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Vietnam or similar in August for 11 days- are we mad

(30 Posts)
ForSaleChesterDraws Sat 10-Nov-18 12:23:27

Are we mad considering taking nearly 7 year old DS to Vietnam for 10 days in August? We are pricing up package holidays and for things that we like it’s looking like £2700 for us. For that price we could do a long haul flight and give him an amazing experience of a totally different culture. DS is a good traveller- he’s not flown before but is an angel in the car when we drive to France.

With travel we would lose 2 of the 11 days, but unfortunately that is all we can take off due to work commitments. Would we be mad flying out doing 4-5 days in Ho Chi Minh and then doing 4 days at a seaside resort? The flights look a PITA and as we are in Manchester it’ll be 3 flights (it looks easier from London). A lot of them go through Bangkok. We thought of them going there and then spending some time at Hua Hin but both DH and I have been to Thailand before and fancied somewhere different. I also thought Vietnamese food is easier for kids as it has less spice than Thai.

We’d be staying in simple accommodation (but with air con and private bathrooms whilst we are there to keep costs down.

OP’s posts: |
RainbowInACloud Sat 10-Nov-18 12:26:01

I think it's a great idea and love doing long haul with kids. However the thing that always gets me is time difference on your return. It's so hard to get home, usually having slept badly on a night flight and then go to work the next day. We went to Sri Lanka this summer as the time difference is 4.5hrs so much easier when we got home. But in terms of experience, it sounds amazing.

ForSaleChesterDraws Sat 10-Nov-18 12:43:44

The time difference is a big thing we’d not thought of. We would land on a Tuesday and be in work the following day!

Tell me about your trip to Sri Lanka. What did you do?

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RainbowInACloud Sat 10-Nov-18 19:59:05

We flew into Colombo, had a night there and then travelled on to Kandy for 3 nights. We then headed down to unawatuna for the next 9 nights. (we had more planned but the travel is really slow and roads bad so we scaled things back a bit) It was great and time difference easy to adjust. Year before we went to Canada - vancouver island and time difference was 8hrs. Amazing place but time difference was a killer coming home.

Nightmanagerfan Sat 10-Nov-18 20:04:52

If I were you I’d go to Hanoi and then up to the mountains (Sapa) on the overnight train. Your son will love the journey - sleeping on the 1920s train and arriving in the mountains early in the morning when the mist and clouds are still over the mountains. There you can hike, visit traditional villages etc.
Ho chi min is a huge mostly modern city - I think Hanoi is more charming - it’s smaller and has lots of colonial style buildings from the French era, and plenty of interesting things to do and see. Food amazing as you surmised - eg yummy noodle soups, lots of bbq meat and rice if your son would prefer that. Also remember as the French were there you get fantastic coffee, pastries and baguette.

ZombieHunter Sun 11-Nov-18 00:17:55

Vietnam is great, however it's their rainy season and it can spoil things. We were on a river cruise when the heavens opened and it was not a nice experience. It is not just a little rain, it is torrential.

How about Borneo? Great for that time of the year, plenty to do and experience (orang utans, rainforest hikes, beaches, nearby islands...). You'd have to fly to Kota Kinabalu which is easy to do from major airports in Asia via Air Asia.

Other option, if you like beaches, is Sibu Island. It has been recommended here a few times and we went and loved it. Perfect for families! Look up for more info on the Sea Gypsy Village.

ShanghaiDiva Sun 11-Nov-18 05:31:41

Don't go to Sapa in August it will be very, very wet!
Central Vietnam is dry in the summer - Hoi An or Hue - both are lovely, but can get very hot. Have been in Hoi an in june and july and it was 40 degrees. Have also been to Hanoi then - a few wet days, but plenty of indoor activities so did not affect the trip.
Agree with Zombie that Borneo may be a better bet.

ForSaleChesterDraws Sun 11-Nov-18 07:21:47

Borneo looks amazing but looking at flights it’s 20+ hours which for a trip of 11 days is just too long.

I do want to get in a few days at a beach place (although ok with somewhere on a lake or just a nice hotel) at the end where we can just switch off, DS can swim and play and we can recharge.

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RainbowInACloud Sun 11-Nov-18 07:35:02

I'd seriously consider Sri Lanka then. The beaches are beautiful, the ocean is warm and there's wildlife everywhere. We saw leather back turtles as we were swimming in the shallows, monkeys on our balcony and a trip to see the blue whales which wasn't expensive compared to other places. There's culture of you go first to Kandy or you could head to beautiful tea plantations in Ella or yala national Park. So many options. But don't do too much travel if you only have 11 days as it seems to take a full day to get anywhere. And you'd need a driver but they are not too expensive and you have exclusive use.

ForSaleChesterDraws Sun 11-Nov-18 09:33:33

What is not too expensive for a driver in Sri Lanka. One thing I’ve learnt from mumsnet is that everything is relative!

OP’s posts: |
RainbowInACloud Sun 11-Nov-18 09:56:31

It was about £50 a day for the driver.

RainbowInACloud Sun 11-Nov-18 09:56:59

You can get much cheaper drivers but our driver was very professional and safe

HotSauceCommittee Sun 11-Nov-18 10:02:35

We took our 8 year old and 13 year old a couple of years ago in the school summer holidays and they loved it. The Viets love kids and because it’s so far away and flights are expensive, not many people from the West take their kids to meet the Vietnamese people. It is boiling hot, but the people are lovely and the culture and history is fascinating. We spent a fortune on little tours with amazing hosts, they tell a good story and our kids were silent, just listening. Far nicer than what Thailand has become.

