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Vietnam or Thailand for Family Holiday?

Both Vietnam and Thailand are excellent destinations for a family holiday. Vietnam offers a rich cultural experience, with ancient temples, vibrant cities, and stunning natural landscapes. Families can explore ... Read more

Editor team

  • July 6, 2024
  • Thailand
  • 40

Both Vietnam and Thailand are excellent destinations for a family holiday. Vietnam offers a rich cultural experience, with ancient temples, vibrant cities, and stunning natural landscapes. Families can explore the delightful Old Quarter in Hanoi, visit the stunning Ha Long Bay, and relax on the beautiful beaches of Da Nang. Thailand, on the other hand, is renowned for its delicious cuisine, beautiful temples, and bustling night markets. Family-friendly resorts and activities, such as elephant sanctuaries and water parks, can be found throughout the country. Both countries are relatively affordable and have a wide range of accommodations to suit all budgets.

Why choose Vietnam or Thailand for a family holiday?

Planning a family holiday in Southeast Asia? Vietnam and Thailand stand out as top contenders, each offering a unique blend of culture, adventure, and family-friendly experiences. But how do you choose between Vietnam or Thailand for family holiday? Let’s dive into what makes these destinations special and help you make an informed decision for your next family adventure.

Vietnam or Thailand: A Comparative Overview

Both Vietnam and Thailand boast rich cultural heritage, stunning landscapes, and attractions that cater to all ages. Here’s a quick comparison:

Aspect Vietnam Thailand
Cultural Experiences Ancient temples, water puppet shows, historical sites Ornate Buddhist temples, vibrant markets, elephant sanctuaries
Natural Landscapes Halong Bay, Sapa rice terraces, Phu Quoc beaches Phi Phi Islands, Chiang Mai mountains, Phuket beaches
Family Activities Cyclo rides, cooking classes, cave exploration Snorkeling, Thai boxing classes, interactive museums

Best Time to Visit

Choosing the right time can make or break your family holiday. Here’s a breakdown of the best times to visit:

Country Best Overall Time Regional Considerations
Vietnam February to April North: Oct-Dec
Central: Jan-Aug
South: Dec-Apr
Thailand November to February Avoid March-May (very hot)
June-Oct: Short rain showers

Tip: Consider shoulder seasons (April-May and September-October for Vietnam; March and November for Thailand) for a good balance of weather and smaller crowds.

Family-Friendly Destinations

Both countries offer a variety of destinations suitable for families. Here are some top picks:


  1. Hanoi: Blend of history and modernity
  2. Ho Chi Minh City: Urban adventures
  3. Hoi An: Ancient charm and beaches


  1. Bangkok: City of contrasts
  2. Phuket: Island paradise
  3. Chiang Mai: Northern cultural hub

Accommodation Options

Type Vietnam Thailand
Luxury Resorts Danang, Mui Ne, Nha Trang, Phu Quoc Phuket, Krabi, Koh Samui, Hua Hin
Budget Options Guesthouses, boutique hotels Affordable hotels, bungalows
Unique Stays Stilt houses in Sapa, Mekong Delta houseboats Jungle tree houses, floating bungalows

Culinary Adventures for the Whole Family

Aspect Vietnam Thailand
Kid-Friendly Dishes Pho, Banh Mi Pad Thai, Satay skewers
Cooking Classes Spring roll making Thai curry preparation
Food Safety Tips – Stick to bottled water
– Eat at busy restaurants
– Choose peelable fruits
– Be cautious with street food
Same as Vietnam

Transportation and Getting Around

Mode Vietnam Thailand
Domestic Flights Extensive network Well-connected
Trains Overnight trains available Good rail network
Urban Transport Taxis, cyclos Skytrain, metro, tuk-tuks
Inter-city Options Private car hire Songthaews, buses

Safety Tip: Always use car seats for young children and be cautious when crossing roads in busy cities.

