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Published: September 24th 2018
Hoi An is magical and we think that Hoi An is one of the best places to visit in Vietnam with kids. Famous for being a UNESCO world heritage site with some of the best food in the world, it is a safe, clean and pretty destination for taking your kids.
We found a gorgeous family room for 4 at Azumi Villas
which was great. My only criticism, having stayed closer to the old town on previous trips, was that we were a little too far from the action for our liking. In hindsight I would definitely stay on An Hoi Islet with the kids as we like to be able to walk to dinner and home again. We found it hard to find a taxi back to the hotel after dinner unless we paid a large fee. Most just wouldn’t even entertain the idea of the ride back. For us it was just a little too far to walk with two children in the dark; and for the taxi drivers it was too short a trip for them to do. Kind of frustrating!
Other hotels I would recommend checking out are the Vinh Hung Riverside and the
Hoi An Silk Marina which are either side of our favourite hotel Vinh Hung Emerald and both cater for families. These hotels are in the perfect location in our opinion.
Here are our top ideas for what to do in Hoi An with kids:
We did a private cooking class with Baby Mustard and highly recommend it. It was only our family so much easier for the chef to concentrate on the kids. We chose for our 7 year old son not to cook his own dishes as we didn’t think he was ready for the big knives so he was not charged at all. He helped Dad do his dishes and then helped us eat!
We started with a visit to the local Central Market to collect vegetables and meat. The kids loved seeing all the grittiness of the fresh market. Afterwards we went for a walk through the Tra Que Herb Village to taste all the different herbs. We then settled in at the restaurant making our 3 dishes which we washed down with a wonderful passionfruit ‘secret recipe’ drink that was provided.
Cost $22USD per person ($20USD without market tour) –
pick your own 3 dishes to cook. Private class; and any child not cooking free to assist. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Book a cooking class here: https://babymustard.weebly.com/
An Hoi Islet Night Market and the Old Town at Night
The An Hoi Night Market is great fun to take the kids too. Located just across the river from the centre of the Old Town, it is filled with yummy street foods, souvenir stalls, beautiful lanterns and lots of great restaurants. The kids loved trawling through the souvenir stalls and getting their names and their school friends names on small pieces of rice made into little necklaces.
COST – only the amount you allow!
The Timing Mask Workshop
Located alongside the river is ‘The Timing Mask Workshop’. Not only is this a load of fun, but its educational and creative and it gives the kids a souvenir to take home that they made! We spent a morning here while the kids painted paper mache masks. Mitchell did a traditional Hoi An timing mask, while Maya decided to go the more tradtional route of a Rabbit (she loves Rabbits just in case you are wondering!).
The Timing Mask
workshop is a family run business and it aims to preserve one of Vietnam’s oldest cultural activities.
COST $10USD per child.
Hit the Beach at An Bang
While Hoi An is a gorgeous mix of country and city, it also has gorgeous beaches. An Bang is our favourite and its easy to get to. There are wonderful bars and restaurants along the beach that you can buy a drink or meal from and in return get free use of loungers and umbrellas. There are also shops selling beach toys for the kids to use. It is the perfect way to relax and have some downtime. Hang out at The Shorehouse, The Boathouse or Soul Kitchen. I promise you won’t want to leave!
COST – free
Victoria Hotel Sunday Brunch
If you happen to find yourself in Hoi An on a Sunday, do yourself a favour and hit the Victoria Hotel for their amazing Sunday Brunch. With free flowing Saigon beer and French champagne for the adults and free flow softdrink for the kids, it’s a great way to unwind and relax. Kids are able to use the kids club and pool and if you
request a table outside you can watch the children in the pool from the comfort of your table while you sip champagne and feast on seafood and the most amazing desserts ever!
The brunch runs from 11.30am to 3pm approximately
Cost: 590,000 dong with free flow beer / softdrink, 790,000 dong with free flow French champagne, children half price (so approximately 295,000 dong)
Street Food Tours
The food in Hoi An is sensational. I would say that for little taste buds you cannot go wrong. Our kids are super fussy eaters and our house rule is that you try everything once. A street food tour is perfect to get your kids out of their comfort zone, try some different foods and to educate them on whats on offer! There are so many different food tours on offer and most are reasonably priced. If you want to do it yourself, just head to the Central Market in the Old Town and try the various stalls in there. You will find all of Hoi An’s speciality’s on offer and they are so cheap that it is not a huge commitment financially if the kids don’t like a dish!
The best dishes to try include :
• Cao Lau – this is our absolute favourite dish in all of Vietnam. A bowl of special noodles tossed with fresh herbs, pork and a light flavoured sauce the kids will be sure to love this (we had to take the herbs off the top for our two , but they loved it overall)
• Bahn Xeo – a yummy sizzling pancake you cannot go past
• White Rose – a lovely simple dumpling that will leave the kids wanting more
• Bun thit Nuong – a five spice pork noodle dish wit ha satay style sauce.
• Bahn Mi – the freshest baguette filled with meat and a small dose of vegetables. Just don’t order the chilli sauce for the kids
Cost: expect to pay approximately $20-35USD for an organised food tour. DIY approximately 20,000 dong per dish!
Crafting for a cause
LIfestart Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation that hold painting, lantern making and language classes for the whole family. Classes are run by disadvantaged locals and profits go straight to those who need it the most.
Cost: 790,000 dong for both painting and lantern
Book here: https://www.lifestartfoundation.org.au/lifestart-foundation-workshop/classes-and-tours/
Outdoor water sports
If your kids are active and love the water, there are many activities to choose from including private boat tours, surfing, kayaking, SUP hire, snorkelling and diving. You can also head to Cham Island and camp overnight between April to September if that is your thing. Recommended tour companies that I have been given include: Hoi An Kayak Tours, Blue Coral and Cham Island Divers. I believe you can borrow Bodyboards from La Plage restaurant at An Bang Beach (who also do great food by the way)
Hoi An Free Tour
These tours are held by local University students so that they can show people their beautiful part of Vietnam while practising their English. This is a great way to meet locals and get to see some of the lesser explored places around Hoi An. Options can include visiting boat making workshops, carpentry village, rice noodle making and temples. They also do some paid tours including a food tour.
They can be booked here: http://www.hoianfreetour.com/
One thing we loved doing with the kids is going to get massages and having a spa day.
Our 7 year old son loved his foot massage at Green Grass where our friend Nga works. Maya and I spent a couple of times at different spas getting massages, pedicures, manicures and mudwraps/body scrubs. I highly recommend Green Grass
for massages and nail art; Citrus Health Spa
for the works but my most favourite is The Calm Spa
set out in the rice fields near Hoi An. This place is stunning and the prices so cheap for the quality of the services. You can even have a glass of wine and a beautiful meal after your treatments overlooking the rice fields. Do not miss a day here. Maya was 10 at the time and she absolutely loved it.
Book The Calm at the facebook page and tell Moon that I sent you; she is wonderful. Citrus Health Spa can also be found at their facebook page for directions/bookings. Citrus is directly across the road from Azumi Villas. So what are you waiting for? Get online and book those flights! Any suggestions to add to our list? Send us a message, we would love to hear from you!
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