DRIVEN BY NE­CES­SITY

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Family Holidays -

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

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