Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Baby in Vietnam: My {8} travel tips.

Today, I stopped and gazed at the travel agents window a little too long. It was a scenic picture of Ha Long Bay in Vietnam that I was admiring. Flights were cheap, but travel periods restricted. Of course. 

Come on. Jetstar. Just once put a dollar dazzling deal in the school holiday period. 

I dare you.

Do it for the teachers {and more importantly their wives, me!}.

And so back to my window gazing. Vietnam. What a bloody amazing country. If you haven't been, go now. Go now before the tourists destroy its soul and take happy snaps whilst doing it. You know where I am talking about.

We took Noah to Vietnam when he was one. People thought we were crazy and were convinced he might die from dengue fever or cholera.

He didn't. 

In fact he faired the best out of all of us on the runny poos count.

And he like us fell in love with the country.

But, like all things in life there were some lessons learnt and for this reason I am sharing with you my top 8 tips for travelling Vietnam with a baby in tow. 

1. Vietnamese people like babies. They like to touch, pat, kiss, play and hug them. This is something that we learnt to embrace very quickly. As a result, we had many child-free dinners. Noah would be whisked away to the kitchen by the waiter to meet his mother. We would eat. We would drink beer. And then the waiter would return with the happy baby.

2. You can buy nappies (& all other baby related products) from major supermarkets in the major cities. However, I would recommend you take your own sealed formula. Try your best to not let ze formula spill in your bag. It has an uncanny similarity to a certain 'white' illegal substance. And thats not a happy ending in any Asian country.

3. Nothing can or will prepare you for the traffic in Vietnam. It really is quite hectic and operates on the "biggest object has right of way". Therefore, as a pedestrian you have the least right of way, unless you are the size of the local bus. The best way to cross the road is slowly and persistently. The traffic will see you and anticipate your movements... so... keep moving. Running is definitely a no-no, although you may feel that is the only way to do it.

4. Tap water is best avoided. You can buy cheap bottled water from all over Vietnam. Be sure that the seal has not been tampered with and avoid ice. And I am talking about the freezer cold type ice here.

5. Food is pretty easy in Vietnam. Noah loves rice. He will eat it day and night, which was a bonus for us. We also used to fill up his lunchbox in the morning with supplies from the breakfast buffet. The staff used to turn a polite blind eye while they played with the cute baby. See point 1. Oh, and we did take a tube of vegemite too. 

6. Shopping malls exist in both of the the major cities, Hanoi and Hi Chi Minh City. And in these malls you will usually find an indoor playground/amusement park or water puppet theatre. Just look for the flashing lights and screaming kids. It gave the boy a good chance to stretch his legs, meet the locals and make some noise. Just watch out for the crawling baby not wearing a nappy. 

7.  Cots were often available in all the major hotels. Call ahead and ensure its available for your booking. Noone likes a grumpy and tired baby. You may need to bring your own sleeping sack or sheet set. Sleep is serious stuff so nothing funny to add here.

8. And finally, the overnight trains were a great option for us. They were cheap, clean and safe. And for a few extra dollars, you can usually swindle a whole cabin to yourself. The trains rocking motion had our little explorer asleep in no time. Just be sure you don't leave any valuables behind because you will not get them back. Our cabin was promptly cleaned by cabin staff. 

Do you have any tips to share on travelling with a baby to a foreign country?

This is a fabulous family friendly website full of travel trips: www.allabroadbaby.com