Sydney to Vietnam… with kids in tow

posted in: Asia, Vietnam | 3


The Journey. 3.12.2010

By Katrina Griffiths

Yay, we’re here! Wow what a trip, up at the crack of dawn to arrive at the airport at 6am, on time and unstressed. The children were marvellous. Let me introduce myself… I’m Katrina, in a hotel room in Hanoi with my 13-month-old baby, whom I shall name Ballistic Baby. My husband, Griff is in the hotel room next door with our other 3 girls. We have to book two rooms wherever we go.

I’m going to share some of the adventures we have while travelling around Vietnam. For practical purposes, I will refer to the four girls by their anagram, Abie.

The Flight

I am really surprised at how easy it was on the flight! Nine hours from Sydney to Bangkok where we had a stopover for 4 hours. I’m not saying it was relaxing—the demands of the children which were constant, and of course Ballistic Baby needing to run up and down the aisles and personally greet everybody on the way, whether they were sleeping or not—however, overall the trip was good.

A few things that helped:

1. Fly with a nice colourful airline with pretty interiors like Thai airways. The girls thought it was reeeeeeeally nice. Also, the cabin crew wore lovely uniforms and were incredibly polite and looked pretty. (Remember, I’m travelling with girls. These things are important.) They seem to really genuinely love children too.

2. Time consuming art and craft activities. Our girls made stained glass glittery window decorations (hee hee can you believe it!). Dreadful mess, but so what! It kept them busy for a long time.

3. No lollies.

Airlines have really cracked in-flight entertainment for kids, with great movies and games. But, why has nobody thought to have a small play area? I’m not talking anything grand, but how bout some of those games that you find on the walls in the parents rooms at shopping centres? All the really young kids seem to hang out in the aisles anyway, so wouldn’t it be easier and safer to simply take them to a small area designated for toddlers and tots?

We had all the usual accidents—orange juice spillages, water spillages, food spillages etc—but I’d packed a change of clothes for the girls, so everyone was fresh. (I’ll remember a change of clothes for myself next time. I turned up in Hanoi looking like I’d had a food fight with myself.)

Great for kids!

Bangkok international airport—It has great spaces for running! Abie ran and ran and ran, without bothering anyone because there is just so much space. They ran themselves ragged and in the last leg of our journey, the flight from Bangkok to Hanoi, they all ate dinner and fell into a deep sleep.

That is, all of them except Ballistic Baby who wanted to carry on running, up and down the aisles…

Not so great for kids!

Hanoi international airport. It took about an hour to get through immigration. There were no seats to plonk our very sleepy girls on, so they just lay on the floor, which was filthy. They then slept all the way to the hotel, and were carried straight up to bed by the wonderful concierge at the Luxor Hotel Hanoi. That is, including Ballistic Baby, who was completely zonked.

Finally here!

Thus concludes our 19-hour journey—up at 5am Aussie time, arriving at the hotel at 12am Aussie time. Not too bad, but next time I’ll book our flights early! Last minute flights are always a nightmare if your budget doesn’t allow for top dollar.

PS. I think I will stop calling Ballistic Baby, Ballistic Baby. Just in case I am actually manifesting her maniac behavior, it if you know what I mean. Perhaps I will try Magic Baby. Magic Baby is still sleeping. Bliss…