Those looking for a Vietnam destination that’s great for families should consider Hoi An — it’s easy on the wallet, offers loads of outdoor activities, beautiful beaches and boasts plenty of family-focused accommodation. Here are our picks of the best places to stay for those with children in tow.
Until recently, if you wanted to bring the kids your choice was either a huge, impersonal resort or to travel Vietnamese style: one room, several beds. Happily over the past year things have changed with a new breed of hotels, homestays and self-catering villas that warmly welcome children and still offer parents some wow factor (and privacy from other rowdy families if they’d like).
For budget accommodation (under $45 a night), you’re best booking into one of the smaller homestays. B’Lan on the outskirts of town is a family-run, four-room guesthouse that offers a homely vibe with a choice of neighbouring rooms or extra beds for the wee ones. They will happily set you up with push bikes equipped with safe child seats to get around beach and town.
Near the beach, Under the Coconut Tree is a great place to stay with older, outdoorsy kids. Rent a five-bunk dorm with its own bathroom for the kids and hole yourself up in the neighbouring private, ensuite double – of which there are three (great if you are holidaying with friends).
For flashpacker families (under $130 a night), An Bang beach has a clutch of stylish beach houses with direct beach access. Three-bedroom An Bang Beach House sleeps up to six for $130 a night and is just a short amble to a sheltered sandy beach with safe shallow waters and a host of family-friendly beachside restaurants.
For a boutique beach village stay, two-bedroom Be’s Beach Bungalow is a great (and safe) choice for families. Run by a local couple with a toddler of their own, the bungalow is kitted out with babies and toddlers in mind, with the added bonus of having knowledgable hosts on call who can help out with family friendly activities and sourcing forgotten baby essentials.
For kids who need a bit more stimulation, An Bang Seaside Village provides on-site staff, catering and village activities including arts, crafts and beach games with local kids, so you can put your feet up with a book while your children run riot and get a glimpse into community life.
Nearer town, Hoi An Chic offers a family room with two bathrooms and interconnecting bedrooms best for families who are looking for something a little more personal than a resort. What makes it great for families – other than a pool, restaurant and spa – are complimentary vintage military jeep transfers to beach and town, on-site fishing and a bundle of kid friendly family excursions such as riding buffalo carts through the paddy and river kayaking.
For higher prices you step into resort territory with kids’ clubs, on-call baby sitters, toddler pools, spas, restaurants, entertainment programmes and on-site equipment hire. Cua Dai’s Sunrise Resort has pretty much everything you could wish for, but it can get a little rowdy by the pool during the school holidays and high season from September through to March, when the weather can be a bit hit and miss or downright chilly. For all the facilities, a lot more character and less poolside squealing, the Victoria is a good bet, where kids and adult areas are ‘zoned’. Older families in search of a more private, luxury bolthole right on the beach couldn’t go wrong with self-catering Temple Beach House.
One thing to bear in mind is that Hoi An has two topsy turvy seasons. Of the two, low season (from March to September) guarantees great weather and big hotel discounts. The colder ‘high’ season marks the beginning of the monsoon and it’s not too unusual for it to rain continuously for days. Although there are plenty of activities to keep you busy, low season can be hard work.
By Caroline Mills
Last updated on 12th December, 2014.