Traveling with kids can be both rewarding and challenging, but when you choose the right destinations, it can become an unforgettable family adventure. Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand offer a perfect blend of rich history, captivating culture, and exciting activities for travelers of all ages, including children. And we are looking forward to it.
So why 18 days in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand?
Source: Wikipedia (Siem Reap)
We think 18 days is the perfect length to explore these three Southeast Asia countries. Of course, you could spend a lifetime in each of these countries and yet have a lot to see and do. If you can do longer, by all means, do explore more!
Here is an idea of what you could do in 18 days in Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam, if you have limited time like us. Feel free to make adjustments based on your time and interests! I may end up not doing everything on our list, but at least we have a good framework to start with.
You already know exploring Southeast Asia with kids can be an exciting and educational journey. Cambodia, Vietnam, and Thailand offer a fantastic mix of rich history, diverse cultures, and thrilling experiences for travelers of all ages. Whether you’re planning a family trip during Christmas or any other time of the year like Spring Break, these destinations have something for everyone. While 18 days may seem like a long time (or not), it’s just enough to scratch the surface of these incredible countries.
I will also discuss what to do with kids in Cambodia, what to do with kids in Thailand, and what to do with kids in Vietnam to ensure that your family has an unforgettable experience while visiting these beautiful countries, just like we plan to! If you have visited any of these gorgeous places, I would love to hear from you! Also, did you make all travel arrangements yourself or did you work with a tour operator? Just curious…
Day 1-3: Siem Reap, Cambodia
Day 1: Your family adventure begins in Siem Reap, Cambodia, a perfect itinerary for Cambodia. After settling into your accommodation, consider visiting the Angkor National Museum, where kids can gain insight into the history and culture of the Angkor region. Start with a relaxed introduction to Cambodia’s rich heritage and hopefully, explore what to do with kids in Cambodia.
Day 2: Rise early to watch the sunrise at Angkor Wat, a captivating experience for kids and adults alike. Spend the day exploring Angkor Thom, where children can climb the terraces of the Bayon Temple and count its serene stone faces. Don’t forget to visit Ta Prohm, where enormous tree roots create a real-life jungle adventure. Discover other things do with kids in Cambodia by immersing them in its ancient wonders!
Day 3: Continue your temple exploration by visiting Banteay Srei, known as the “Citadel of Women” due to its fine, pink sandstone carvings – an ideal itinerary for Cambodia that combines history and art. In the afternoon, consider a visit to Banteay Samre, an underrated gem with well-preserved architecture. For the evening, immerse your family in Siem Reap’s nightlife, with options ranging from cultural dance performances to vibrant bars and restaurants.
Day 4-6: Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Day 4: Travel to Phnom Penh by bus or flight and check into your hotel. In the evening, take a stroll along Sisowath Quay, enjoying the Mekong River views and the bustling atmosphere, and experience the city’s vibe.
Day 5: A visit to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum provides a sobering look into Cambodia’s dark past during the Khmer Rouge regime, a perfect itinerary for Cambodia that combines education with remembrance. While some details may be sensitive for children, it’s an opportunity for them to learn about history and empathy.
Follow this with a trip to the Choeung Ek Killing Fields, where your family can learn more about the atrocities committed during that period. In the afternoon, explore Wat Phnom, a peaceful temple atop a small hill in the city. This adult and kids activity combines learning and reflection and is considered one of the best things to do with kids in Cambodia.
Day 6: Take a boat ride to Silk Island (Koh Dach), a serene escape from the city, a perfect itinerary for Cambodia that provides a glimpse into rural life. Engage your kids in learning about the traditional silk weaving process, allowing them to interact with local artisans and even try their hand at weaving. This experience offers a deeper understanding of Cambodian culture and supports local communities. Engage your kids in cultural immersion as you keep exploring the best things to do with kids in Cambodia.
Day 7-9: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Day 7: Cross the border into Vietnam and arrive in Ho Chi Minh City, a bustling metropolis. In the evening, explore the vibrant streets of District 1, where you can find an array of dining options, from street food vendors to upscale restaurants. Let your kids sample Vietnamese cuisine and explore the local flavors. This is a great activity to do with kids in Vietnam as they learn to explore and appreciate diverse culinary.
