Exploring Haiphong Travel Guide: Vietnam’s Coastal Capital

 In Best Time to Visit, Holidays, Vietnam

Tucked along the coast of the Red River Delta in northern Vietnam, Haiphong pulses with vibrant energy steeped in culture, history, and natural splendor. 

 If you’re planning a trip to Vietnam, consider incorporating Haiphong into your Vietnam tour packages or delve deeper with a dedicated Haiphong travel guide to uncover the hidden treasures this city holds.

Often overshadowed by its more famous neighbors like Hanoi and Halong Bay, Haiphong offers travelers a unique blend of authentic Vietnamese experiences without the crowds.

From its bustling markets to its tranquil parks and historic sites, Haiphong beckons adventurers seeking to immerse themselves in the heart of Vietnam. Let’s embark on a journey through this hidden gem and uncover the treasures it holds.

A Glimpse into Haiphong’s History


Haiphong’s history is as diverse as its landscape, with influences from various cultures shaping its identity over the centuries. 

Originally founded as a trading port in the 19th century, Haiphong quickly grew into one of Vietnam’s most important economic hubs.

 Its strategic location along the Gulf of Tonkin made it a vital center for trade and commerce, attracting merchants from across Asia and beyond.

The city’s colonial past is evident in its architecture, with French colonial buildings blending seamlessly with traditional Vietnamese structures. 

One of the most iconic landmarks is the Opera House, a stunning example of French neoclassical design that continues to host cultural performances.

Walking through the streets of Haiphong, visitors can admire the blend of old and new, from ancient temples to modern skyscrapers, each telling a story of the city’s rich heritage. For a deeper dive into Haiphong’s historical sites and landmarks, consult a Haiphong travel guide.  

Exploring Haiphong’s Cultural Charms

Haiphong’s cultural tapestry is a vibrant fusion of influences from various periods of history, creating a unique identity that sets it apart from other cities in Vietnam. 

From its rich heritage of ancient traditions to its modern artistic scene, Haiphong offers visitors a fascinating glimpse into the soul of northern Vietnam. To fully appreciate the creative energy and historical sites, consult a Haiphong travel guide.

Traditional Festivals and Customs


One of the best ways to experience Haiphong’s cultural heritage is by participating in its traditional festivals and observing age-old customs. 

Throughout the year, the city comes alive with colorful celebrations that pay tribute to Vietnam’s rich history and religious beliefs.

One such festival is the Tet Festival, also known as the Vietnamese Lunar New Year, which marks the lunar calendar’s beginning and is the most important festival in Vietnam

During Tet, Haiphong is adorned with vibrant decorations, and families gather to pay respects to their ancestors, exchange gifts, and enjoy festive meals together.

Another highlight is the Mid-Autumn Festival, a joyous occasion celebrated with lantern processions, dragon dances, and the sharing of mooncakes. 

This festival is particularly beloved by children, who eagerly await the chance to parade through the streets with colorful lanterns.

Art and Performance


Haiphong boasts a thriving arts scene, with numerous galleries, theaters, and performance spaces showcasing the talents of local artists and performers. 

The city’s Opera House is a prime example of French colonial architecture and serves as a cultural hub for music, dance, and theater productions.

Traditional Vietnamese art forms such as water puppetry and ca tru (ceremonial singing) can be enjoyed at various venues throughout Haiphong, offering visitors a chance to experience the rich cultural heritage of the region. 

Art galleries like the Haiphong Fine Arts Museum and local artisan markets provide opportunities to admire and purchase traditional handicrafts, paintings, and sculptures created by talented Vietnamese artists.

What are the Places to Visit in Haiphong?

There are some very captivating places to visit in Haiphong, each offering a unique glimpse into the city’s cultural, historical, and natural treasures.


Du Hang Pagoda: 

Situated in the heart of Haiphong, Du Hang Pagoda is a serene oasis amidst the bustling city streets. 

Dating back to the 17th century, this one of the most historic Buddhist temples in Vietnam radiates an aura of tranquility with its traditional architecture, ornate carvings, and peaceful gardens. 

The pagoda provides a quiet retreat where visitors can escape the hustle and bustle of urban life and immerse themselves in the spiritual ambiance of Vietnamese Buddhism.

Cat Ba National Park:

 Just a short ferry ride from Haiphong lies Cat Ba Island, home to the breathtaking Cat Ba National Park. 

Encompassing lush jungles, rugged mountains, and scenic coastline, this UNESCO Biosphere Reserve is a haven for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. 

Hiking trails wind through the park, leading to panoramic viewpoints, hidden caves, and pristine beaches. 

Visitors can encounter a diverse array of flora and fauna, including rare species such as the golden-headed langur and the Cat Ba langur, both of which are endemic to the island. 

