distinctive handcrafted boats! 

Day 6: Explore Hoi An & Lantern Making Lesson

Hoi An Family Exploration With Lantern Making Lesson
Lanterns are a symbol of Hoi An
Plan your trip to Vietnam
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As the national trading center in the 16th century, Hoi An is home to a diversity of ancient laneways and homes. Today you and your family have a leisurely tour of the cobblestone streets to admire the century-old Chinese houses and the Japanese, French, and European architecture. Take photos at the hundred–year–old Japanese Bridge, the Phuc Kien Hall, and the local fish market.

Stop for lunch in a local café and taste banh mi (Vietnamese baguette sandwich). After lunch, visit the home of a local craftsman for a hands-on, family-friendly activity. Learn about how paper lanterns became a symbol of the city, and watch a demonstration of the art of lantern-making. Kids will love the opportunity to create their own lanterns that they can bring home as a souvenir.

Day 7: Free Day in Hoi An

Head to the beach by bicycle
Today you have a free day to explore more of Hoi An. Consider renting a bicycle from your hotel and cycling through the town and local farms to reach the nearby beach. Kids can build sandcastles, swim in the warm waters, and enjoy fruit drinks from a local café. In the evening, spend time walking around the bustling Old Town area, where colorful lanterns light up the streets. Shop for souvenirs, enjoy a meal, and keep an eye out for the cultural performances on the streets.

Day 8: Transfer to Ho Chi Minh City, Traditional Vietnamese Culture Show

Welcome to Ho Chi Minh City

In the morning, you will transfer to Da Nang Airport for your flight to Ho Chi Minh City. Upon arrival, you are sure to feel the surging energy that envelops every corner of this busy city. Mopeds whiz by in every direction, and sidewalks overflow with vendors selling everything from delicious street food to the latest fashion brands. Settle into your hotel to rest after your journey, or hop in a cyclo (a three-wheeled bicycle taxi) to get your first look at the city.

In the evening, head out for a show at the iconic Saigon Opera House, built by the French in 1898, where you will enjoy an authentic night of Vietnamese culture and art. A O Show by Lune Production is known as a "bamboo circus." The show depicts the transition from rural Vietnam to modern life. Performers use a variety of props, such as giant woven baskets, ropes, and bamboo, accompanied by traditional live music, dance, and acrobatic performances, such as balancing on top of bamboo poles. It's a fun evening out for the whole family. 

Day 9: Cu Chi Tunnels & Ho Chi Minh City Tour

See Ho Chi Minh City landmarks like Notre Dame Cathedral

A full day of activities awaits, starting with a visit to the Cu Chi Tunnels. Your tour guide will give you an overview of the tunnels and their dramatic history as a network of underground tunnels built during the First Indochina War and later used extensively during the Vietnam War. The construction of this underground metropolis—which includes living rooms, kitchens, hospitals, weapon factories, storage facilities, and a command center—took roughly 25 years. The network stretches over 155 miles (250 km). The kids will love exploring the network of underground passages and learning about life underground.

After lunch at a local restaurant, you'll head back into the city. Explore the Independence Palace, the Notre Dame Cathedral, and the historic Central Post Office. Finally, visit Ben Thanh Market, one of the largest markets in the city. Here, you can practice your bargaining skills while shopping for souvenirs and picking up some treats for the kids. The market is a fun, laidback place for youngsters to experience local life and culture. 

Day 10: Depart Ho Chi Minh City

Farewell Vietnam!

Spend a few hours soaking up the atmosphere in Ho Chi Minh City, perhaps shopping for souvenirs in the markets, before you and your family transfer to the airport for your flight home. Safe travels!

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Map of Vietnam Highlights for Families: Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, Hoi An & Ho Chi Minh City - 10 Days
Map of Vietnam Highlights for Families: Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, Hoi An & Ho Chi Minh City - 10 Days
Written by Hien Do, updated Jan 16, 2023