VIETNAM TRAVEL

 

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CHILDREN

Children get to have a good time in Vietnam, mainly because of the overwhelming amount of attention they attract and the fact that almost everybody wants to play with them! However, this attention can sometimes be overwhelming, particularly for blond-haired, blue-eyed babes. Cheek pinching, or worse still (if rare), groin grabbing, are distinct pos-sibilities, so keep close. For the full picture on surviving and thriving on the road, check out Vietnam Travel Guide's Travel with Children by Cathy Lanigan, with a rundown on health precautions for kids and advice on travel during pregnancy.
Practicalities
When it comes to feeding and caring for babies, almost anything and everything is available in the major cities of Vietnam, but supplies dry up quickly in the countryside. Cot beds are available in international-standard mid range and top-end hotels, but not elsewhere. There are no safety seats in rented cars or taxis, but some Western restaurants can usually find a highchair when it comes to eating. Breastfeeding in public is quite common in Vietnam, so there is no need to worry about crossing a cultural boundary. But there are few facilities for changing babies other than the usual bathrooms. You'll need to pack a baby bag everywhere you go. For kiddies who are too young to handle chopsticks, most restaurants also have cutlery.
Sights & Activities
There is plenty to do in big cities to keep kids interested, though in most smaller towns and rural areas you will probably encounter the boredom factor. The zoos, parks and some of the best ice-cream shops in the region are usually winners. Children visiting the south should not miss HCMC's water parks, while Hanoi's two musts are the circus and a water-puppet performance. Nature lovers with children can hike in one of Vietnam's expansive national parks or nature reserves. Cuc Phuong National Park is home to the excellent Endangered Primate Rescue Centre, where endangered species of monkeys are protected and bred. This is a great place to see gibbons gallivanting about their safe houses and to learn about the plight of our furry friends. With such a long coast, there are some great beaches for young children to enjoy, but pay close attention to any playtime in the sea, as there are some big riptides at many of the most popular beaches. Note that these rips are not marked by flags.