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Thailand/Vietnam/Cambodia/Laos with kids

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#1 delta508s-mate

Posted 06 January 2019 - 09:52 AM

DH and I are thinking of a 2 week holiday with our two kids (who will be 9 and 10) in September.  We're looking at one or more of Thailand/Vietnam/Cambodia/Laos, but not wanting to spread ourselves too thinly either.  We're looking at a pool/resort style holiday to some extent, but also want to see the local culture etc. so happy to go off the beaten track a bit too.  

Any suggestions please?  Don't have to fly in/out from the same city.


#2 AliasMater

Posted 06 January 2019 - 09:58 AM

We went to Thailand when our son was 2.

We flew in and out of Bangkok. Did a few nights there for the city experience, a few nights Chiang Mai for the cultural experience, and a few nights Pataya for the beach thing. Great holiday.

I would highly recommend Japan for a family holiday though over Thailand. I took my older 2 there in 2017 and it was amazing. I was there is my early 20s and I always said I'd take my future kids.

#3 loujay

Posted 06 January 2019 - 02:47 PM

You don't say how experienced you or your kids are in this part of the world.

It would be strange to visit Cambodia without seeing Angkor Wat. We got a three day ticket that was valid for a week so could spread out temple days. Siam Reap has many nice hotels with pools.

Then you could go down to Kep, old French holiday spot. We stayed here, it was amazing,  but the eco pool might not be what you're looking for .


Walk down the hill for dinner at great local seafood restaurants, explore local forest or  visit Rabbit Island

Thailand is well serviced with resorts. I prefer Khao Lak.

Vietnam,  get a nice resort in Hoi An, plenty to see in town for diversion and great food. Do the food tour run by the Australian and you'll get great insight into local culture,  tour suitable for kids.

Haven't been to Laos. The obsession with zip lines and resulting accidents put us off.

#4 Bereckii

Posted 06 January 2019 - 03:10 PM

Siem Reap (Cambodia) - as pp suggested, spread your days so you can do a day of temples, a day by the pool (hotel resort) another day of temples. Great restaurants and food in town.

Hoi An (Vietnam) - resort with pool. Mix your days with exploring Hoi An town in the mornings with afternoons by the pool in the afternoon. Back to town for dinner (great restaurants, amazing food, interesting town to explore at night) A resort in town might give you more flexibility to come and go from town as you please. Though resorts by the beach do have shuttlebusses, so getting to town is not hard. But it is night to have the flexibility to just pop in and out of town on foot.

Hanoi (Vietnam) - explore the Old Quarter on foot. Maybe take a cyclo ride through the old quarter. Interesting and faster pace than Siem Reap and Hoi An. Great restaurants and food and plenty of history, culture and architecture to absorb.

#5 unicycle

Posted 06 January 2019 - 03:12 PM

Hoi An is so special and has the bonus of a beach if you want a beach holiday.

I want to try Kep, but haven't been able to spare the time/energy to get there.

If travelling between Siem Reap and Pnom Penh ( spelling, I know) take the plane. Trust me.

I did not enjoy the touristic nature of Halong Bay in Northern Vietnam at all and the pollution was overpowering, but if you do go, make sure you do the two night option for a better experience as you get the quiet evening and morning on the second day.

Chiang Mai for Thailand would be my advice. There are resorts there, too, but you will probably get cooler weather?

People I know all rave about Luang Prabang in Laos.

So, the reasons I would go and recommend these places:

Hoi An for history/ culture, amazing food and beach in a small area that isn't overwhelming. Super opportunities to take amazing photos

Chiang Mai for outdoor adventure opportunities in a cooler environment.

Angkor Watt to be blown away by the ruins. Siem Reap is an easy, small tourist town and its night circus is fantastic-unmissable and no animals.

A less known town not too far north of Hoi An is Hue. We had a great day there exploring the Citadel with the kids. Stayed at a lovely Colonial hotel called the Mairin. The town itself is nothing too exciting, though.

