Haiphong is Vietnam’s third-largest town and a significant port near Hanoi.
Northern Vietnam’s most friendly city center has a beautiful, laid-back air with its tree-lined streets host to a bunch of elegant colonial-era buildings. Caffeine-aficionado bliss, the central area hums with majestic cafes where tables spill out onto the sidewalks – ideal for people watching.
How to reach Haiphong?
If trains are your thing, you can hop onto one of the several trains from Long Bien station in Hanoi and reach the city center’s Haiphong train station. If you like flying, Jetstar and Vietnam Airlines both serve Hai Phong from Cat Bi International Airport. A private car or taxi from Hanoi to Haiphong costs about USD 80 one way.
Tourist Attractions in Haiphong:
This small museum concentrates on the city’s history in a marvellous colonial building, with English translations on displays. The front hall’s taxidermy specimens are creepy, as always, but there are exciting finds from the Viet Khe Tombs and Trang Kenh archaeological sites and some gorgeous ceramic pieces. The museum’s garden harbors a distinct collection of war detritus.
With a facade decorated with white columns, Haiphong’s neoclassical Opera House dates from the early-1900s. It’s usually not permitted to explore the interior, but come in the evening, and you can see the locals who dress up and pose for pictures out front.
Queen of the Rosary Cathedral
Haiphong’s opulent Roman Catholic cathedral was built in the 19th century and restored in 2010. The construction’s grey towers are a local landmark, though the interior is relatively straightforward.
Du Hang Pagoda
Du Hang Pagoda was built three centuries ago. It’s been restored several times but remains a fine specimen of traditional Vietnamese sculpture and architecture, chock-a-block with jade dragons, golden Buddhas, and sly bonsai. The pagoda is located around 1.5km southwest of Haiphong’s central street, P Dien Bien Phu.
Things to do in Haiphong
- Drive for around 40 minutes and spend time at Cat Ba island. This is an ideal place if you love water-sports and want to explore swimming or diving. There are three famous beaches for swimming frequented by many visitors because of the seascape and crystal clear water.
- While we all accept that Hai Phong is not as colorful as Hanoi, there is something unique about this place that makes it irresistible. The best way to discover these unique roads is by hiring a cycle and going around “Tay City,” or locally known as Pho Tay. Don’t forget to take the path from Hai Phong Opera House Theatre to Lac Long bridge and Tam Bac bank and snap photos when entering the Pre-Historic Village near Binh Ferry.
- The feminist in you will smile when you visit the Nghe Temple, which is much more than a site of worship and has a strong story attached to it. It was constructed in devotion to the patron of Hai Phong City, Le Chan. She was an exceptional individual who fought the war against China. She is a Vietnamese heroine, along with other female soldiers. A small shrine was initially rebuilt and expanded into a beautiful site for many local worshippers.
What to eat in Haiphong?
Being a coastal town, Hai Phong is known for another thing – the yummy seafood!
Here is a list of four must-try dishes in Haiphong:
- “bánh bèo”- an off-white cake made from rice, filled with seafood/meat and eaten together with a secret sauce.
- “bánh đa cua”- a variety of noodle soup with crab, seafood, and other popular Vietnamese ingredients- really delicious, try once, and you can’t forget!
- “bún tôm”- a unique variety of noodle soup, with shrimp
- “chè bưởi”- sweetened porridge, made of glutinous rice, beans, and grapefruit, often added with dry-salted coconut slices and coconut sauce.