What are the
BEST Unusual things to do in Ho Chi Minh with kids in 2023?
Well, you have probably read the other 100 posts with the same generic information BUT welcome to the alternative list! I’ll be honest, some of the activities on this list may come as a surprise, I was also surprised I took part in them, but each one is unique and offers lots of alternative activities to do in Ho Chi Minh, and with kids too!
Ho Chi Minh aka Saigon
Ho Chi Minh or Saigon is a bustling city in Vietnam , and by that I mean there is a certain madness to it, but give yourself an hour to adjust and you can fall into the rhythm of this Asian city.
It is a beautiful city packed with culture, history and lots of things to do. However, finding that slightly different activity to entertain, engage and inspire kids can be quite challenging.
All of these suggested activities below are in the city or a short journey away. They are all possible within a day trip from Ho Chi Minh.
What is the best way to get around Ho Chi Minh with kids?
Ho Chi Minh is a great city for walking around but for those slightly longer trips the easiest way of getting around with the kids are the local taxis. Super easy to use and very cheap. Make your life even easier by using taxi apps like Grab and Gojek, useful for all of Asia.
Here’s a little tip: Grab can be a tad pricier than Gojek, but no worries! You can actually use both apps at the same time to compare prices for your rides.
So the first entry on our list is Archery tag. This was our first time ever playing this. For a friends birthday we headed across Saigon to Archery tag’s outdoor astroturf pitch. We went first thing in the morning to try and beat the heat of the day but failed as we were all dripping in sweat pretty soon. This fast-paced game involves teams shooting each other with specially designed arrows with soft foam ends, which gets them ‘out’. There is an option to get them back in by shooting a target.
Safe and Outdoor Fun:
Archery tag takes place in an outside, providing ample space for kids to run, dodge, and immerse themselves in the game. There is no cover so make sure you slap on loads of suncream and use hats for extra protection. There is a shower you can use for after too.
All our kids (from 7-12) loved this game. The youngest kid struggled a little with the bows, she had a great time collecting arrows and launching them by hand. We mixed the teams to keep things fair…my team won every time. Not that it’s important but thought I should probably include that detail.
Revenge! – Adults vs. Kids:
We generally mixed the teams but the kids were desperate to have an adults vs. kids match. Surprisingly this was our closest match. I think this match allowed for a release of some pent up aggression… from both sides.
At the end of the matches, we were all absolute sweaty messes, basking in our victories we were introduced to the final round. Water fight! Buckets were filled with water balloons and battle commenced. It was a fanastic finish to a great day and cool everyone down.
1 small side note. These arrows are designed to not hurt and for the majority of our party there was no issue. But if you are like me and happen to be a delicate little peach then you might find you walk away with a couple of bruises.
Big Daddy’s Ax throwing club
Looking for a unique and exhilarating activity that the whole family can enjoy in Ho Chi Minh? Look no further than axe throwing at Big Daddy’s. Probably not what you were expecting hey? I’ve got to admit that when we first talked about doing this, I remembered the social media video of a axe bouncing back and almost taking the thrower’s head off…so I was a little uneasy.
BUT, the set up at Big Daddy’s was great, safety is a top priority. Everything is explained clearly and the set up is safe for all.
Alongside the axe throwing lanes, the venue features additional entertainment options such as air hockey and shuffleboard. We basically had a whole day of family competition and I will hold my hands up here. I was awesome at archery…not so much at ax throwing! I just couldn’t commit to getting behind it, perhaps there just isn’t enough pent up aggression in my life. Jak on the other hand was amazing…hmm might need to think about that a bit more.
Evening Motorbike street food tour
This was the absolute highlight for adults and kids. There are lots of tours available but we chose to go with AN Tours (you can book here) and would highly recommend.
Delicious Food Experiences:
Prepare your taste buds for a culinary extravaganza! Vietnamese food is amazing and so diverse in its options but taking this food tour introduced us to so much more. AN Tours Vietnam takes you to the best street food stalls, allowing you to sample authentic Vietnamese dishes and local delicacies.
The guides were incredible with the kids and led us round some great food spots in the city. They answered lots of questions and were good fun to talk too.
Our favourites were
Here are some of the tasty treats we tried.
Bun Thit Nuong – grilled pork with rice noodles
Banh xeo, Banh khot – Vietnamese Rice Pancakes
Chuoi nep nuong – Grilled Banana wrapping by Sticky Rice
Street Food Market (Vietnamese pizza – Banh Trang Nuong, Potato balls, Coconut ice cream with avocado)
So why not Indulge in the vibrant flavors of Ho Chi Minh’s street food scene and introduce your children to new tastes and culinary experiences. It’s an adventure for the senses that will leave your family craving for more, literally, Vietnamese has been our favourite so far on our travels!
Cu Chi Tunnels
So admittedly, The Cu Chi Tunnels, might not be the most alternative experience but it’s an interesting interesting experience to think about especially for kids.
Don’t disregard it straight away, opportunities for experiential learning like this are very powerful.
They are an intricate network of underground tunnels located in Ho Chi Minh that were used by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War as hiding spots, supply routes, and living quarters. Today, they serve as a historical site and tourist attraction. Visitors can explore sections of the tunnels, witness demonstrations of trap systems, and learn about the history and resilience of the Vietnamese people during the war. It’s an immersive and educational experience that offers a glimpse into the past and the ingenuity of those who lived in the tunnels. It brings the dark history to life and allows the kids to access a part of the history without being scarred for life
One of the highlights for our family was when we had the chance to climb through one of the tunnels. They were thrilled by how easily they maneuvered through the narrow passages, while it was a little more of a challenge for the adults. We all had some scraped knees and shoulders and a right sweat on when we stepped out but this just added to the kids joy.
Interactive Exhibits and Demonstrations:
The Cu Chi Tunnels also offer interactive exhibits and demonstrations that interest to visitors of all ages. Lots of informative displays, a guide to answer questions, a tank to climb on but climbing into and through the tunnels definitely stood out for the kids.
WARNING! One thing to note is there is a shooting range for adults to try their hand at shooting AK47’s or throwing a hand grenade. It (obviously) is very noisy and it was difficult for more sensitive kids, we turned and left the area choosing ice cream over guns. There’s a life lesson for you there kids.
This isn’t a visit that every family will enjoy.
The drive to the tunnels is approximately 1 hour to 90min (depending on traffic). Clearly there is a lot of history to unpack in Vietnam, for us the Cu Chi Tunnels allowed us to access the discussions around the war and an immersive way. Finding something which is suitable for kids to see and experience on this topic is tricky in Vietnam but for us, this fit the bill. Consider the needs of your own family.
Ho Chi Minh is definitely one of our favourite cities and that must say something because we generally don’t enjoy any city! Vietnam is definitely a special place , check out our posts on Hoi An and surrounding area to discover more.
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