Hai Phong Attractions

What to See in Hai Phong

Hai Phong is, in many visitors’ opinion, the ‘real’ Vietnam and reminds them of Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital many years back and only about two and a half hours away by bus. Hai Phong is also known as a tourist hub and features good hydrofoil and ferry links to Halong Bay, Cat Ba Island and many popular islets nearby. In the past it was an important international seaport and nowadays serves as the country’s fastest-developing industrial city.

Still, it has its share of attractions, such as Du Hang Buddhist Temple, Nghe Temple, Hang Kenh Communal House and the French influenced Municipal Theatre. The popular Do Son Beach casino is only some 20km from Hai Phong. It is a well-liked resort town by domestic tourists, many of whom come to watch the choi trau (Do Son Buffalo-Fighting Festival) which draws a large crowd of no less than 25,000 spectators each year.


Bao Dai Villa

Bao Dai Villa was the summer palace of Bao Dai, Vietnam’s last emperor. Located on top of Vung Hill, the villa was original built in 1928 by the French Governor-General of Indochina who later in 1949 offered it to Bao Dai. The emperor frequently used the villa when he visited this part of Vietnam, especially during summer time. Nowadays the villa is a hotel and guests can enjoy not only the same beautiful views of Do Son Peninsula as the last emperor but also admire the vintage royal family photos as well in their living quarters. One of its main attractions is Bao Dai’s throne. Don’t miss the chance to try on the royal-like costumes and pose for the camera as a special souvenir to bring home.

Opening Hours: All year round
Location: On Vung Hill in Do Son Zone II
Tel: +84 (0) 313 862303

 

Cat Ba Island

Cat Ba is located about 50km to the east of Hai Phong and is the largest and most frequented of the 366 islands in Lan Ha and Ha Long bays. Beaches and tropical green forests are the key attractions that draw people to Cat Ba and it has also been named by UNESCO as a ‘World Biosphere Reserve’. The island is charming, with friendly locals, fresh air, clear water, lots of seafood and many outdoor activities. Most of the islanders still lead a simple way of life and are in harmony with Nature; they were fishermen and farmers long before tourism and newer industries such as shrimp farming arrived.

Cat Ba Island can get very crowded with domestic tourists in April and August and for this reason visitors might want to skip long weekends or school holidays. The island welcomes fewer travelers from December to March as the weather is quite cool and this makes swimming more challenging. But for those who enjoy Nature and peace, Cat Ba is a perfect location to relax at this time of year.

Opening Hours: All year round.
Location: About 50km to the east of Hai Phong (around one hour to get to by hydrofoil).

Do Son Beach

Do Son Beach is situated between the Van Uc and Lach Tray Rivers and 22km from the southwest of Hai Phong City. It was a popular resort town for the French and influential Vietnamese during the colonial days. All three of Do Son’s beaches are popular for swimming, kite flying or sunbathing among many other beach activities. Since it is only a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Hanoi, Do Son gets many Hanoians during weekends.

Known also as the only place in the country with a casino, Do Son is equally famous for its traditional annual Buffalo Festival (usually falling in September or October). There can be as many as 25,000 Vietnamese spectators cheering on the competitors as well as millions of nationwide TV viewers who tune in to see this many centuries old event.

Opening Hours: All year round
Location: In Do Son District, 22km from Hai Phong City

Du Hang Pagoda

Du Hang Buddhist Temple was established in the 17th century under the Ly Dynasty and went through several reconstructions over the years. It features a pagoda, a bell tower, many sophisticated carvings of guardians, Buddha images, lovely gardens with an interesting bonsai collection and some important vintage objects. Bring along some bread if you want to feed the turtles and fishes in a small pond within the compound too. Basically, a ‘dress with respect’ attitude is best when entering any religious sites in Vietnam.

