Looking for a base to explore central Vietnam? Well our shout out goes to the family friendly town of Hoi An and the surrounding area.
This mesmerising coastal town in central Vietnam, is brimming with activities for families. Our month-long adventure in Hoi An left us pleasantly surprised and keen to explore more of Vietnam.
Why chose to spend your 30 day Vietnam Visa primarily in Hoi An? You can read all about it here.
Where is Hoi An?
Around about the mid-way point of Vietnam lies Danang, a vibrant coastal city catching the eyes of many travelling families and worldschoolers. Just a stone’s throw away from the enchanting ancient town of Hoi An, Danang is a destination in its own right, giving families a great blend of culture, relaxation, and adventure.
But here’s the good news: Hoi An and Danang, though very different in character, are practically next door. A short drive (30-40 mins) is all it takes to travel between these two hotspots. Which means you have easy access to the best of both worlds. We used Grab or our accommodation host to book transport easily.
Read about Hoi An with Kids – HERE
If you are looking for a ‘resort’ type beach, Danang or Da Nang has China Beach, a pleasant strip of sand at the mouth of the river made famous by American GI’s during the war. There is a lot of development between Danang and Hoi An, with massive resort hotels which seems to have halted leaving ghost structures along the coast.
Honestly, we really disliked the beach, from everyone wanting to be paid for something and being very aggressive with it to the busyness, it just wasn’t for us.
The main attraction in Danang is Dragon Bridge, this fancy modern bridge actually breathes fire every Saturday and Sunday night at 9pm. We skipped it. We weren’t keen on returning to DaNang for this.
Danang is very much the “big city” to Hoi An’s sleepy vibe and this is where you’ll need to come for Hoi An’s nearest airport and train station. You’ll also find a shopping mall, cinema (with some movies in English), the usual fast-food outlets, and even an ice rink in Da Nang.
We did make a stop at the ProTech Helmet shop in Dannang to pick up good quality helmets for the kids, we knew we would be hiring bicycles and using scooters for the month, and beyond, in South East Asia. So this was well worth it.
If you would like to know more about the growing wordschoolers scene that visit this area, get in touch or check out our world school hub post.
Trips, Tours and Places of Interest Near Hoi An with Kids
There are a few places and attractions very near to Hoi An or within an hour or so, which make great day trips. When you’ve done everything in Hoi An with kids, consider booking a tour to some of these destinations.
Visiting Marble Mountain From Hoi An
Marble Mountain is made up of five different mountains with one being so steep that they very kindly fitted a lift (elevator). Marble Mountain is nearer to Danang than Hoi An and offers absolutely spectacular views. The main cavern and its Buddha images are supposedly impressive. It’s fine to take kids, there is a lift up the mountain. Again, we opted to skip this trip, having seen Thai caves and Dambulla caves in Sri Lanka, we knew our kid’s attention wouldn’t last too long.
My Son (and my daughters) With Kids
I’m sorry, that was a terrible joke. My Son is one of those places you feel you should go, you know it will be fascinating and beautiful, you will learn so much but that little nagging doubt creeps in when you think about taking the kids. The Son Sanctuary (it’s UNESCO listed) is incredibly old and beautiful with Cham ruins older than Angkor Wat. It is a sprawling site and to get the most out of it you should most certainly take a guide and some cool water!
Taking the kids to Ba Na Hills
Ba Na Hills, the apparently European- themed park is a very popular stop outside of Hoi An. The old French hill station and now boasts 3 cable cars but this is pretty special in the cable car world, ‘CNN ranked this infrastructure among the 10 most impressive cable-car systems in the world, and it’s won more than one Guinness World Record.’ At the top you will find a French village…on a mountain…in Vietnam.
Ba Na Hills is most famous for the giant hands of the golden bridge, a very instagrammable shot.
There is also an amusement park, wine tasting, golf course, wax museum, spiritual gardens and everything else you could probably never imagine on top of a mountain…in Vietnam.
Than Tai Hot Spring Park
A bit of an odd one to add to the list but hear me out. This one rarely gets mentioned in the big tourist sell and I’m not totally sure why. Nestled in the Ba Na–Nui Chua nature reserve in Da Nang, Nui Than Tai Hot Spring Park is a perfect venue for anyone wishing to get away from the hustle and bustle of Da Nang. The place sells itself as a place ‘you will experience a feeling of difference when you are immersed in the majestic nature of the mighty primeval forests of Ba Na – Nui Chua and hot springs, cold streams.’
Now I wouldn’t go that far but it’s a good day out.
The park is huge and has lots of different areas and experiences. The water play park was a big hit and the wave pool. Unfortunately, a lot of the water slides were off limits for the kids. They were also very excited about the mud baths but we think (translation issues) there may be a limited number of spaces. If you are looking for something a bit different, it’s definitely worth checking out.
Vietnam was a definite hit for our family and after being based in Hoi An for a month, we can’t wait to experience more of the country. This area has something for everyone, history, cultural, beaches, mountains and lots of activities for the kids. It is well worth a visit.
Headed South? Check out our list of alternative activities in Ho Chi Minh.
- How to Survive a long-haul budget flight with kids
- 7 reasons to use WISE for transferring money internationally
- Every fact you wanted to know about Egypt!
- The EASY and cheapest way to get your visa for Sri Lanka
- A Sri Lanka Safari Adventure for all budgets
- What do you need for worldschooling success?