What To See In Hai Phong In 2 Days?
Renowned as northern Vietnam’s economic hub, you may be surprised that Hai Phong is clinging onto its colonial charm. An action-packed list of wandering through its crumbling colonial quarter, photogenic streets, savoring distinctive cuisine and enjoying a deep swim is interesting enough if you just have 2 days in this Vietnamese port city.
Day 1: A peaceful and relaxing morning in Hai Phong
Wake up at the crack of dawn and order up a Vietnamese “banh mi” coupled with a cup of coffee from busy street-hawkers to kick of your day.
After breakfast, grab a motorbike taxi towards Hai Phong Museum on Dien Bien Phu Street, the first local museum established in Vietnam to have a glance at Gothic-style architecture and get enough inside knowledge about Hai Phong in general. Due to unusual opening hours, come to Hai Phong Museum, you can avoid throngs of crowds.
Leave Hai Phong Museum and head to the older part central Hai Phong on the corner of Dien Bien Phu Street and Tran Hung Dao Street. This is known as the Colonial Quarter where grand, impressive colonial era buildings line up on broad avenues. Stroll around, take stunning photos and enjoy the city’s thriving café culture there with tables spill out the pavement, perfect for people watching.
Lunch – it’s time for a perfect bowl of “banh da cua”
Eat like a local with street food everywhere. Hai Phong has a well-deserved reputation for a wide range of amazing dishes. Above all, grab a bowl of “banh da cua” (crab noodle soup), one of the most colorful Vietnamese broths and the Hai Phong’s most famous specialty is a perfect choice. “Banh da cua” at 179 Cau Dat is where you can find the best one.
Have more sightseeing in the afternoon
Soak up the local spiritual culture at Du Hang Pagoda – the most famous pagoda in the city which attracts many tourists, especially Asians. The pagoda features ancient style since Tien Le Dynasty and boasts many Buddha statues as well as horizontal lacquered boards. Here you can bring some bread if you want to feed the turtles and fishes in a small pond there.
Take a wander in the streets around Cho Tam Bac (Tam Bac Market) and do some shopping. The market opens very early from 5:00AM and closes at 22:00PM. Trading is very vibrant here and the main goods are fresh sea food and dried up ones.
Spoil your evening with buzzing Hai Phong nightlife
You can either choose to walk along Dien Bien Phu Street which serves an outstanding strip of street eateries and savor a load of northern favorites such as “banh cuon”, “pho” and other options of Hai Phong cuisine or head to different bars, nightclubs, disco and karaoke joints in the city center. You may find Hai Phong nightlife not as active as Hanoi and Saigon but it’s still worth your few hours to enjoy.
Some of nightlife venues you can go to chill out include Maxim’s Café (51 Dien Bien Phu Street), Saigon Café, Texas BBQ and Bar (22H Minh Khai Street) and the Lounge Bar at Harbor View Hotel (4 Tran Phu Street).
Day 2: Visit one of the most-wanted islands the north – Cat Ba Islands
In the morning, at 9:00AM, take a speedboat from Pha Binh port in Hai Phong to Cat Ba Island. Arrive at Cat Ba Island at 10:00AM and free for swimming at the beach. After lunch, you can enjoy a plenty of activities to do such as kayaking, swimming in clean water, visit hundred year floating market and go rock climbing.
In the afternoon, at 16:00PM, catch a speedboat to back to Hai Phong.
Over the past few years Hai Phong has become a popular place to go for a holiday. Both domestic and foreign travelers enjoy spending their summer days at the city. There are in fact more than just Cat Ba Island - Hai Phong has a lot more hidden gems for you to uncover.