Memos from Asia

Hai Phong Local Travel Guide: What to Do, Eat, and Best Time to Visit

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If you’re setting out to Hai Phong for the first time, chances are you may encounter quite a few challenges due to the lack of information online. The port city of Hai Phong is usually overshadowed by the big guys nearby such as Hanoi and Quang Ninh. Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital is the traveler’s favorite destination in the North, while Quang Ninh province is home to a UNESCO world heritage site, Halong Bay. But rest your worries because I will provide everything you need to know before landing in this seaside city! Read on to find out the best local tips regarding what to do, where to eat, and how to reach Hai Phong from other areas!

Best Time to Visit Hai Phong

Hai Phong is a newly-emerging beach city in Northern Vietnam. Therefore, the best time to hit the city is during summer when the tropical warmth seeps into town! My favorite time to come over to Hai Phong is between April and October when the water is calm and the sky is clear for an absolute outing beach day!

Hai Phong sea-scape from above

With the mild weather hovering around 25 to 37 degrees Celsius, Hai Phong is an ideal getaway from Hanoi. Embarking on a cruise to meander around Lan Ha Bay after spending a few nights in Cat Ba Island is the most laid-back summer vacation you’ve ever been on!

How to Travel to Hai Phong?

Take a direct flight for 2 hours either from Can Tho Airport in the Mekong Delta or Tan Son Nhat Airport in Ho Chi Minh City to Cat Bi Domestic Airport in Hai Phong if you’re departing from Southern Vietnam. In case you’re traveling from Hanoi, then opt for a 90-minute bus ride to Hai Phong if you’re short in time! You can either catch a bus from Gia Lam Bus Station or somewhere in the city center depending on the operator you travel with!

I like to claim my tickets for a few days before the trip starts via Ve Xe Re Website. Otherwise, you can hop on a train ride for 2 and a half hours from Hanoi Gas Station to Hai Phong! Train tickets are available online at the official website of Vietnam Railways over here.

My 3 Favorite Places to Unfold the Best Beauty of Hai Phong

Cat Ba Island

Located in the heart of the Gulf of Tonkin, Cat Ba is a newly emerging destination for beach lovers. If the over-touristy Halong Bay is not your thing, pick Cat Ba instead and you won’t return disappointed! Boasting a magnificent sea-scape of turquoise water and the biodiversity of Cat Ba National Park, this scenic gem is the right place for peace seekers! The island is located 30 kilometers away from the city center.

Cat Ba National Park

Lan Ha Bay

While meandering around Cat Ba Island, don’t let your time slip out of your hand and book a cruise to travel further afield to Lan Ha Bay. While Halong Bay is making global headlines as a must-see destination in Vietnam, Lan Ha Bay is about to steal the spotlight within the next few years! You can rent a boat from Beo Pier or book a tour at your convenience and sail around Lan Ha Bay for half a day. You will have a chance to chill on a beach at Monkey island after exploring the local life of the fishermen at Van Gia fishing village.

Do Son Beach

Is taking a dip in the ocean your favorite leisure pursuit, then let Do Son beach fulfill your dream when visiting Hai Phong! When you go off the coast and leave behind the sound of wooden boats zipping back and forth around the port, that is when Do Son Beach appears from afar. This local-recommended beach brings you to the utmost wealth of the high clear sky casting glittering lights on the mirror-like water. Don’t forget to drop by a local restaurant down the street to throw the best seafood party of your life!

3 Best Hai Phong Authentic Dishes for a Hearty Meal

When it comes to food, every city up and down the length of Vietnam has its own culinary delights. Hai Phong is no exception! Before coming over here, I sampled some of its best delicacies and they just blew my mind. And when I arrived in Hai Phong for the first time, I checked out the best places in town where I could get my food fix. So here they are!

Crab Brown Rice Noodle (Vietnamese Name: Bánh Đa Cua)

This soup noodle is a perfect treat on a cold rainy day. You will have a hearty bowl of brown flat noodles topped with fish balls, shrimps, mantis shrimps, minced freshwater crab, water dropwort, and fried onion. Everything is soaked in a slightly sweet, tender, and salty soup. The best place to try it is a small eatery at 26 Ky Dong Street, Hong Bang, Hai Phong.

Plain Rice Flan (Vietnamese Name: Bánh Đúc Tàu)

You will need this for breakfast. It’s not too greasy and heavy so you make it a perfect dish to get your day started. The topping comes with shrimps, cabbage turnips, and fried shrimp crackers. The rice flan is tender, soggy, and plain so it helps balance out the whole tasting profile. I got it at Cat Dai eatery located at 159 Cat Dai Street, Le Chan District and the store seems to be jam-packed every morning.

Spicy Bread Stick (Vietnamese Name: Bánh Mì Cay)

So, Banh Mi once again, but the edition in Hai Phong will blow your mind! Unlike the regular Banh Mi when it normally comes in a large serving, this spicy breadstick is small and thin. Crunchy on the outside and savory on the inside, each bread is stuffed with pork pate, meat, pork floss, and chili sauce. Your order will only come out hot so expect it to be a great companion for a cold rainy day! The best place to grab one is Banh Mi Cay Ba Gia at 57 Le Loi, May To, Ngo Quyen District.

So there you have it! I have just revealed the secret to plan the best vacation in Hai Phong. I would say 2 to 3 days are enough for a complete trip, and it will be a wise choice if you combine it as part of a bigger journey along with Ninh Binh and Hanoi as well.

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