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Vietnam forum

Hoi An vs Hanoi -- Which is "child friendly"?

Posted by placeshifter on 28/7/2010 at 21:14

We have a 3 year old who loves to run around outside all day, all night, esp. in grassy environments.

Which would be a better place for a family to spent a few weeks in, Hoi An or Hanoi?

#1 placeshifter has been a member since 26/7/2010. Posts: 22

Posted by NYTim on 28/7/2010 at 21:47

Hoi An is probably better for children as there is some open spaces mainly beaches; however, Hanoi has lots of lovely parks and late front public spaces.

#2 NYTim has been a member since 11/9/2009. Posts: 106


Posted by daawgon on 30/7/2010 at 02:06

I agree that Hoi An might be a tad better, but I suggest you put one of those child leashes on the 3 yr old before you let him run around Vietnam. The Vietnamese are child lovers, so he will be very well looked after - it's the traffic and confusion that worries me.

#3 daawgon has been a member since 17/4/2007. Posts: 1,111

Posted by busylizzy on 30/7/2010 at 03:58

"it's the traffic and confusion that worries me." My thoughts, too!

Hanoi, whilst a fascinating city the traffic is..... a nightmare! I think it would be hard for you to relax with a young toddler running around.

Hoi An is somewhat more laid back, and it is easy to get out of the main town and onto quieter country roads for bicycle rides, walking, etc. And I there are some good beaches nearby. They close off the roads to motorised vehicles in the central historical area several days a week (or is it everyday now?)which will make for a safer experience for your child, and probably more relaxing for you! Be sure to cross over the bridge from the main town to explore.

#4 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,155
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Posted by placeshifter on 30/7/2010 at 15:16

Thank you! Hoi An sounds great.

Off optic, is it as touristy and an artificial 'tourist trap' as they say it is?

I would imagine there must be parts that are more local, esp. if you get out into the nearby countryside, where you can get a a more local flavor if you stay a few weeks?

#5 placeshifter has been a member since 26/7/2010. Posts: 22

Posted by CharleyNoir on 30/7/2010 at 15:36

Posted from within Vietnam.

One man's tourist trap is another's paradise destination. But for my money, it's every bit as touristy and artificial as 'they' say it is...

#6 CharleyNoir has been a member since 7/7/2010. Posts: 8

Posted by rawjer on 30/7/2010 at 16:27

Many people seem to think Hoi An is "too touristy" and I still can't quite understand it, although I do accept it's the way they felt.

The old city center is a wonderfully preserved (not pre-fabricated) Chinese-influenced fishing village, as well as a UNESCO Heritage site. There are many souvenir shops selling art objects and so forth, along with dozens of restaurants and a few bars. I absolutely loved it and I would say it was the highlight of my 4-month Vietnam trip earlier this year.

After speaking to many people, some of whom didn't care for Hoi An, I have concluded that most of those who don't like it actually stayed in or near the Old town area. And nearly all of those who stayed a bit outside of it, in the area that is similar to all other tourist cities in Vietnam, really love the place.

My guess is that those who stay in that area tend to never leave it, and it does have a bit of a Disney feel to it. And those who stay outside the Old Town area have most of their meals and spend most of their time in the "real Vietnam," and only visit the really touristy area part of the time.

#7 rawjer has been a member since 20/1/2010. Posts: 104
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Posted by Nokka on 30/7/2010 at 17:41

Yes, it is touristy, but extremely difficult not to like.

#8 Nokka has been a member since 6/4/2009. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 259

Posted by KazAussie on 31/7/2010 at 16:06

My vote would be Hoi An . Hanoi is lovely but it is just a city. If you a flying in or out through there then a day or so would be okay. At Hoi An however you not only have the lovely town, but the nearby beach is also great and there are lots of day trips you can do... My Son, Marble Mountain, Danang, China Beach etc.... seems to me a lot more appealing to children.

To touristy.... perhaps, but there is good reason for it. It is a great place with plenty to see and do.

#9 KazAussie has been a member since 18/7/2009. Posts: 221

Posted by daawgon on 2/8/2010 at 23:36

I would imagine there must be parts that are more local, esp. if you get out into the nearby countryside, where you can get a a more local flavor if you stay a few weeks?

All you need do is walk a few blocks away from the main tourist trail and you will find the real Vietnam - even in heavily touristed Hoi An or Sapa. Notice I said walk, and not ride!

#10 daawgon has been a member since 17/4/2007. Posts: 1,111

Posted by violets on 3/8/2010 at 09:04

I noticed a few families staying at the Army hotel in Hanoi; it has a big grassy area and is on a quiet, dead end street. there are also areas like the temple of Literature and Lenin Park where a small child could safely run around. And there are green areas in lots of places.

While Hoi An is quieter i can't think of similar areas where a child could run around. The streets are only cut off at night so not very useful for you. Of all the places in Vietnam Hoi An is one of the hardest to find anything resembling ordinary Vietnamese life. You can get a ferry over to one of the little islands, walk down the path by the river toward the Red Bridge restaurant or walk across the Cam Nam bridge and wander around the quiet streets (though you might see more expat life there.) I understand you can do a homestay on the cham islands. They have no electricity bu it's quiet and the water is very clean.

#11 violets has been a member since 6/7/2009. Posts: 151


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