Vietnam shines in Southeast Asia for its natural beauty and incredible history. With 95 million people in a land area smaller than Germany, it’s a densely populated country.
Hai Phong is the third most populous city in Vietnam. The city lies on the northern coast just 74 miles from the nation’s capital, Hanoi, and is located on the popular tourist route of Hanoi to Hai Phong and Halong Bay. It has an important port, railway, airport, and highway connections that link it with the rest of the county.
There are many sites in the city to commemorate the Vietnamese struggle against Chinese invasions. There are also no shortage of shrines and royal buildings from ancient dynasties that once ruled the area. Of the many religious sites in the city, temples such as Ma Lang, Go Gao, and Bien Tuong are the most visited.
If you prefer to see Vietnamese nature, then there are two popular destinations near the city: the Do Son Peninsula and the Cat Ba Biosphere Reserve.
Here are the 18 best things to do in Hai Phong
- 15 Best Things to Do in Hai Phong
- Where to Stay in Hai Phong
- Is Hai Phong Worth a Visit?
15 Best Things to Do in Hai Phong
Du Hang Pagoda
The Du Hang Pagoda is located at 121 Du Hang Street in the Chan district of the city. It is an architectural gem and one of the busiest tourist attractions in Hai Phong.
The pagoda was built during the Ly dynasty in the 17th century; the building was renovated by an imperial protective officer who resigned to become a monk. In 1899 another monk named Hanh expanded and added the famous bell tower.
The pagoda today is the result of these improvements. It is also home to engraved statues from past dynasties and other treasures such as gongs and bronze art.
Hai Phong Museum
Built in 1919 and formerly used as the headquarters of a French bank, the Hai Phong Museum now displays artifacts and information about Hai Phong city from prehistoric times to the present with a particular focus on the wars against China. The museum stands out for its red-orange color typical of a clay-based structure.
The museum opening hours are somewhat inconvenient, so you will encounter fewer tourists and local visitors than at other attractions. Tuesday through Friday the museum is open from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and again from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. On Saturday and Sunday, the museum is open only from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. It is closed on Monday.
Hai Phong Beaches
No tourist should visit the city without spending a quality day on the beach of Cat Ba Island; it is one of the most visited in the region by visitors and locals alike.
Cat Ba is the largest of an impressive archipelago with 367 islands. The archipelago stands out for its blue tones, vibrant nature, and mild and sunny climate with temperatures averaging 77 degrees.
It is the perfect spot for scuba diving and swimming with a group of friends. Many tourists frequent its three famous beaches for swimming due to the calm waters and tranquil coastal landscape. Make sure to visit this island (or one nearby) and enjoy the natural wonders.
Another great beach destination is Do Son, a coastal town in Hai Phong Province. It was a well-known tourist city during the French colonial era, and today it has many hotels and resorts with ocean views that will make your stay a pleasant one. I suggest that you make your reservations in advance as hotels are often fully booked.
Hai Phong Opera House
One of the best things to do in Hai Phong is to see a show at the French-built opera house, which is located conveniently in the city center.
The impressive two-story building was built in 1904 and inspired by French neoclassical architecture. It has an impressive interior and can entertain approximately 400 spectators. The opera house is adorned with flower gardens and fountains.
Bike Through Old Town
Hai Phong is a quieter city; there is not as much movement as in other cities like Hanoi. The slower pace gives the city a charming vibe that makes it a favorite with tourists. Take advantage of the laidback atmosphere on a tour of the city.
One of the best routes starts from the opera house, follows Lac Long Bridge, goes around Tam Bac River Bank, and finishes at the old town near Binh Ferry. Stop to visit the cathedral or enjoy a cup of coffee from a street vendor while you watch the daily life of locals.
Finally, do not miss the sunset on the Tam Bac River; you will then understand why Hai Phong is a favorite of those seeking serenity and tranquility.
Before leaving Hai Phong make sure to visit one of the temples and give thanks. I recommend the Nghe Temple. The site has a lot of history, making it more than a chapel to pray. It was built in honor of one of the city founders, Le Chan, who fought in the war against the Chinese Empire and was recognized as a Vietnamese hero among other female soldiers.
Initially, it was a very simple and small shrine. Over time it was expanded and became an important place for local followers. You can find this sanctuary in the Le Chan district.
Hai Phong Restaurants
Hai Phong is renowned for its cuisine, especially the great variety of fresh seafood afforded by its coastal location. There’s plenty of restaurants to visit. Of all the local dishes to try, one of the most famous is Banh Da Cua, or crab noodle soup. The noodle dish is filled with crab, spinach, onion, and other vegetables.
If you don’t have a big budget for food, pass on the elegant restaurants and take advantage of the numerous street food stalls.
If you’re a foodie, you’ll probably enjoy this food tour of Hai Phong!
Trang Kenh, a village outside Hai Phong, has a beautiful mountainous landscape. The village has a long history and is filled with archaeological wonders. There are natural stone caves, hills, and rivers worthy of a postcard; it is the perfect place for photographers.
Hai Phong Train Station
Hai Phong Train Station is a beautiful French neoclassical building that opened in 1902 that continues to serve the city. If you travel into the city by train from Hanoi it will be your point of entry.
There’s plenty of historic train stations in Vietnam, another historic one can be found in Da Lat pictured above.
Statue of General Le Chan
This bronze statue measures approximately 26 feet high; it honors the memory of General Le Chan, an essential figure in the war against the Mongols and one of the city founders.
Hai Phong Post Office
The Hai Phong Post Office was built in 1902 in the same neoclassical style as most of the important buildings of the time. The first telephone line in the city of Hai Phong was installed in this post office.
The building was opened by the French, similar to the post office in Saigon pictured above.
Hai Phong Exhibition Center
Called the Canh Dieu International Exhibition Center, the building is very modern and is said to resemble the Sydney Opera House.
Hai Phong Port
Hai Phong Port is the largest and most influential in northern Vietnam, with huge freighters and containers full of goods. It is worth a visit to see the beautiful Hai Phong harbor bridge, Binh Bridge.
Nguyen Du Park
Nguyen Du Park has the most impressive gardens in Hai Phong. Don’t forget to stop by with your favorite book and enjoy the tranquility of the area.
Loving the ambiance of the park? You can stay in one of the villas during your visit.
Bach Dang River
Bach Dang River meanders through the city. A night walk around the river comes highly recommended. As you walk riverside you can enjoy the dancing city lights.
See this boat tour along the river to relax and take in the beautiful views.
Where to Stay in Hai Phong
Looking for where to stay in Hai Phong? Check out these hotels located in Hai Phong.
Is Hai Phong Worth a Visit?
Hai Phong may not be as busy as other Vietnamese cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh, but there is plenty to do for every type of tourist. Whether you would enjoy relaxing on a beach or taking a tour through the city, Hai Phong has you covered.
Last Updated on January 30, 2023