DISCOVERING VIETNAM WITH A TODDLER IN TOW

Vietnam

Vietnam is a vibrant and tantalising country and an incredible place for a brave family adventure. We know that a little extra planning is always in order when you’re travelling with a tot though, so here are some wonderful pointers for those considering a holiday there:

The Vietnamese adore babies
We know what you’re thinking, who doesn’t love a baby? Especially your gorgeous little angel. But Vietnamese people love babies in a big way. You might be used to the odd passer by stopping to admire your tot, but in Vietnam expect just about everyone to stop and admire. People may even swarm around you, faces alight, ready to pink chubby cheeks and hope for the grasp of little fingers. Try not to get overwhelmed but if your little one is, just smile and keep walking. You don’t need to stop but a friendly grin is helpful, if your youngster does enjoy the attention – just let them lap it up! Young children, especially those with fair hair, are likely to receive the same treatment.

The traffic’s insane, but you’ll be OK
When you’re used to the civilisation of western roadways, Vietnamese traffic can be terrifying to say the least! Motorbikes are everywhere, travelling with the style of a school of fish – avoiding obstacles in groups. These will just flow around you, if you trust them too. When you inevitably find that you are stuck in a flow of traffic, keep your child as close as possible but keep calm. The worst thing you could do would be suddenly run for it. 
Trucks and busses will not go around you. They are in charge of the roads and you need to be careful not to get in front of them. When it comes to crossing roads, LOOK BOTH WAYS. Several times. For added safety, always seek out a local and wait for them to cross before you move. 
Photos from Kylie's trip to Vietnam in 2009 
Water, no. Ice, yes.
Tap water across Vietnam is not fit for drinking. Bottled water is readily available though, and cheap. You’re best off even cleaning your teeth with bottled water. With this in mind, try to prevent your little one drinking any bath water!
Ice on the other hand is fine – as long as it’s been made from a machine or comes in a huge chunk from a commercial vendor.

Remember, ‘Em oi’
This phrase is a more polite way of saying ‘Hey you!’ and will come in handy in all sorts of places where you want to get attention – restaurants, hotels, shops etc. Other basics to remember are: ‘xin chao’ which means ‘Hello’ and ‘cam on’ which is ‘Thank You’. 

Un-wed mummies be ready to explain yourself
The Vietnamese life is very traditional in the sense of being wed before having children. If you and your partner are not married, or you’re a single mum travelling, be ready to be questioned about your ‘husband’. They are not being rude, but it is what they will expect. To save time, you can always just simply say your husband is ‘busy’.

Nappies are cheap and cheerful 
Luckily disposable nappies are readily available, but as many locals never use them, they are a lot lower in quality than brands you may be used to. Look out for ‘Mamy Poko’ which are the best quality brand. 

If in doubt, let a tour guide sort it out!

Vietnam is an exhilarating destination to explore at you own pace, but if you’re feeling wary of such a different culture then the many tours that Vietnam has on offer can help you feel more secure as you get to know the place, especially if you have a local Vietnamese person take you around.

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