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Suggestions for 10 year old girl - 3 weeks. Hanoi and north

Suggestions for 10 year old girl - 3 weeks. Hanoi and north

Mar 27th, 2012, 11:01 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 19
Suggestions for 10 year old girl - 3 weeks. Hanoi and north

I am taking my daughter back to Vietnam in June. I adopted her there as a baby and she will be 10. I am looking for suggestions of things to do. Museums and Temples are not high on her list. We will use Hanoi as a base. Halong Bay and Sapa are already on the list. Any ideas would be appreciated. I don't want to fly too much more. An elephant ride sounds great to her.
juliasmom is offline  
Mar 27th, 2012, 12:16 PM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 947
What a wonderful prospect.

When my daughter was a little older than your daughter, she loved these activities in Hanoi:

* the water puppet show and shopping for water puppets to take home
* cyclo rides (not so common now)
* ice-cream at Fanny's by Hoan Kiem
* walking around Hoan Kiem early in the morning to see the groups of women exercising with fans, swords, etc.
* visiting the amazing ethnology museum
* trying the food in outdoor restaurants
* taking a daytrip on a boat down the the Red River that included a leisurely lunch on board the boat and a long bicycle ride on-shore at one point
* browsing in the shops in the guild quarter.

I know that museums don't appeal to your 10 year old, but the extraordinary Ethnology Museum has life-sized exhibits that should appeal to a child her age. She would probably like scampering in and out of the wonderful, enormous house models on the property as well.

I love the Women's Museum and it should be even more meaningful to the two of you.

It is very touristy, but my children loved Halong Bay -- the cruising, dining and sleeping on-board, kayaking, exploring the caves.

I wanted to go to the primate recovery center at Cuc Phuong National Park but we didn't get there. I didn't see elephants in Vietnam -- we only saw them in Thailand -- but if your daughter's sensitivities extend to monkeys as well, perhaps you could look into that site.

I wonder if any of the cooking schools would either have a mother-daughter class or if you would want to book a private class. I loved the people at Hidden Hanoi (out by Westlake).

You could have some clothing made.

Those are some top-of-mind ideas. We love Hanoi and advocate spending more time there than many casual tourists give it.
marya_ is offline  
Mar 27th, 2012, 02:11 PM
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marya has given you some great advice. I'm curious about the mention that cyclos are not so prevalent now. We were there exactly a year ago, and they were ubitquitous!! (Also, note that the ice cream at Fanny's is just so-so (I can get way better ice cream here at home), and it's expensive for Hanoi, so be prepared if you decide to try it). We also loved the Museum of Ethnology, and the Ho Chi Minh home and mausoleum.
sf7307 is offline  
Mar 27th, 2012, 02:12 PM
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Oh, and make time for some of the food markets!
sf7307 is offline  
Mar 27th, 2012, 03:28 PM
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Sf7307, I agree with you about the quality of ice cream at Fanny's but I included it for 2 reasons.

First, it is fun to try some of the local flavors -- durian ice cream anyone? cinnamon-flavored? -- and it is served with a bit of a flourish that might appeal to a 10 years old -- brightly-colored paper parasol, flower, and a glass of water. Second, Fanny's is a bright and cheery lake-side shop with lots of tables that attracts (in my experience) groups of young teen-aged girls among its clientele. I thought that sitting there would be fun for Julia since youngsters her age tend to be very keyed into what older kids are doing.

Good to hear about the cyclos. There seemed to be fewer of them when I was there 13 months ago than I had seen on past trips. The business has dried up in areas of Saigon and someone told me they were paring back in Hanoi as well. Maybe not. Hope not. The guild quarter seems so well suited to them. If only there were a way to cut back on the number of noisy motorized vehicles in that part of town.

We too were fascinated by the visit to Ho Chi Minh's body. The very strict behavioral protocols associated with the visit made quite an impression on us: no hands in pockets, no talking, don't hover too close to the person in line in front of you (even if that person is your minor child who might be a little edgy about what was going to be on view). I thought that a 10 year old might not cotton to the experience so I left it off the list, but I do very much recommend the visit to adults.
marya_ is offline  
Mar 27th, 2012, 07:04 PM
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Marya, I agree 100% with everything you've said! I have nothing to compare cyclo numbers too - there just seemed to be plenty of them in Hanoi!
sf7307 is offline  
Mar 27th, 2012, 07:59 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 282
What a wonderful trip for your daughter and you!

You might look into doing a short food or other tour with Hanoi Kids. Its completely free (they don't accept tips but will accept meals or snacks with you) and it might be nice for your daughter to meet a young woman in a relaxed setting. Our Hanoi Kid took us around the Lake and to the Temple of Literature and we peppered her with questions about local life and education for hours and she was very patient.
kuluk is offline  
Mar 27th, 2012, 11:30 PM
Join Date: May 2004
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All great suggestions above. I would add Ba Be Lakes a beautiful area north of Hanoi. A long tail boat trip along the lake system takes you through small villages, caves etc. We stayed in a home stay with a local family which would be an adventure in itself for a 10 year old. a taste of real Vietnamese rural life. Some of our photos:


Another option a little close to Hanoi is the Mai Chau valley. Again a homestay would be the best way of visiting although there are is more conventional tourist accomdataion at Mai Chau Lodge. Again, very rural but extremely picturesque with loads to see and do. The people are extremely welcoming and there were some children styaing when we were there who seemed to be having a great time playing with the local kids.

crellston is offline  
Mar 28th, 2012, 09:29 AM
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Thank you so much everyone for these great ideas.
juliasmom is offline  
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