A Haiphong travel guide can equip you with the knowledge to navigate this trekker’s paradise, ensuring you don’t miss any hidden gems.


Do Son Beach: 

Do Son Beach attracts with its beautiful sands, crystal-clear waters, and peaceful atmosphere; it’s only a short drive from the city center and is considered one of the best beaches in Vietnam.

This picturesque section of coastline, bordered by dense pine forests and surrounded by high limestone cliffs, is the ideal place to spend a day in the sun, sea, and leisure.

In addition to sunbathing on the sandy beaches and swimming in the calm waters, active travelers can consult a Haiphong travel guide to discover the available water sports like jet skiing, windsurfing, and parasailing.

Tam Bac Lake:

Tam Bac Lake is a scenic paradise popular with locals and tourists for pleasure. It is located in the center of Haiphong.

Surrounded by well-kept parks, picturesque walkways, and gorgeous gardens, the lake provides a tranquil haven away from the busy city.

For the active traveler, a Haiphong travel guide can point you towards wandering along the coastline, hire bicycles or paddle boats, or just relax on the green banks and take in the serene beauty of the surroundings. These are all options available to visitors.

The lake comes to life in the evenings with bright lights and colorful fountains, creating a mystical ambiance ideal for a relaxing picnic with loved ones or a romantic stroll.

Hai Phong Opera House: 

Located in the center of Haiphong, the magnificent architectural marvel Hai Phong Opera House is a reminder of the city’s colonial heritage.

With its elaborate exterior, graceful columns, and intricate details, this huge theater, which was constructed in the early 20th century during the French colonial era, exhibits a stunning fusion of neoclassical and Gothic architectural styles. 

Throughout the year, a Haiphong travel guide can lead you to a variety of events held here, from captivating musical performances and ballets to soul-stirring operas and theatrical shows.

Visitors can step inside to admire the opulent interior, with its lavish decorations, crystal chandeliers, and plush velvet seats, and experience the magic of live performances in this historic venue.

What is the Best Time to Visit Haiphong?


Haiphong experiences a tropical climate, characterized by hot and humid summers and cool, dry winters. The best time to visit is during the cooler months from November to April when temperatures are milder allowing you to fully embrace the range of adventure activities in Vietnam that Haiphong offers.

However, travelers should consult the Haiphong travel guide and be aware that this period coincides with the peak tourist season, so accommodations may be more expensive and attractions more crowded.

How to Reach Haiphong?

Haiphong boasts excellent connectivity by air, water, and road:

Air: Cat Bi International Airport is conveniently located just 5 km from the city center and offers connections to major Vietnamese cities and some international destinations.

Train: Enjoy a scenic journey from Hanoi on the comfortable and affordable train route. Consult a Haiphong travel guide to find trains connecting you to major Vietnamese cities.

Bus: Numerous intercity buses connect Haiphong with other Vietnamese cities, providing a budget-friendly option.

Car/Motorbike: For a more adventurous experience, renting a car or motorbike allows you to explore Haiphong and surrounding areas at your own pace.

Shopping in Haiphong

Haiphong is a shopper’s paradise, offering a vibrant mix of traditional markets, bustling street stalls, and modern shopping centers that cater to every taste and budget. 

For an authentic shopping in Vietnam experience, delve into the heart of a traditional market. Whether you’re in search of unique souvenirs, trendy fashion, or delicious local delicacies, Haiphong has something to offer for everyone.

To navigate this shopping paradise and delve deeper into the world of shopping in Vietnam, consider consulting a Haiphong travel guide:


Dong Xuan Market:

Dong Xuan Market stands as the largest and most famous market in Haiphong, where visitors can immerse themselves in the sights, sounds, and smells of Vietnamese street life. 

Located in the heart of the city, this bustling market is a maze of narrow alleys and crowded stalls selling everything from fresh produce and seafood to clothing, electronics, and handicrafts. 

Vincom Plaza:

For a more modern shopping experience, head to Vincom Plaza, Haiphong’s premier shopping mall located in the city center. 

This upscale mall boasts a wide range of international and local brands, designer boutiques, and specialty stores spread across multiple levels. 

In addition to shopping, Vincom Plaza offers a variety of dining options, entertainment facilities, and services, making it a one-stop destination for leisure and recreation.

Parkson Haiphong:

Another popular shopping destination is Parkson Haiphong, a stylish department store located within Vincom Plaza.

Here, shoppers can browse through a curated selection of fashion, accessories, cosmetics, and home goods from both local and international brands. 

Traditional Handicraft Villages:

For a more authentic shopping experience, consider visiting one of Haiphong’s traditional handicraft villages.

