Tourist’s guide to Haiphong – a major port and industrial city of Vietnam

The city of Hai Phong (Vietnam) is considered the third largest and most populous Vietnamese city – it is ahead of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. According to statistics, in December 2015, Haiphong was inhabited by 2,103,500 people, most of whom are Vietnamese, although there are also Chinese and Koreans.

Haiphong City, Vietnam

Hai Phong, located in the northern part of Vietnam, is a significant center for economic, cultural, scientific, educational, commercial and industrial development. This city is a transport center in which highways, waterways and railways converge. Haiphong Port is a maritime transport hub of the northern region of the state.

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Hai Phong Port System

Haiphong Seaport, Vietnam

Hai Phong is located on the banks of the Kam River, and for many centuries it remained the most important waterway along which goods were transported to the northern part of the country. The port and several commercial and industrial enterprises determine the economy of a modern city.

Hai Phong and Saigon are the two largest ports in Vietnam

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Top view of the port

Haiphong is a complex association of state-level ports of importance. It has a strategic position, as it is located at the passage of sea routes that connect the northern part of Vietnam with the whole world. The French colonists who rebuilt Haiphong in the 19th and 20th centuries made it not just a trading city, but a famous Pacific port.

Haiphong port at the very beginning of the twentieth century had strong ties with many large ports of Asia, North America, the North European seas, the coasts of the Indian and Atlantic oceans, as well as with the shores of the Mediterranean Sea.

Binh Ferry Terminal, Haiphong
Binh Ferry Terminal

In Hai Phong is located not only the seaport – there are also marinas for various purposes (35 in total). Among them are shipyards, berths for receiving and transporting liquefied products (gasoline, oil), as well as the river ports of Sozau and Vatkat for ships with a small displacement of 1-2 tons.

The most interesting sights of Hai Phong

The photo shows a huge number of motorcyclists in Haiphong

Haiphong is a city with tremendous tourism potential. It resembles Hanoi from 10-15 years ago. A huge number of cyclists and motorcyclists travel around here, and on three-linear boulevards one can find houses with typical colonial architecture.

Largely due to architectural forms, this small and very comfortable town managed to maintain a touch of antiquity. Walking around the old part of the city and enjoying its amazing atmosphere is a must!

Nghe Temple, Haiphong

Hai Phong is also notable for the fact that it is an ideal starting point for a trip to many sea resorts, which are especially popular: Halong Bay, Cat Ba Island, Baytulong Bay. In this clean, cozy city, you can stay a few days before you start exploring northern Vietnam – fortunately, a large number of different routes (buses, boats, trains) make traveling from this area economical and easy.

Haiphong is a resort in which relaxation can be combined with visits to interesting sights. Among the most famous attractions of Haiphong Opera House, Du Hang Pagoda, Nghe Temple, Cat Ba Island Park, Hang Kenh.

Cat Ba National Park

Information poster at the entrance to Kat Ba Park in Haiphong

Cat Ba Park, located at a distance of 50 km from Haiphong, is the largest and most often visited island by tourists in the bays of Lan Ha and Halong. This Vietnamese National Park has been recognized by UNESCO as the “World Biosphere Reserve”.

Tourists flock to Cat Ba for its pristine beaches and green forests. But it is also home to 15 species of the rarest mammals on earth. The park is located on the main migratory route of many waterfowl, so they often build their nests among the mangroves and on the beaches of Cat Ba.

Beach at Kat Ba Park

There are 2 caves on the territory of Cat Ba Park, which tourists are allowed to enter. The first of them has retained its natural appearance, while the second has a historical past – during the Vietnam War, it housed a secret hospital.

When to visit Cat Ba

You can visit Cat Ba Island all year long. From December to March, when the weather is cooler, there are very few tourists on this island. It is during this period that the park becomes the ideal holiday destination for those travelers who wish to enjoy the peace and beauty of the wild.

As for the time from April to August, the park is overwhelmed by tourists from Vietnam. The local population has a period of holidays and school holidays then and Cat Ba is a prime holiday spot.

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Buddhist Pagoda Du Hang

Buddhist Pagoda Du Hang in Haiphong

Just 2 km from the center of Haiphong, there is a Buddhist temple complex – on its premises stands the Du Hang Pagoda. It is one of the oldest in Vietnam, as it was built by representatives of the Ly dynasty, who ruled from 980 to 1009 AD.

Although this structure has been redesigned several times since its inception, it has remained an excellent example of traditional Vietnamese temple architecture. The pagoda is three-tiered, on each tier there is a roof made of tiles with curved edges.

The most valuable thing for Buddhists is stored in Du Hang – a collection of prayers “Trang A Ham”.

On the territory of the Buddhist temple complex Du Hang

There are other sights nearby the pagoda: the bell tower, various statues of mythical creatures, and Buddha sculptures. There is also a beautiful garden with a huge collection of dwarf trees growing in pots, and a small reservoir with fish and turtles. The attraction is open for visiting all year round.

By the way, among the collections of Haiphong photos, the pictures of this particular historical structure usually look the most attractive and original.

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Opera House and Theater Square

Opera House in Haiphong

In the central part of Hai Phong, on Theater Square, there is a unique building that has several names: Municipal theater, Opera, Bolshoi Theater.

Previously, this place was reserved for the market, but the French colonial authorities removed it and built a theater in 1904-1912. Absolutely all the materials for the construction were imported from France.

In the hall of the Opera House in Haiphong

The architecture of the theater is in the neoclassical style, and the design is an exact copy of the design of the Garnier Palace, located in Paris. The construction hall is designed for 400 people.

Initially, only the French were visitors to the theater, but after they left Vietnam, everything changed. The repertoire of performances became larger: in addition to the classical opera, they included a national opera and musical performances. There are also concerts in this building where classical and pop music of Vietnam is performed.

All the main holidays of the city of Hai Phong (Vietnam) are organized by local authorities on Theater Square, next to the Municipal Theater.

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Haiphong