real life

The one thing I didn't expect to happen on our trip to Vietnam.

By BERN MORLEY.

Don’t get me wrong, all five of us had sat down and poured over the Intrepid Travel website when we learned where we were going and studied the itinerary intently, trying to imagine what it was going to be like to sleep on an overnight train and how much Dong we’d need to stuff our bellies full of fried rice and spring rolls (about a dollar btw). We weren’t however, imagining it could lead to something that money couldn’t buy – long lasting friendships with some bloody fantastic people.

Perhaps we just got lucky. Perhaps it was pure fate that there was another 13 year old girl in the group for my daughter to hang out with. Maybe having another little guy there, just like my Sam, was again, pure coincidence. Maybe we just got lucky but I don’t think so. I think the fact that each and every person in our tour group had at least one child meant that we were always going to find like-minded people. If the boys weren’t as attentive to the tour guide at the War Museum when all they could see ahead of them was a massive Vintage Fighter Jet, our travelling companions completely understood when they could no longer contain themselves and fled off to investigate. When they fell asleep on our laps at dinner, absolutely exhausted, these lovely travelling companions offered to help carry them back home over their shoulders. We were all quite simply, there for the same reason, to explore and experience Vietnam as a family. This is why our already incredible trip, became amazing.

But wait, I digress – the actual holiday!

I was lucky enough to explore Vietnam with my husband and three children. This trip in particular is recommended for children 12+ and I would say that Intrepid Travel are spot on with this recommendation. Not to say that Sam (11) and Jack (6) didn’t have a great time, but spiritually and overall, I think the older ones benefit more. Vietnam is a dream to get around though, regardless of age.

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Our adventure to Vietnam was for 14 days. You can see the exact itinerary HERE. I say adventure and not holiday because when you are riding water buffalos through rice paddies and kayaking through ancient caves, you aren’t exactly taking it easy.

But where do I begin to tell you about experiencing Vietnam as not only a novice, but as an uninitiated family of five? Should I start with the startling and wondrous sights? The alarmingly chaotic, often beautiful yet occasionally heartbreaking landscape? The history lesson you suddenly want to be a part of? The beeping, the silence, the smell of the grand and the garish or just by simply telling you about what Vietnam really was – a stunning, generous country whose people were forever going above and beyond to make us feel welcome and safe. As one man told me in his beautiful broken English “We want you to come back in Vietnam.” And come back we will.

 

We’d love to get your thoughts on these questions below about travel and travelling as a family, and as a thanks for your time Intrepid Travel are going to give every reader who responds a $100 discount off their next Intrepid Travel Family Adventure. Take the survey HERE.

 

Your sense of adventure doesn’t disappear just because you have kids, so why should your family holiday destinations be limited to the ‘usual suspects’? On an Intrepid Family Adventure you and your kids will encounter plenty of real life experiences along the way – anything from riding a tuk-tuk in Bangkok, playing football with the Maasai in Kenya or sailing down the Nile in a felucca. Whatever it is, learning and exploring in the real world opens eyes and minds in a way the virtual world never can.

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 Have you ever made long lasting friendships in unexpected places or situations?

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