Hai Phong, Viet Nam has been a paradise of sea and islands in the north of the country. Here is a list of things to do in Hai Phong that is helpful to any visitor. The top destinations, foods, things to discover, and the most ideal places to stay are here for you to note down.
1. Things to do in Hai Phong? Paddle a kayak in Lan Ha Bay
Lan Ha Bay covers a total area of over 7,000 square meters with various big and small limestone islets in the east of Cat Ba Island and in the south of Ha Long Bay.
The pristine beaches here have not been much known. That is why Lan Ha Bay has been a more and more popular destination to travel lovers.
Ships will bring tourists to the quiet sea areas surrounded with islets. Paddling a kayak near Dark Cave, Light Cave, and Me Kong Cave is a unique experience. Forget all about the hustle and bustle, here, there is only you in the middle of immense nature, floating on the turquoise water, listening to the twittering birds, enjoying the cool wind gusts.
2. Have a fun day trip around Cat Ba Island
Cat Ba Island is the biggest island in Cat Ba Archipelago, which comprises over 360 islands located in the south of the renowned Ha Long Bay. The area is a quiet turquoise sea area scattered with islands, much like that of Ha Long Bay.
Summer is the ideal time to visit Cat Ba. From April to October, the weather here is cool, which is suitable for swimming and relaxing on the sea. The peak tourism season here is between May and July.
Between July and August, there may be storms and rains. You should pay attention to the weather forecast to make sure that there will be no rain during your stay.
Between November and March, there are hardly any visitors here so the island is rather quiet. This period is suitable for nature exploration and relaxation.
In this place, you can enjoy various activities like kayaking, exploring coral reefs, rock climbing, fishing at night, visiting Cai Beo Floating Village.
Cat Ba National Park is a highly recommended destination covering an area of over 26,000 hectares.
Home to many marine ecosystems, terrestrial forests, submerged forests, the park has a rich flora and fauna of rare species, which has been recognized as the World's Biosphere Reserve.
>>> Read also Cat Ba Island in Hai Phong: A pearl Island of the gulf of tonkin for more information!
3. Visit the over-100-year-old lighthouse on the wild Long Chau Island
Long Chau Island, also known as Dragon Eye Island or Re Den Island, is located in the southeast of Cat Ba Island and some 50 kilometers away from the centre of Hai Phong City.
Visiting Long Chau lighthouse is a must here, for it is one of the oldest lighthouses in Vietnam. Built by the French in 1894, the lighthouse has been showing the shore to thousands of ships traveling round the area.
The lighthouse stands over 109 meters above sea level and can light up to a distance of 27 nautical miles. The “Long Chau Holy Eye”, as it has been nicknamed, has very special arch architecture. In the middle of the light room is a complex of small bulbs. On clear nights, ships from 50 kilometers away can see the light.
Standing on the lighthouse, you will have an aerial view over the area with various karst islets emerging from the turquoise calm sea. Nothing can be compared to this stunning view, for sure!
Long Chau Archipelago comprises some 30 karst islets. There are lots of dangerous cliffs underwater in the area. The island has been considered the front station guarding Ha Long Sea and Hai Phong, which plays a crucial role in the nation’s sea sovereignty .
Though it is not a professional destination for tourism, Long Chau Island still lures visitors who like to explore nature.
You can rent a ship to take a cruise in the area, enjoy the fresh air and watch the lush islets. The peaceful atmosphere here is quite worth a trip.
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4. Explore the capital of abalone - Bach Long Vy Island, Hai Phong City
Bach Long Vy Island is located some 110 kilometers away from the land, in the Tonkin Bay. It is the outermost island within Hai Phong City’s geological borders.
The island is surrounded by underwater cliffs. It has played an important role in the nation’s strategy of economic development and sovereignty.
Bạch Long Vĩ (White Dragon’s Tail) was named for the island based on its appearance and association with a legend. It is said that in early times, a family of dragons descended from the sky. Among which, some lay in this area, forming Cat Ba Archipelago. The others stayed in Quang Ninh and created Ha Long Bay.
When the parent dragons returned to the sky, one of their tails fell onto the sea and formed today’s Bach Long Vi Island.
The island possesses not only spectacular landscape but also rich cuisine, especially abalone dishes. That is the reason why the island has been nicknamed as the capital of abalone.
The weather here is divided into two obvious seasons namely rainy and dry seasons.
The rainy season lasts from May to August while the dry season is from October to March.
Though the island is located far from the mainland, it is rarely affected by storms.
The atmosphere here is always fresh and cool with the average temperature of 23 degree Celsius.
It is advisable for tourists to visit the island between April and September as the weather in this period is pleasant with little rain and bright sunshine.
There are pristine beaches on the island with clear and cool water embracing smooth white sand.
Besides, there are rocky areas with violent white waves, which are ideal check-in destinations for the youth.