Howdidthathappen1 Wed 14-Nov-18 19:18:00

Sorry to jump in on the thread with my own question but what companies would people recommend to book through for Vietnam (Or Sri Lanka as now it's been suggested I'm considering there)

ShanghaiDiva Thu 15-Nov-18 04:13:28

Vietnam is really easy to do yourself:
domestic flights if you need them through vietjet
hotels from and check reviews on trip advisor
there are some airport taxi scams so I usually book airport collection through the hotel
lonely planet for research
vespa adventures is great if you want to do a vespa day trip in Hanoi, Saigon or Hue
no visa needed for UK passport holders until june 2020, I think but easy to check on uk gov foreign travel site
day trips/tours - again check trip advisor or ask hotel what they can offer and compare prices. I
I enjoy the planning aspect and it really is quite easy to do yourself.
This year I went to Hoi An:
booked airport collection with hotel
saw all the sights in old town by ourselves
booked car and driver to take us to hue - $60
booked vespa trip in Hue and a day trip with local company - excellent and really good value
flight to Hanoi with Vietjet - I think about $150 for 4 of us
Hanoi - stayed in old town so walked pretty much everywhere and occasionally used a taxi - check reputable companies with hotel
then flew to Luang Prabang in Laos.

HotSauceCommittee Thu 15-Nov-18 04:41:17

Howdidthathappen1, Travelbag are excellent if you don’t want to do it yourself. We’ve used them a couple of times; they seem to get really good rates on flights and you’ll have a specific person within the company who will listen to what you want and put together a package with you. Not too expensive either.

weewillywinkie Thu 15-Nov-18 04:52:21

Agree with pp's suggestions to go north Vietnam rather than south. Hanoi, Hoi An. My kids (3,5,7) loved the overnight train up to Sapa.

Otherwise as someone else suggested some of the south east Malaysian islands are amazing. Look up Rawa Island. Fly into Singapore, few days there, then a driver can take you across the border to Rawa. 3/4 days there, then may be a few days in Malacca or Penang.....

WhatYouGonnaDoKatie Thu 15-Nov-18 11:26:28

Hanoi is much better than Ho Chi Minh for culture and food. You can also get to Ha Long Bay and Sapa from there. The Mekong delta is good from Ho Chi Minh but I definitely preferred the north.

Also, for those thinking of Sri Lanka - you don’t need a driver!! The trains are brilliant, and buses are frequent (if a bit cramped). It’s so easy to get around, and you’ll do it for under £10 for a family. The train journeys were some of my favourite parts of the trip.

Soontobe60 Fri 16-Nov-18 23:40:53

My one train journey in Sri Lanka was horrendous! 2 hours in a packed out carriage sat on the floor with pee for the overflowing loo running down the carriage. Being groped by old men, feeling sick from the heat, smell and motion. Never to be repeated!
We did several trips using our own driver. Didn't cost much, maybe £50 for four of us to visit Dambulla, Sigyria and Pinewalla elephant orphanage plus lunch and drink stops included. It was a 14 hour day but so worth it!
I agree the road travel in SL is pretty bad, and drivers tend to use their horn A LOT, but it's an amazing place to visit.

BeanBagLady Sun 18-Nov-18 18:54:41

It is 15 hours flying to Vietnam, so personally I would go when you can go for 2 weeks.

We went in July, to Central Vietnam, which is dryer than the North. We still had some torrrntial rains and were in a flash flood, but there was serious flooding in Hà Nội and people died. Sapa would be a swamp in mist!

But 9 days in Hoi An and Hue would be good. Central, plenty to see, nice beach, An Bang at Hoi An, and Lang Co on the way to Hue.

NotPennysBoat Sun 18-Nov-18 19:05:43

We are going from Manchester to Hanoi via Doha with Qatar next year. We're skipping HCMC and staying in North/Central Vietnam.

WhatYouGonnaDoKatie Wed 21-Nov-18 16:31:34

My one train journey in Sri Lanka was horrendous! 2 hours in a packed out carriage sat on the floor with pee for the overflowing loo running down the carriage. Being groped by old men, feeling sick from the heat, smell and motion. Never to be repeated!

That does sound very grim, but is so far from my experiences on the SL trains. We spent over 14 hours on trains over our 3 week trip. You do need to book an advance ticket for the longer trips - if you had, you would have been in a carriage that was locked so only those who had booked a seat could sit in it, no one standing in the alley ways, but you still got the vendors popping on with snacks at the stations so didn’t miss out on anything. We did our journeys either on 2nd or 3rd class, not the tourist carriages, but the carriages were cleaner and less crowded than most in the UK!

OP - look at the Seat61 website for all about train travel in both SL and Vietnam. Oh and also if you go to SL, please don’t go to the Pinnewala elephant orphanage. It’s not ethical.

19lottie82 Sat 15-Dec-18 01:45:10

I wasn’t very keen on HCMC, much preferred Hanoi.

jessstan2 Sat 15-Dec-18 01:58:03

Apparently it's a wonderful place to visit. It's certainly very beautiful. I only know because I know a couple, originally from Australia, who are working out there on contract and they love it!

underneaththeash Tue 18-Dec-18 17:26:46

We're booked to go over the Easter holidays with our 12,10 and 7 year old, so hopefully you're not too mad. Our friends went with similar aged children over the summer and had a great time, although they did say it was very wet at times and they like the heat.

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