Day 8: A visit to the Cu Chi Tunnels is a must to understand the resilience of the Vietnamese people during the Vietnam War, another great activity for Vietnam. Your children can crawl through a section of the tunnels and learn about the ingenious guerrilla warfare tactics. In the afternoon, explore the historic Reunification Palace, a symbol of Vietnam’s reunification, and one of the easy things to do in Vietnam with kids.
Day 9: Venture into Cho Lon, the city’s bustling Chinatown, and immerse your family in a different cultural atmosphere. Explore the bustling markets, including Binh Tay Market, where your family can shop for souvenirs and sample local street food. Don’t forget to visit the Jade Emperor Pagoda, a stunning Taoist temple filled with intricate carvings and sculptures, and one of the best things to do in Vietnam, kids and adults.
Day 10-12: Hanoi, Vietnam
Day 10: Fly to Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital, and soak in the charming atmosphere of the Old Quarter. Start at Hoan Kiem Lake, where you can visit Ngoc Son Temple. In the evening, enjoy a cyclo (cycle rickshaw) ride through the narrow, bustling streets, sampling street food along the way. Discover what to do with kids in Vietnam by exploring its capital city.
Day 11: Explore the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Complex, which includes Ho Chi Minh’s stilt house and the One Pillar Pagoda, that offers insights into the nation’s history and culture. Visit the Temple of Literature, Vietnam’s first university, and take time to explore its peaceful gardens. In the evening, consider watching a traditional water puppet show for a unique cultural experience, one of the best things to do in Vietnam with kids.
Day 12: Take a day trip to Halong Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its stunning karst limestone formations, a perfect itinerary for Vietnam and a natural wonder that will awe your children. A cruise through the emerald waters offers opportunities to explore caves, kayak, and swim. Spend the night aboard a traditional junk boat to fully appreciate the beauty of the bay, one of the best things to do in Vietnam with kids.
Day 13-15: Hoi An, Vietnam
Day 13: Return to Hanoi and catch a flight to Da Nang. From Da Nang, transfer to the picturesque town of Hoi An, a perfect itinerary for Vietnam and a charming destination that is sure to captivate your family. The ancient town comes alive in the evening when streets are adorned with colorful lanterns. Take a lantern-making class or enjoy a relaxing evening by the Thu Bon River. Explore the best things to do in Vietnam with kids in this enchanting town.
Day 14: Explore Hoi An’s well-preserved ancient streets, visiting the Japanese Covered Bridge, a symbol of the town, and one of the best things to do in Vietnam with kids. The Assembly Hall of the Cantonese Chinese Congregation and the Old House of Tan Ky provide insight into Hoi An’s cultural heritage. In the afternoon, you can choose to take a cycling tour to the countryside or relax on the nearby An Bang Beach.
Day 15: Take a day trip to My Son Sanctuary, a UNESCO World Heritage Site housing ancient Hindu temples and ruins, a unique itinerary for Vietnam that combines history and exploration. Your family will appreciate the historical and cultural significance of these centuries-old structures. Alternatively, spend the day on An Bang Beach, enjoying the sun, sea, and seafood, one of the best things to do in Vietnam with kids.
Day 16-18: Bangkok, Thailand
Day 16: Fly to Bangkok, Thailand’s vibrant capital, and start with a visit to the Grand Palace, an architectural masterpiece with its dazzling Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha). Explore the neighboring streets and try some traditional Thai dishes from street vendors. Allow your kids to try new tastes and flavors in Thailand.
Day 17: The Jim Thompson House provides a glimpse into Thai art, culture, and history. Afterward, take a boat ride along the Chao Phraya River, passing by iconic landmarks like Wat Arun and Wat Pho. In the evening, explore local markets like Asiatique or Chatuchak Weekend Market for shopping and street food, a perfect itinerary for Thailand. Involve your children in the shopping experience and explore the best things to do with kids in Thailand.
Day 18: Depending on your family’s interests and departure time, you can explore more of Bangkok’s family-friendly attractions, such as the Siam Ocean World, Dusit Zoo, or KidZania, making it a great family fun activity. Alternatively, embark on a day trip to the nearby Safari World or Dream World amusement park for a day of fun and excitement, one of the best things to do with kids in Thailand.
Traveling with kids can be an enriching experience, and these 18 days exploring Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand offer a perfect blend of adventure, education, and cultural immersion. From marveling at ancient temples to engaging in family-friendly activities and savoring delicious cuisine, these activities will create lasting memories for your family while broadening your children’s horizons.