The 80-metre-high lighthouse is the highest place on the island, where you can enjoy the magnificent landscape.
A highlight of the islands in general and of Bach Long Vi Island in particular is the beautiful sunrise, which is the ideal moment for taking photos.
The local abalone is among the top ten foods in Vietnam, which can be compared with that from New Zealand and Australia.
Abalone can be processed in various ways including being eaten raw with mustard, stewed with herbs, cooked in porridge or stirred in fat with mushroom. All are delicious dishes and good for your health.
The abalone here is reasonably priced, unlike that in other areas. Hence tourists can enjoy the abalone dishes here and bring some back home as gifts.
5. Gain an insight into Vietnam’s history in Hai Phong Museum
Visitors should put Hai Phong Museum in their Hai Phong things to do list, which is a valuable architectural work of the coastal city. The museum stores many objects and images of the early days of the city as well as the period of fighting against foreign invaders.
As one of the oldest provincial museums in the country, Hai Phong Museum was built in 1919 on a land of 1 hectare. The museum was designed in European Gothic style. It was at first the headquarters of the France - China bank during the French colonial period.
Since December 1959, the building has been turned into the city’s museum, which now preserves thousands of materials, images and objects. The oldest objects here date back to some 4,000 years ago.
The museum displays stones brought from Ly Son Island, which date back thousands of years and proved Vietnam’s sovereignty on the East Sea.
The museum opens every day except Mondays, Saturday afternoons and Sunday afternoons between 8 am and 4.30 pm.
6. Indulge in the convergence of the past and present in Trang Kenh Complex
Trang Kenh Complex is located in Minh Duc Town, Thuy Nguyen District, some 20 kilometres away from Hai Phong City centre. The complex is made of a system of karst mountains, caves, rivers and canals.
This relic has been ranked as a National Landscape Site thanks to its magnificent scenery, which has been nicknamed as the “Ha Long Bay on Land”.
The complex has three holy temples dedicated to national heroes in early times namely Ngo Quyen (897-944), Le Hoan (941-1005) and Tran Hung Dao (1228-1300) and a pagoda named Trang Kenh Truc Lam Pagoda on the peak of Phoenix Mountain.
All the temples and pagoda in the complex were designed in a delicate way, which offer visitors a tranquil feeling when they pay tribute to the heroes.
The complex hosts various festive events like the birthday of Buddha (in mid-May) and Vu Lan (in mid-7th lunar month).
Standing on the peak of U Bo Mountain, you will have an aerial view of the immense Bach Dang River.
The complex has many magnificent caves, the biggest of which is King Cave measuring 18 metres in height and 10 metres in width. The cave is surrounded by a stream. An altar dedicated to Hung kings, the ancestors of Vietnamese people, was put inside the cave.
Visitors should visit Victory Square, which was built on Bach Dang River. The 2,000-square-metre area has statues of three heroes Ngo Quyen, Le Dai Hanh and Tran Hung Dao, who fought against northern invaders on Bach Dang River in the years of 938, 981 and 1288, respectively.
There are many destinations for visitors near Trang Kenh Complex like Du Hang Pagoda, Kien Bai Communal House, Bach Dang Giang Relic Site, Cat Ba Island, Cave Pagoda in Do Son Tourism Site, Tuyet Tinh Coc Thuy Nguyen and Dau Islet.
7. Things to do in Hai Phong? Visit the 1000-year-old Tuong Long Tower
Tuong Long Tower (also known as Tower Pagoda) on Long Sơn Peak in Do Son District has been a tourists magnet thanks to its special architecture and holiness.
The pagoda was built during the reign of King Ly Thanh Tong (1054-1072), when Buddhism reached its golden time in the country. The pagoda covers a total area of some 2,000 square metres, The tower stands 100 metre high with nine storeys.
The tower was considered the highest Buddhist architectural work on the peak of 128 metre above sea level. Historical documents state that besides religious purposes, the tower was used as an observatory post looking over the northeast region.
Over time, the original tower has collapsed, from which a replica was built in 2007 and completed ten years later. The replica tower was built with ceramic brick and decorated with typical patterns of the Ly Dynasty.
The tower has been a popular destination for both domestic and foreign visitors, especially in the beginning of the year.
8. What to do in Hai Phong? Venture into the mysterious Voi Mountain
Voi (Elephant) Mountain is located at the border of Truong Thanh and An Tien communes of An Lao District, which is over 20 kilometres away from Hai Phong City centre.
Its name was taken from its appearance, which resembles a giant elephant kneeling on his legs.
The area has a system of mountains lying next to each other. Voi Mountain stands over 140 metres high.
During the revolutions against the French and Americans, the area was used as a shelter for Vietnamese soldiers. Local authorities have recognised the mountain as a national relic site.
The natural landscape has made the area a tourists’ hub as well.
