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Hanoi for Kids

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Hanoi with all its diversity has a number of fun activities to keep kids of all ages happy. Have a read through some of the better options that Hanoi has to offer; a mixture of authentic Vietnam and the familiarity of home.

Ho Tay Lake Wate

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Vietnam Hanoi for Kids Ho Tay Lake Water Park
Ho Tay Lake Water Park

In summer the Ho Tay Lake Water Park is a great place to take the kids. The heat of Hanoi can be draining so it is comforting to know there is a place to relax, cool off and keep the kids happy. The park has an assortment of rides, pools, slides and even water games. It is a big attraction for the locals so if you are all about some fun in the sun then the Water Park is the place to be. Entry is from 30,000-50,000 VND depending on your height. There are snack foods available so it’s easy to make a day out of it.

Things to consider
It is fair to say the conditions are perhaps not up to western standards. The toilets are not the best and even though there are guards on watch I would keep an extra eye on the kids when they are in the water, especially if they are not strong swimmers.

Where
The Water Park sits on the cities West Lake and is about a 15 minute taxi ride from the centre of town.

When
The Park is only open in the hotter months from April to November with operating hours of 9am to 9pm.

Thu Le Park & Hanoi Zoo

The Hanoi Zoo, a small zoo, sits within the boundaries of the vast Thu Le Park. The zoo has a range of monkeys, big cats, birds and reptiles which will keep the kids interested. The animal cages are dotted throughout the park so you can wander around looking at different animals while enjoying the park at the same time.

The surrounding park is a great escape from the busy and polluted streets of Hanoi and you will feel you can breathe easier there. The kids can enjoy the pedal boats around the lake as well as the nearby fun park.

Admission is very cheap at 2,000 VND.

Things to consider
The cages are somewhat smaller than you might be used to, however the animals situations aren’t terrible as you can find in other Asian zoos. The rides in the fun park are quite run down in appearance but they generally look safe.

Where
The Hanoi Zoo & Thu Le Park is around 5km west of the city centre on Bach Thu Le and will take around 10 minutes in a taxi.

When
The Park and Zoo are open daily from before first light to around 10pm at night.

Megastar Complex

The Hanoi cinema is an extremely modern setup showing the latest films in the comfort we are used to back home. This is a great place to take the kids, giving them a break from the streets outside. The complex shows all the films in English with Vietnamese subtitles. There is the option of 2D and 3D viewing for some films and also plenty of drinks and snacks to choose from.

Prices are between 40,000-80,000 VND and for the quality you receive the cost is more than reasonable. Check the website for discount days and times if you want to save a few dollars. On the 5th floor of the complex is a massive games arcade which will leave the kids drooling. Before or after the film you can shop and eat in any of the up market shops found throughout the four floors of Vincom City Towers.

Things to consider
It is hard to find a problem here and my only issue is that the Vietnamese have no qualms in having a detailed conversation in the middle of the movie. I wouldn’t let this discourage you, as often there are plenty of free seats, and if they do start chatting away you can easily move to another area of the cinema.

Where
You can find the cinema at 191 Ba Trieu Street on the 4th floor of the Vincom City Towers, only a 5 minute taxi ride heading south from the city centre.

When
For viewing times I suggest you check out the Megastar website http://www.megastarmedia.net/index.aspx?visLang=2 which has an English translation option.

Hanoi Star Bowl

The Hanoi Star Bowl is the cities answer to ten pin bowling and can make for a fun few hours. There are plenty of lanes available as well as a range of snacks and drinks. Downstairs there are a bunch of video games the kids can play if they have had enough of the bowling. The price per game is from 15,000-25,000 VND.

Things to consider
The balls are not in great condition and it is sometimes hard to find the lighter weights which can be a problem for the little ones.

Where
The Hanoi Star Bowl is at 2B Pham Ngoc Trach Street in Dong Da District about 15 minutes by taxi, south west of the city centre.

When
The bowling opens from 10am everyday and closes late at night.

Water Puppet Theatre

If you are looking for something a little more authentic then you can’t go past the water puppet show. You won’t find this form of theatrical art anywhere else in the world so I suggest you add this to the list of musts while in Hanoi.

Tickets cost from 20,000-60,000 VND; a little more if you want to take in a camera.

Things to consider
The shows are very popular and can book out so save disappointment and book in advance.

Where
The best Water Puppet show in town is at 57B Ding Tien Hoang Street on the North-east side of Hoan Kiem Lake. For anyone staying in the Old Quarter you can make your way on foot.

When
Performances take place every day of the week. Starting times are 15:30 PM – 17:00 PM – 18:30 PM – 20:00 PM – 21:15 PM. For more information have a look at their website which has an English translation http://www.thanglongwaterpuppet.org/homepage.asp

Best of the Rest

Hanoi Central Circus: The circus runs Tuesday to Sunday (8-10pm) in a large tent on the northern side of Lenin Park. On Sunday morning at 9am there is a special performance for kids. It is around 40,000 VND per person.

Swan Pedal Boats: As well as Thu Le Park the swan pedal boats can also be found on the southern side of Ho Tay Lake and Truc Bach Lake. Prices are 30,000 VND for 30 minutes and 60,000 VND for one hour.

Fanny Ice Cream: For most kids there isn’t a better attraction than some tasty ice cream. Fanny’s ice cream is located on Le Thai To Street on the south-west side of Hoan Kiem Lake. Prices start from around 15,000 with an abundance of choice available. The first Friday of the month has an all you can eat buffet for 75,000 VND per person.

Filed Under: Featured, Hanoi
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Daniel Harding moved from Sydney to London in 2005 and has since caught the travel bug. He loves discovering new cultures and always appreciates colourful places and people. He hopes he can share a little bit of this passion through his writing.

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