Cultural Experiences and Educational Opportunities

Both countries offer rich cultural experiences:

  • Vietnam: Fullmoon festivals, Traditional martial arts, water puppet shows, lantern-making, pottery making
  • Thailand: Thai cooking classes, Muay Thai lessons, traditional greetings

Interactive Learning: Look for child-friendly museums like the Vietnam Women’s Museum in Hanoi or the Children’s Discovery Museum in Bangkok.

Outdoor Activities and Nature Exploration

Activities Vietnam Thailand
Trekking Sapa rice terraces Chiang Mai hills
Water Activities Halong Bay cruise, Mekong Delta tour Snorkeling in Koh Tao, kayaking in Krabi
Wildlife Night safari in Cat Tien National Park Elephant sanctuaries

Responsible Tourism Tip: Choose eco-friendly operators and avoid touching coral reefs or feeding wild animals.

Planning Your Budget

Aspect Vietnam Thailand
Daily Budget (family of 4, mid-range) $100-$150 $120-$200
Accommodation Generally cheaper Slightly more expensive
Food Very affordable Affordable, especially street food

Money-Saving Tips:

  • Travel during shoulder seasons
  • Stay in apartments or family rooms
  • Eat at local restaurants
  • Use public transportation

Health and Safety Considerations

Aspect Both Countries
Vaccinations Consult doctor for: Routine vaccines, Hepatitis A & B, Typhoid, Japanese Encephalitis
Common Health Issues Traveler’s diarrhea, mosquito-borne illnesses
Precautions Drink bottled water, use mosquito repellent, stay hydrated

Emergency Numbers:

  • Vietnam: 115 (ambulance), 113 (police)
  • Thailand: 1669 (ambulance), 191 (police)

Packing Essentials for a Family Trip

Category Items
Clothing Lightweight, breathable clothes; modest attire for temples; swimwear
Children’s Essentials Medications, snacks, comfort items, wet wipes
Technology Tablets, portable chargers, headphones, travel games

Itinerary Ideas

  1. One-week in Vietnam:

    • Days 1-2: Hanoi
    • Days 3-4: Halong Bay
    • Days 5-7: Hoi An
  2. 10 days in Thailand:

    • Days 1-3: Bangkok
    • Days 4-6: Chiang Mai
    • Days 7-10: Phuket or Krabi
  3. Two weeks combining both:

    • Days 1-3: Hanoi and Halong Bay (Vietnam)
    • Days 4-6: Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam)
    • Days 7-9: Bangkok (Thailand)
    • Days 10-14: Thai beaches

Conclusion: Vietnam or Thailand for family holiday?

Choose Vietnam if you prefer Choose Thailand if you prefer
More budget-friendly options Well-developed tourism infrastructure
Diverse landscapes in a compact area World-renowned beaches and islands
Deeper dive into recent history Easier introduction to Southeast Asian travel

Whichever you choose, both Vietnam and Thailand offer unforgettable experiences for families. The key is planning, staying flexible, and embracing the local culture together.


What’s the best age for children to visit Vietnam or Thailand?
While suitable for all ages, children 6 and up tend to appreciate the cultural experiences more. Both countries can accommodate families with younger children too.

Are Vietnam and Thailand safe for family travel?
Both are generally safe. Use common sense precautions as you would in any destination.

How much should we budget for a family trip?
A mid-range family of four might spend $100-$200 per day in Vietnam and $120-$250 per day in Thailand.

Do we need visas?
Most visitors need a visa for Vietnam. For Thailand, many nationalities can enter visa-free for up to 30 days.

What’s the best way to travel between cities with kids?
Domestic flights for longer distances, private transfers for shorter trips. Trains can be a fun experience.

How can we respect local customs with children?
Teach kids about appropriate temple attire, practice local greetings, and explain customs like removing shoes in certain places.

By considering these factors and planning carefully, you can create an amazing family holiday in either Vietnam or Thailand. Both destinations offer unique experiences that will broaden your children’s horizons and create cherished family memories. Whether you choose the lantern-lit streets of Hoi An or the golden temples of Bangkok, your Southeast Asian adventure is sure to be unforgettable.

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