Haiphong is mostly significant as the largest city at the delta of the Red River, which is northern Vietnam's main river and the first major river delta from the Chinese border, historically a source of military conflict and also the center of the largest major flat (i.e. agriculturally suitable) region in the country, and therefore a population center of political importance. Its use as a port region is ancient, including opium trading from upriver warlords in Yunnan (China) and general shipping during the French colonial period up to the present.
The three main airlines serving Haiphong are Jetstar, VietJetAir and Vietnam Airlines. Most routes are domestic but there are some international flights from Bangkok and Seoul. The newly modernized 1 Cat Bi International Airport (Sân bay Quốc tế Cát Bi) is located south of the city. Taxis are available as well as public transport.
- 1 Van Don International Airport, Đoàn Kết, Vân Đồn District (at Quảng Ninh, 60 km northeast of Halong.). Bamboo Airways, VietJet Air and Vietnam Airlines fly from Ho Chi Minh City; Vietnam Airlines flies from Da Nang and Seoul-Incheon; Donghai Airlines flies from Shenzhen; Qingdao Airlines flies from Changsha.
Four trains per day run from Long Bien station in Hanoi; journey time is just over 2½ hours. A ticket for an air conditioned soft seat costs around 70,000 dong.
- 2 Hai Phong railway station (Ga Hải Phòng), 75 Lương Khánh Thiện.
Frequent buses run from Lương Yên station in Hanoi (near the old quarter) to Tam Bạc station in the centre of Haiphong (50,000 dong). Another option is to take a bus from Gia Lâm station in the outskirts of Hanoi to either Niệm Nghĩa (3 km from the city centre) or Cầu Rào station (~6 km) in Haiphong (65,000 dong). Gia Lâm station can be reached from the Old Quarter by Bus 34 (3,000 dong).
A number of ferries serve Haiphong, including several daily fast hydrofoils to and from Cat Ba Island. The main terminal is 3 Phà Bính ferry terminal, located at the northern end of Cù Chính Lan street. Beware of touts trying to scam you on this route by selling expansive tickets.
A taxi or private car from Hanoi to Haiphong costs about US$80 one way.
- At the port (city centre, Ben Binh St) ferries depart to Cat Ba Island (up to 100,000 dong)
- To visit Đồ Sơn Beach, about 20 km southeast of Haiphong, go to Lạch Tray St and board any bus marked Đồ Sơn (17,000 dong).
- 1 Hai Phong City Museum (Bảo tàng Hải Phòng), 11 Đinh Tiên Hoàng (Corner of Điện Biên Phủ and Đinh Tiên Hoàng streets.), ☏ . Open mornings and afternoons from 14:00. Open late evening Tu and Su, closed Sa.
- Military Zone III Museum, 254 Lê Duẩn (in Kien An District, 5 km southwest of town), ☏ .
- 2 (Bảo Tàng Hải Quân), 353 St, Anh Dung Commune, Kien Thuy District, ☏ .
- Shop Cuong Lien, 87 Nguyen Duc Canh St. Shoes - Along Nguyen Duc Canh St which is south of the Ho Tam Bac man-made pond, you will find many shoe stores. This is the best one. It carries many styles of brand name sports and formal shoes. This shop is presentable and clean, compared with the other shoe stores on the same street.
Stalls about town offer the normal array of Vietnamese cuisine. Alleged local specials include anything cua (crab) or seafood, for example:
- "bánh đa cua"- noodle soup with crab and other traditional Vietnamese ingredients. Delicious. Try it once and you won't forget it!
- "bánh bèo"- a white cake made from rice, filled with meat and eaten with a special sauce
- "bún tôm"- a kind of noodle soup, with shrimp
- "chè bưởi"- sweetened porridge, made of beans, glutinous rice and mostly grapefruit, often with added coconut sauce and dry-salted coconut slices
There are also quite a lot of lau (sit around and BBQ your own stuff / hotplate) restaurants.
Foreign food includes:
- A couple of alleged 'Texas BBQ' establishments
- A terrible Indian establishment
- A pricy-looking Thai restaurant
- Pizza Hut
- Lipton Iced Tea - a branded Lipton tea bag in a narrow drinking glass filled with drinking water with sugar and ice cubes added. Makes a refreshing alternative to coffee.
- Hai Phong Beer (from 6000 dong/glass) - locally made beer.
- Haiphong Brewery (Hia Phong Local Beer), 16 Lach Tray, Ngo Quyen, ☏ . Bia hoi, fresh from the brewery that is directly behind this location. Many beer stands here. Look for the bar to the right of the alley where motor bikes are carrying yellow kegs in and out of the brewery. Decent food in an open kitchen. 10,000 dong for a tall glass (500 ml), 4,000 dong for a regular. The beer is pleasant with a slightly sweet aftertaste. Way better than Hanoi beer! Arguably best beer in Vietnam. A must-visit if you are in town and thirsty. 4,000 dong.
- Amber bar (Amber Local Beer), 16 Lach Tray, Ngo Quyen. Upstairs of the Haiphong Brewery. If you are looking for a Amber beer, then this is the place to go. Very delicious, but definitely more expensive than other local beers. 35,000 dong for a tall glass (500 ml), 25,000 dong for a regular. 25,000-60,000 dong.
- 1 Classic Hoang Long Hotel, 25 Tran Quang Khai St, ☏ . This is an exceptional hotel, in perhaps the tallest building in Haiphong. The bar/restaurant on the 17th floor has panoramic views of the city. USD70-135, but an introductory special slices the prices by 45%.
- 2 Imperial Boat Hotel, 48 Điện Biên Phủ, ☏ . New centrally located luxury hotel.
- 3 Somerset Central TD Hai Phong City, Tower A, TD Plaza, Lot 20A, Le Hong Phong St, Dong Khe Ward, Ngo Quyen District, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. This property offers studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments. Facilities include a gymnasium, outdoor swimming pool, children’s playroom, living room and library.
- Do Son (Beach) — 20-23 km from Haiphong. Do Son is resort frequented by the Vietnamese, but by few Westerners. The beaches are not the greatest as silt affects the quality of the water. A visit to nearby Cat Ba is advisable if you want to swim, as the water quality is much better. Do Son sits along the ocean coast, and is filled with low-end hotels, restaurants, and karaoke bars. It has a reputation as a centre for prostitution. There is a casino (one of very few in Vietnam) at the Do Son Resort Hotel. It's worth visiting for a peaceful day or two away from the bustle of Haiphong.
- Ha Long Bay
- Hanoi — about 100 km from Haiphong, 2-3 hours.