 Bat Trang Ceramic Village, famous for its exquisite pottery and ceramics, is located just outside the city and makes for a fascinating day trip for those interested in learning about the art of pottery-making. 

Meanwhile, Do Son Beach is known for its vibrant fishing village, where visitors can purchase fresh seafood.

Night Markets:

In the evenings, Haiphong comes alive with the sights and sounds of night markets, where vendors set up stalls along the streets and squares to sell a variety of goods, snacks, and street food.

One of the most popular night markets is located near Tam Bac Lake, where visitors can stroll along the waterfront and browse through a colorful array of clothing, accessories, souvenirs, and local specialties

A Haiphong travel guide can point you in the right direction, but getting lost is half the fun. As you wander, browse through a kaleidoscope of clothing, accessories, and unique souvenirs, each whispering tales of Vietnamese culture.

Exploring Haiphong’s Food Scene

Haiphong’s culinary landscape is a delightful reflection of its coastal location and rich cultural heritage. 

From fresh seafood delicacies to flavorful street food delights, the city offers a wide variety of dishes that are sure to tempt the taste buds of visitors.

To fully immerse yourself in this foodie paradise, consider consulting a Haiphong travel guide. 


Seafood Extravaganza:

As a coastal city, Haiphong is renowned for its abundant supply of fresh seafood, which takes center stage in many of its signature dishes.

 One must-try dish is banh da cua, a hearty crab noodle soup made with fresh crab meat, chewy rice noodles, and aromatic herbs and spices. 

Another local favorite is cha ca, a sizzling hotpot of marinated fish filets, fragrant herbs, and crispy rice noodles, served with a side of fresh greens and dipping sauces.

 Street Food Delights:

Wander through the city’s bustling markets and busy streets, and you’ll find an endless variety of street food vendors serving up savory delights such as banh mi Haiphong, a unique style of Vietnamese sandwich filled with pate, grilled meats, pickled vegetables, and fresh herbs. 

Other popular Vietnamese food options include bun cha ca, a comforting noodle soup made with fish cakes, vermicelli noodles, fragrant broth, and banh duc, a savory rice cake topped with shrimp paste, fried shallots, and fresh herbs.

Be sure to save room for dessert and sample local sweet treats like che, a traditional Vietnamese dessert made with beans, fruits, and jelly, or kem xoi, a refreshing combination of sticky rice, coconut milk, and shaved ice topped with sweet syrups and colorful toppings.

Nightlife in Haiphong


While not as bustling as cities like Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, Haiphong still offers a lively nightlife scene with plenty of bars, clubs, and entertainment venues to choose from. 

The area around Opera House Square is a popular spot for nightlife, with a variety of bars and cafes serving up drinks and live music late into the night. 

For a more relaxed atmosphere, head to one of the city’s rooftop bars or riverside cafes, where you can enjoy stunning views of the city skyline while sipping cocktails under the stars.

Craving a more laid-back vibe?  A Haiphong travel guide can lead you to hidden rooftop bars or riverside cafes boasting breathtaking cityscapes. Imagine sipping cocktails under a canopy of stars, the cityscape shimmering before you.

Haiphong may not be as famous as some of Vietnam’s other tourist destinations, but therein lies its charm. Away from the crowds and tourist traps, Haiphong offers travelers a chance to experience Vietnam in its purest form – authentic, welcoming, and full of surprises. 

Whether you’re exploring its historic landmarks, indulging in its culinary delights, or simply soaking in its natural beauty, Haiphong invites you to embark on a journey of discovery unlike any other. 

So pack your bags, set out on an adventure, and let Haiphong enchant you with its wonders. For an even richer experience, consult a Haiphong travel guide – your key to unlocking hidden gems and crafting an itinerary that caters to your interests. 

What are some local delicacies I should try in Haiphong?

In Haiphong, don’t miss trying banh da cua (crab noodle soup), a hearty dish featuring fresh crab meat and chewy rice noodles. Also, indulge in cha ca, a sizzling hotpot of marinated fish fillets

What are some off-the-beaten-path experiences in Haiphong?

In Haiphong, venture off the beaten path by exploring the hidden gems of Tien Lang District.  Alternatively, embark on a boat tour of the Red River Delta, exploring secluded islands, floating markets, and traditional fishing villages 

Are there any festivals or events worth attending in Haiphong?

Experience the thrill of the Do Son Buffalo Fighting Festival, immerse yourself in the vibrant Cau Ngu Festival, and celebrate Hai Phong Liberation Day which falls on the 13th of May

What souvenirs can I buy in Haiphong?

In Haiphong, you can purchase traditional Vietnamese handicrafts like ceramics and pottery from Bat Trang Ceramic Village, or opt for locally-made textiles, lacquerware, and wooden crafts found in markets like Dong Xuan Market.

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