#6 Bereckii

Posted 06 January 2019 - 03:21 PM

This blog has good info - by an Australian who is very knowledgeable (and opinionated!) about the region:


Edited by Bereckii, 06 January 2019 - 03:23 PM.

#7 delta508s-mate

Posted 06 January 2019 - 03:51 PM

View Postloujay, on 06 January 2019 - 02:47 PM, said:

You don't say how experienced you or your kids are in this part of the world.

Thank you for all the suggestions so far.  My kids have never been out of Australia.  I went to Thailand and Sri Lanka when I was a kid, more recently have been to China, Singapore, Phillipines and Japan.  DH has been to Vietnam and China about 20 years ago.

#8 delta508s-mate

Posted 06 January 2019 - 04:02 PM

Also, what is the best method of travel within/between these countries?

#9 Bereckii

Posted 06 January 2019 - 04:18 PM

Given you only have 2 weeks:
- domestic travel between cities in Cambodia: flights
- Cambodia to/from Vietnam: flights
- Hoi An - Hanoi: flights

Tho pp did mention visiting Hue, which is just a few hours drive from Hoi An. That drive is quite beautiful. If you plan on visiting Hue you could:
1. Fly into Hoi An (nearest airport is Danang), then (after visiting Hoi An)
2. travel by road from Hoi An to Hue. Stay a day or two in Hue, then
3. fly Hue-Hanoi.

Edited by Bereckii, 06 January 2019 - 04:22 PM.

#10 night jasmine

Posted 09 January 2019 - 08:30 PM

If your kids have never been out of Australia and you’d like to do Asia I’d probably take them somewhere easier to travel around in, like Singapore, Hong Kong or Bali.

If you’re set on Cambodia/Laos/Thailand/Vietnam then out of those 4 I’d choose Thailand (Koh Samui or Khao Lak) or Vietnam (Hoi An/Hanoi/ Saigon).

Travel in Southeast Asia can be a massive culture shock if they’ve never travelled out of the country.

As for transport, again, for beginner travellers, I think flying is best.

Edited by night jasmine, 09 January 2019 - 08:31 PM.

#11 mm1981

Posted 12 January 2019 - 02:39 AM

I've travelled to Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam pre kids. We took our 5, 3 and 1 year old to Thailand a few years ago.

We spent a few days in Bangkok, then caught an overnight train / boat from Bangkok to Koh Samui. After a week or so on Koh Samui we spent another week or so in Koh Sok national park.

We then flew out from Phuket.

I highly recommend the overnight train, it was very comfortable and the view of the scenery was lovely.

Koh Sok was also lovely, with lots to do with kids. One thing we did was bring life jackets from home, as most places will only have adult ones for water activities.

We also bought our own car seats (compact ones specifically for traveling) and hired private transfers for ground legs. Although your kids are older, so perhaps don't need carseats.  If they do, look at something like bubble bum or similar.

#12 smithsholidayroad

Posted 13 January 2019 - 08:26 PM

We have taken our three kids to all the countries you mentioned. We took them from aged 9 months being the youngest and have explored 30 countries over the last 7 years.

We have explored them all as separate adventures not in one trip.

You mentioned a beach resort and culture so I would probably choose Vietnam. It's an easy place to explore with kids your age and has some really diverse locations and landscapes.

We have been to Vietnam twice and recently went in April. We spent time relaxing and beach/swimming in Hoi An and then culture and exploring on the Mekong River tour of local villages etc.

We got a flight from HCMC to Da Nang ( for Hoi An ) then the sleeper train back which my kids loved.

Cambodia is also beautiful and you could mix in the beach in Sihanoukville with culture in Siem Reap and seeing the Angkor complex.

Laos is more rustic and has less transport options and slower placed. We loved Vang Vieng on the river and the mountains were great to explore.

Thailand we love Chiang Mai for culture and then the islands for beaches and relaxing.

You do need visas for Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. Vietnam have an easy evisa now and Loas and Cambodia are on arrival and simple to get.

Depending on where you are flying from, Airiasia have some great flight deals to KL then onward to your destination. Jetstar also fly to Vietnam.

Hope that helps.


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