Many of the best things to do in Hai Phong are historical and cultural in nature as it is, in many visitors’ opinion, the ‘real’ Vietnam. It reminds them of Hanoi many years back, despite the fact that it's only about 2.5 hours away by bus. Hai Phong is also known as a tourist hub and features good hydrofoil and ferry links to Ha Long 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.

    Hai Phong has a good selection of attractions, such as Du Hang Buddhist Temple, Nghe Temple, Hang Kenh Communal House and the French-influenced Municipal Theatre. There are popular casinos only some 20 km from Hai Phong. It's a well-liked resort town among domestic travellers, particularly for its unique local festivals.

    What are the best things to do in Hai Phong?


    Cat Ba Island

    • Families

    Cat Ba Island is about 50 km to the east of Hai Phong and is the largest and most frequented of the 366 islands in the 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 life and are in harmony with nature – they were fishermen and farmers long before tourism and industries such as shrimp farming arrived only later.

    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 travellers 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.


    Du Hang Pagoda

    • History

    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. 

    On a visit to Du Hang Pagoda, you can bring along some bread if you want to feed the turtles and fishes in a small pond within the compound.

    Location: 121 Dư Hàng, Hồ Nam, Lê Chân, Hải Phòng 180000, Vietnam


    photo by HoangTuanAnh (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified


    Haiphong Opera House

    • Nightlife

    Haiphong Opera House is a landmark conveniently located in the city centre of Hai Phong. The 2-storey building was constructed in 1904 with a French design. Nowadays, many important events are held here each year.

    The opera house's interior is splendid and is able to seat 400 people. Outside the building, it is more of a modern setup, with a big square, a lovely flower garden, water fountains and twinkling lights.

    Location: 28 Trần Hưng Đạo, Hoàng Văn Thụ, Hồng Bàng, Hải Phòng, Vietnam

    Phone: +84 (0)225 3745 799


    Bao Dai Villa

    • History

    Bao Dai Villa was the summer palace of Vietnam’s last emperor. Located on top of Vung Hill, the villa was originally built in 1928 by the French Governor-General of Indochina, who offered it to Emperor Bao Dai in 1949. The emperor frequently used the villa when he visited this part of Vietnam, especially during summer. 

    Nowadays, the villa is where 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 in their living quarters. One of its main attractions is Bao Dai’s throne. Don’t miss the chance to try on the regal costumes and pose for the camera as a special souvenir to bring home.

    Location: Đường lên biệt thự Bảo Đại, Nam Phương Villa, Vạn Hương, Đồ Sơn, Hải Phòng, Vietnam


    Do Son Beach

    • Families
    • Photo

    Do Son Beach is situated between the Van Uc and Lach Tray Rivers, 22 km to the southwest of Hai Phong City. It was a popular resort town for the French and influential Vietnamese during the colonial days. All 3 of Do Son’s beaches are popular for swimming, kite-flying or sunbathing, among many other beach activities. Since it is only a 2.5-hour drive from Hanoi, Do Son gets many Hanoians during weekends.

    Known as the only place in the country with a casino, Do Son is equally famous for its annual festival (from late September or October), attracting travellers looking to experience the local culture during their holiday in Hanoi. It takes about 1 hour and 55 minutes to get to the beach from Hanoi by car.

    Open: All year round


    Hang Kenh Communal House

    • History
    • Photo

    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. 

    The house is 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 – more than 300 of them. Hang Kenh Communal House is also where many important festivals and religious ceremonies are held each year.

    Location: Nguyễn Công Trứ, Hàng Kênh, Lê Chân, Hải Phòng, Vietnam


    Hai Phong Museum

    • History

    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 some inside knowledge about Hai Phong in general and explains the city’s role in ancient times, as well as why it is an important seaport and its role in recent wars. Due to its unusual opening hours, the museum attracts fewer visitors than most.

    Location: 66 Điện Biên Phủ, Minh Khai, Hồng Bàng, Hải Phòng, Vietnam

    Open: Tuesday–Friday from 8 am to 10.30 am and from 2 pm to 4.30 pm, Saturday–Sunday from 8 am to 10.30 am (closed on Mondays)


    3rd Military Region Museum

    • History

    The 3rd Military Region Museum in Hai Phong was founded in 1969, under the Political Bureau of Military Region III. At the museum, visitors will see many interesting war exhibitions (including collections of bombs and weapons) showing how the Vietnamese struggled to defend themselves against various intruders throughout history. This includes examples of their resistance against French colonialism between 1945-1954 and during the Vietnam War between 1954-1975.

    Location: 254 Đ. Lê Duẩn, Bắc Sơn, Kiến An, Hải Phòng, Vietnam


    Navy Museum

    • History

    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. The museum was founded in 1975 and displays many interesting articles from the Vietnam War.

    Location: 353 (đầu cầu Rào), xã Anh Dũng, huyện Kiến Thụy, Anh Dũng, Dương Kinh, Hải Phòng, Vietnam

    Open: Daily from 8.30 am to 4 pm

    Phone: +84 (0)225 3814 788


    Nghe Le Chan Temple

    • Budget

    Nghe Le Chan Temple, located not far from the Opera House, 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 AD 43. 

    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. Among the most remarkable facets of this place is the stone works – they are outstanding.

    Location: 53 Lê Chân, An Biên, Lê Chân, Hải Phòng, Vietnam


    Tam Bac Lake and Flower Market

    • Shoppers

    Tam Bac Lake is located not far from the old Colonial Quarter in Hai Phong and is a nice place to relax or even go fishing. The trees along the lake shores make the visit a pleasant walk. Visitors will see an interesting flower market or quán hoa on 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 5 beautiful arched-roof kiosks.

    Also within easy walking distance, not far from the lake area, stands the Le Chan Woman General Statue, celebrating the founder of Hai Phong. The brass-cast statue weighs 17.2 tonnes – one of the heaviest statues in the country.

    Penny Wong | Compulsive Traveller

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