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My partner and I have done quite a bit of travel with each other over the last few years and are now expecting a baby. We realise that we probably won't be able to travel in the same way that we have in the past, but we're still keen to keep to dream alive so to speak.

I've always wanted to go to Vietnam after being a bit disappointed with the overly touristy Thailand, so I'm trying to plan a family holiday there.

I think the easiest way to do it would be to rent a house / villa (potentially with another couple and child) and use that as our base to do day trips or overnight stays at nearby places.

I'm particularly interested in the cuisine and would love to be somewhere within walking distance to local markets to buy fresh produce / seafood as well as sample the street food. We'd probably be looking at going for around 2 weeks so other attractions like beaches, walking, etc would be great to have handy too.

Can anyone make any recommendations about child friendly, safe places to Vietnam that I might be able to do this?

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When I first visited Vietnam in 1999 or 2000 it was "underly touristy" compared to Thailand, the people were wonderful and apart from taxi drivers we never had the impression people were trying to rip us off. However reports I've heard from others more recently have insisted that Vietnam is now much worse than Thailand in this respect )-: Everybody agrees that the most chill place in the area is Laos, where I have not been personally. –  hippietrail Sep 20 '11 at 13:33
    
I've heard that about Laos, but I'm kinda set on Vietnam for it's food! I will look into flights though to see if there is much difference. –  Caps Sep 20 '11 at 15:17
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up vote 9 down vote accepted

I did feel that major cities in Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh, Ha Noi) felt touristy, but considerably less compared to Thailand. Bag-snatching is somewhat common in the nightlife areas in Ho Chi Minh City but otherwise I didn't feel unsafe in any cities I visited.

While I haven't been there, Ha Long Bay is particularly well-known for its beauty and there are enough islands to keep away from the tourists who come there. It's also within 2 / 4 hours drive of Hai Phong / Ha Noi (respectively), which may be an issue if you need medical facilities as in your case you mentioned you're expecting a baby.

You could also consider Cambodia and Laos. They share a very similar culture to Vietnam, and even major cities (Phnom Penh, Siem Reap...) are much less touristy than most places in Thailand and Vietnam.

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