Opening Hours: All year round
Location: 121 Du Hang Street, Du Hang Kenh Ward, Le Chan District

Hang Kenh Communal House

Hang Kenh Communal House (also referred to as Nhan Tho Communal House) is a must-see landmark in Hai Phong and is located in Du Hang Kenh Ward, Le Chan District not far from Du Hang Pagoda. The long and narrow structure was built in 1717 as a communal house of the then Kenh Village and is used as a temple. It’s famous for its remarkable woodwork, including huge ironwood pillars that support the roof. The pavilion also houses many interesting items such as fantastic dragon images and statues (there more than 300 of them). Hang Kenh Communal House is also where many important festivals and religious ceremonies are held each year.

Opening Hours: All year round
Location: In Du Hang Kenh Ward, Le Chan District

Hai Phong Museum

Hai Phong Museum features Gothic-style architecture and was founded around 1900. The items displayed might not be huge in terms of variety but it offers enough inside knowledge about Hai Phong in general and explains the city’s role in ancient times, why it is an important seaport as well as its role in recent wars. Due to its unusual opening hours, the museum attracts fewer visitors than most.

Opening Hours: Tue and Thu from 08:00 – 10:30 and Wed and Sun from 19:30 – 21:30
Location: Hai Phong City

Municipal Theatre and Municipal Theatre Square

The Municipal Theatre or the Great Theatre, is conveniently located in the city centre. The two-story building was constructed in 1904 with a French design. The interior is splendid and is able to seat 400 people while outside the building is more of a modern set up with a big square, a lovely flower garden, water fountains and twinkling lights. Many important events are regularly held here each year.

Opening Hours: The Municipal Theatre doesn’t announce its regular opening hours. It might be wise to ask your hotel tour desk to confirm the opening hours before visiting
Location: In the city centre

Museum of Military Region III

The Museum of Military Region III was founded in 1969, under the Political Bureau of Military Region III. Visitors will see many interesting war exhibitions (including collections of bombs and weapons) showing how throughout history the Vietnamese struggled to defend themselves against various intruders; for example their resistance against French colonialism between1945-1954 and American imperialism between1954-1975.

Opening Hours: 07:30 – 11:00 and 13:00 – 16:00, closed on Sat and Sun
Location: 254 Le Duan Street, Kien An District
Tel: +84 (0) 931 969388

Navy Museum

Hai Phong’s Navy Museum features a large ship adjacent to Rao Bridge on the main road that links Do Son Resort to downtown Hai Phong. This navy museum founded in 1975 displays many interesting articles from its war years.

Opening Hours: Tue, Thu and Sat from 08:00 – 11:00
Location: 353 Street, Anh Dung Commune, Kien Thuy District (opposite the Navy Hotel)
Tel: +84(0) 313 814788

Nghe Temple

Nghe Temple, located not far from the Municipal Theatre, is more than just a religious site. It has strong historical symbolism as it was devoted to Le Chan, the founder of Hai Phong City. Le Chan was a female general who fought the Chinese alongside Vietnamese national heroines, the Trung Sisters in the year 43 AD. The temple started as a small shrine but was later rebuilt and expanded and has long been an important religious site for many local worshipers. One of the most remarkable facets of this place are the stone works. They are outstanding.

Opening Hours: All year round
Location: In Me Linh Ward, Le Chan District (about 600m from the Municipal Theatre towards the southwest.)

Tam Bac Lake and Flower Market (Quán hoa)

Tam Bac Lake is located not far from the old colonial quarter and is a nice place to relax or even go fishing. The trees along the lake banks make the visit a pleasant walk. Visitors will see an interesting flower market or quán hoa at the eastern side of the lake. It was established around 1941 by the French as a small centre selling fresh flowers and is made up of five beautiful arched-roof kiosks. Also within easy walking distance not far from the lake area stands the Le Chan Woman General Statue, the founder of Hai Phong. The brass-cast statue weighs 19 tons – one of a heaviest statues in the country.

Opening Hours: All year round
Location: Tam Bac Lake is below the main market (or cho sat) and the flower kiosks are on the eastern side of the Lake

The Colonial Quarter

Hai Phong suffered during the Vietnam War but it has still managed to keep its own colonial charm as seen along Dien Bien Phu Street and Tran Hung Dao Street. The area is known as the Colonial Quarter and has interesting French-style architecture as well as broad avenues.

Opening Hours: All year
Location: Around Dien Bien Phu Street and Tran Hung Dao Street

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