We are travelling Hanoi to HCM mid march to mid April with 3 children aged 7,8 and 12. Has anyone any suggestions for 'must do and see' and likewise 'must avoid at all cost'. Don't want to be herded about en masse- looking for safe adventure on flash packer budget.
Also I am confused as to the best way to deal with money. Some books say cash machines are easy to find, but one person told me he was charged £60.00 for cash withdrawal. What about travellers cheques? and can you get vietnamese currency here before we go.
#1 snllfamily has been a member since 6/2/2007. Posts: 2
Welcome to Travelfish snllfamily,
Money question first:
The charges you'll face on ATM withdraws in a foreign country vary according to your bank in the UK -- you'll need to contact them and find out what they charge -- some (albeit very very few) banks have no fees at all, others charge like a wounded bull in a Pampalona alleyway.
Travellers Cheques are fine in most large tourist centres in Vietnam. You'll be charged a commission per cheque, so if you go with travellers cheques, get them in large denominations (eg 100 pound).
You can't get Vietnamese currency (called dong) outside of Vietnam -- and for that matter don't take it home with you unless you're planning on wallpapering the garage -- it is a non-convertible currency outside of Vn.
Safe adventure ona flashpacker budget -- travel by train. Look into the major centres running down the coast -- Hanoi, Hue, Hoi An, Nha Trang, Da Lat (inland by bus) and Saigon. With a side trip up to Sapa (again by train), to Ha Long Bay (by bus), and, if time allows a trip into the Mekong Delta. All can be covered in four weeks. The train is moderately priced, safe and great with kids as they can get up and run around. It's also far more interesting than being cooped up in a tourist minibus.
Hope that helps!
#2 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,644
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Thanks for that info.
2 more questions: malaria risk? We have planned a trip up to Sapa and also The Mekong Delta but again with the children it will be a 'safe option'. I am concerned about the anti-malarial drugs for the children but don't know what the real risk of malaria is in those areas at that time of year?
Does anyone know of an agent in Hanoi which specialises in organising tours for families? It would be great to meet some other like minded kids along the way.
#3 snllfamily has been a member since 6/2/2007. Posts: 2