Vietnam is one of the world’s favorite vacation destinations and in 2018, which is why a whopping 5.5 million tourists from different parts of the globe arrived in the country for some rest and relaxation.
There are various factors that contribute to Vietnam’s tourism growth — apart from its beautiful and diverse scenery, it also is one of the most inexpensive holiday destinations in Asia, as tourists can expect to spend just a little over $20 (about 500,000 Vietnamese Dong) on meals and transportation per person on an average day.
If you’re planning to go on a road trip with your family this year, Vietnam is the perfect place for it as everyone can appreciate the country’s unique culture while enjoying the beaches and delicious food of this idyllic destination.
To make the most of your travels, here’s how to prepare for your first family road trip in Vietnam.
Choose Where to Land
Going abroad with your loved ones will take some planning ahead, especially if you’re traveling with young children. Make sure to secure everyone’s passports, book flights on time, and select accommodations that are suited for everyone.
Also, make sure to map your road trip route depending on where you’ll land. There are international airports on either end of Vietnam– there’s the Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City, and there’s Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi.
If your children are a little older and you’re planning to spend about two weeks in the country, you can land anywhere and make your way to the other end of the country via a rental car or bus.
However, if you’ve got limited time, then stick to one area. If you’ve got little ones in tow, then Hanoi is the place to explore. Wherever you choose to land, make sure to make arrangements regarding your transportation.
Rent a Car
For a road trip, you can choose to rent a car or hire a car with a private driver. If you choose to go with the former, you’ll need to have an international driver’s license. However, if you’re nervous about driving in an unfamiliar country, then the latter may be a better way to go.
Upon landing in Hanoi or HCMC, you’ll find that there are travel agencies offering vehicles with drivers for trips. It’s recommended that you find a driver who speaks English and who can serve as a travel guide during the day.
Expect to pay about $100 per day for a standard car to $160 for a 4-wheel drive or a van.
Map Your Route
If you’ve hired a vehicle from a travel agency, then it’s easier to create a customized tour with the help of your driver as they can take you to the top destinations in each part of the country.
In Hanoi, make sure to check out the Old Quarter and explore the colorful shops there, and be sure to stop by the Temple of Literature to see traditional Vietnamese architecture.
Don’t miss the water puppet show and remember to sample some of the delicious street food in the area. Meanwhile, if you’ll be driving around Ho Chi Minh City, be sure to visit the Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens and the Reunification Palace.
Try the Local Cuisine
Fresh ingredients, clean flavors, and bright colors are the hallmarks of Vietnam cuisine. During your road trip, make sure to forego fast food and eat like a local.
If your child is a picky eater, start by offering them a bowl of Pho–the combination of rice noodles, fresh veggies, thinly-sliced beef in a hot broth is sure to be a winner.
Other kid-friendly food that they can sample include fried rice, banh mi (Vietnamese sandwich made pork, mayo, and veggies in a sliced baguette), and barbecued pork.
The best part? All of these dishes can be found in every corner of the country.
Don’t Forget to Stop by the Beach
Vietnam is famous for its beautiful beaches, so make sure to spend an afternoon or so in a few of them during your trip. In Hanoi, stop by Do Son Beach or Thinh Long Beach.
If you’re in HCMC, you’ll need to go on a two-hour drive to make it to the Vung Tau beaches. Other beaches to check out in the country include Nha Trang Beach, Danang Beach, and An bang Beach
Going on a road trip in Vietnam is one of the best and cheapest ways to go on a holiday with your family. Follow these tips for a hassle-free vacation, and enjoy your stay!