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9. Take admirable selfies in Tuyet Tinh Coc, Hai Phong City
Tuyet Tinh Coc, which is a turquoise-water lake in An Son Commune, Thuy Nguyen District, is a popular destination for the youth.
Looking like a lake described in a knight-errant novel by Chinese writer Jin Yong, Tuyet Tinh Coc has a special landscape with a clear lake surrounded by karst mountains.
The clear turquoise water has been a result of exploiting the local karst mountains. The chemical reaction has made the originally muddy water extremely clear which can be seen through to the bottom of the lake.
The water can change according to the time of the day because, like a giant mirror, it reflects the sky above.
People of all ages, especially the youth, love to take photos here.
10. Visit one of the most famous Hai Phong religious sites - Hai Phong Cathedral
The Cathedral of the Diocese of Hai Phong is located on Hoang Van Thu Street in the city’s downtown. The Gothic architectural work was built in 1912 inspired by French design in the Medieval period. It measures 77 metres in length and 17 metres in width. Its bell tower stands 28 metres high.
11. Things to do in Hai Phong? Explore the time-honored Tran Temple
Tran Temple is located in Do Son District, which is dedicated to Tran Quoc Tuan or Tran Hung Dao (1228-1300). It was built in 1824, under the reign of King Minh Mang.
The temple faces the sea and is backed by a mountain. The temple has typical architectural features of the Nguyen Dynasty and is surrounded by four big old trees.
Visitors can learn about the national hero Tran Quoc Tuan and enjoy the tranquil atmosphere at this site.
12. Buy souvenirs of Hai Phong City in Hang Market
Hang Market is located in Le Chan District in downtown Hai Phong, where visitors can learn about local culture and lifestyle. The market is like the ones in rural areas with various goods, from family utensils to pets like birds, cats, dogs and seedlings.
You can buy souvenirs at the market as well. When shopping here, you don’t have to worry about the price as all goods are reasonably charged.
13. Soak in the azure water in Do Son Beach, Hai Phong
Do Son Beach is a popular destination for visitors in Hai Phong. The best period to enjoy the sea here is between April and October, when the water gets clear and the weather is cool.
Visitors are also advised to come to the area at the beginning of the year to participate in festive occasions.
You can visit Dau Islet in the vicinity, or Dragon Streamline in Gem Mountain to enjoy natural landscapes. For history lovers, the palace of King Bao Dai is a must-go destination. The palace has been kept intact, with French architecture, in a total area of 3,700 square metres on a hill of 36 metre high.
The seafood here is fresh and processed in a local way. Among the most popular dishes are jellyfish salad and rice roll with shrimp as fillings.
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14. Eat like a local in Hai Phong City
Hai Phong things to do, of course, include enjoying the cuisine. Here, there are many dishes you should try at least once in your life:
- Spicy fish noodles
This is a dish of noodles topped with crispy fried fish, pork paste, vegetables and herbs. Chilly paste stirred in fat should be added to the noodles to make a unique hot fish soup.
- Hai Phong bread
Spicy bread is a delicacy of Hai Phong City. The long thin loaf of bread is filled with local paste made from pig’s liver, which is then dipped in a kind of spicy sauce.
- Fried crab spring roll
The main fillings in this kind of spring roll are sea crab together with vermicelli and mushroom ear. This dish is highly recommended in the Hai Phong travel guide.
- Crab noodles
A must-try in Hai Phong things to do list. This local delicacy includes lots of toppings like mantis shrimp, crab, fried pork wrapped in lolot and pork.
- Fermented pork paste
Fermented pork paste from An Lao district in Hai Phong City is made from carefully selected fresh pork which is naturally fermented. This snack should be enjoyed with herbs and dipped in sweet and sour sauce.
- Spicy porridge
This dish is minced rice cooked with broth made from bone, with toppings of mussels, pork, pork ribs or eels. Some minced red chili is added to the soup, making it an unforgettable dish for diners.
- Sweet coconut gruel
The sweet gruel is loved thanks to its rich taste of coconut milk added with jelly and tapioca.
Besides Hai Phong, it is recommended that visitors spend time in other destinations during their trip to Vietnam. It could be the bustling streets of Hanoi, the vibrant energy of Ho Chi Minh City, the sun-soaked allure of Phu Quoc, the coastal charm of Nha Trang, the historic enchantment of Hoi An, the modern splendor of Da Nang, or the iconic beauty of Ha Long.
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The coastal city has been considered a paradise of sea and islands with various must-try things. After reading article about things to do in Hai Phong, planning for a trip will no longer be difficult for you. Try the top destinations, dishes, things to discover and choose Sheraton Hai Phong and Melia Vinpearl Hai Phong Rivera to stay to make your trip memorable. You may need more than one trip to enjoy the local pristine nature, fresh air, spectacular landscape, rich culture, long-standing traditions, unique customs, special cuisine and more.