DRIVEN BY NECESSITY
A proliferation of motor scooters means that merely crossing the street can resemble an extreme sport in Vietnam, so pick up a cyclo and driver instead. Rates are negotiable and extremely cheap, and a ride through the busy streets of any of the country’s large cities will keep every member of the family entertained.
They may not always go for local food, but even the pickiest junior eaters are bound to fall in love with Vietnamese ice cream. From Fanny’s in Hanoi to Kem Bach Dang in Ho Chi Minh City, you’ll find ice cream parlours throughout the country. If in doubt, just look for a long queue of happily slurping locals.
The world-renowned Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre was developed more than 1000 years ago in the Red River Delta; these days you need travel only as far as its purpose-built theatre in central Hanoi to enjoy one of Vietnam’s most entertaining cultural displays. www.thanglongwaterpuppet.org.
Australian-Vietnamese Jimmy Pham has run Koto in Hanoi since 1996 as a not-forprofit restaurant and vocational training program that is changing the lives of street and disadvantaged youth in Vietnam. An educational eye-opener for your own kids. www.koto.com.au.
Preparation for the trip starts at home. While instinct will tell you to leave behind the computer games, don’t. If you experience a long flight delay, you will realise how important it is to have something to distract tired and bored children. Even an old-fashioned game of cards or Travel Monopoly can work splendidly. Peter Lalor Additional research: Fiona Harari
Good show: Hanoi’s water puppets