Haiphong doesn’t deserve the lukewarm
description it receives from some of the guidebooks popular
with the mass tourism market. Although it’s Vietnam’s largest
port, it retains considerable charm and is worth a visit.
Despite its size and heavy industry, like Hanoi, it has
a compact and attractive central area that gives it a small
town atmosphere belying its status as Vietnam’s third largest
city centre is a pleasant mixture of parks, tree-lined boulevards
and colonial buildings. Tam Bac Lake, the western section
of a defunct canal built during the colonial period, is
lined with French-style streetlamps that gives the area
a Parisian feel.
are several attractions worth attention. The Municipal Theatre
is a classic example of French colonial architecture – unfortunately,
the contents are less appealing. The nearby produce and
flower markets make for an interesting stroll towards Den
Nghe, a small temple with some notable statues.
away, the Du Hang pagoda is located in an attractive street
of artisans cottages – the wood-carving is impressive. Somewhat
surprisingly, there appears to be a distinct K’hmer influence
upon its ornamentation.
set in the midst of factories and ramshackle buildings,
Dien Hang Kenh is a first-rate communal house facing an
ornamental lake, now used as a temple. Unfortunately, it
is beginning to feel its age, but the accumulating dust
and grime doesn’t disguise a remarkable sweeping roof supported
by massive ironwood pillars, or the fine ornamentation and
of the city, the rural scenery is unexpectedly agreeable.
Our customers often enjoy a gentle cycle ride along the
winding lanes and through the small villages and old temples..
Son is a small seaside town near Haiphong. The beach is
polluted and the town has a ‘fin de siècle’ feel about it.
Apart from one of Vietnam’s few casinos (which Vietnamese
citizens are not allowed to enter as customers), it has
little to offer.
good dual carriageway connects to Hanoi – the 100km seldom
takes more than an hour and a half - making Haiphong a rewarding
excursion. An alternative is a three-hour train journey.
is also an easy access point for Ha Long Bay via a hydrofoil
service to Cat Ba Island. Fast boats and slower ferries
connect Haiphong to Cat Ba and Ha Long City direct.
travellers using Haiphong as an intermediate sojourn on
the way to Ha Long Bay, the increasing business activity
in this priority economic development zone has stimulated
the construction of several new hotels, two of which meet
our Superior standard. Both are well-equipped and offer
good service and facilities. There are also some good mid-range