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Guide about Hai Phong

Haiphong City

Area: 1,526.3sq. km.
Population: 1,770,800habitants (2004)

Administrative divisions:- Town: Do Son- Districts: HongBang, Ngo Quyen, Le Chan, Kien An, Hai An.- Rural districts: Thuy Nguyen, An Duong, An Lao, Kien Thuy, Tien Lang, Vinh Bao, Cat Hai, Bach Long Vi.
Ethnic groups:Viet (Kinh), Hoa, Tay, Nung...

Geography>

Haiphong is a large city with an important seaport of Vietnam. Haiphong is near Quang Ninh Province to the north, Hai Duong Province to the west, and Thai Binh Province to the south.

Climate:Because of the proximity to the East Sea, Haiphong’s weather is affected by inter-tropical monsoons. The annual average temperature varies between 23ºC and 24ºC.
Tourism

Haiphong has many temples, pagodas, mausoleums and shrines such as ancient Du Hang Pagoda, Nghe Temple, Hang Kenh Communal House... Haiphong has famous historical Bach Dang River, where the national heroes defeated three Chinese feudal invasions. The third victory over the Yuan-Mongolians was known all over the world. Many of the teakwood pointed spikes have been discovered in this river. Haiphong is o­n tourism route: Hanoi – Haiphong – Halong Bay. Do Son Beach, located 20km from Haiphong, is a sand strip for bathing. However, during the monsoon season, the Red River's alluvial sands cause the water to turn yellow. From Do Son, tourist can visit Cat Ba National Park, and continue to Bai Tu Long Bay and Halong Bay (Quang Ninh Province). Haiphong is also famous for many festivals, of which Choi Trau Festival (Do Son Buffalo-fighting festival) in Do Son Town is unique.

Transportation
Haiphong is served by an important transportation network of sea routes, roads, railways, and airlines.

Road: The National Highway No. 10 links Haiphong to the provinces of Quang Ninh, Thai Binh and Thanh Hoa. Haiphong is 102km from Hanoi.

Airlines:There are connecting daily flights with Ho Chi Minh City, departed from Cat Bi Airport.

Railway:There are trains from Hanoi to Haiphong and vice versa.

Boat: Daily ferries from the dock o­n Ben Binh St. for other destinations.The ferry runs from Haiphong to Cat Ba Island several times a day. The hydrofoil boats run between Haiphong - Cat Ba and Haiphong - Hon Gai. The high-speed air-condition Thong Nhat Boat leave daily from Haiphong to Cat Ba.

 

 

 

Du Hang Pagoda

Location:Du Hang Pagoda is located at 121 Du Hang Street, Du Hang Kenh Ward, Le Chan District, Haiphong.
Characteristics:The pagoda is considered an ancient architectural relic of the city.

 

The pagoda was built under the Ly Dynasty. It was later renovated in the 17thcentury by Nguyen Dinh Sach, an officer of the imperial guard who resigned and became a Buddhist monk. In 1899, during the reign of King Thanh Thai, a monk by the name of Thong Hanh expanded the pagoda and built a bell tower. The existing pagoda resulted from the repair work carried out during that time.

Inside the pagoda are several statues that are intricately engraved in the style of the Nguyen Dynasty. Valuable relics, such as bronze tripods and gongs, are also kept in the pagoda.

 

 

 

Hang Kenh Communal House

Location:Hang Kenh Communal House is situated in Du Hang Kenh Ward, Le Chan District, Haiphong City.
Characteristics:It is famous for its valuable wooden sculptures.

 

Hang Kenh Communal House, also referred to as Nhan Tho Communal House in Sino-Vietnamese. Built in 1717, Hang Kenh Communal House was later expanded in 1905. The main front hall, also called "dai dinh", connects to the back part through a tiled roof bridge.

There are lots of valuable items in the communal house, of which there are 156 pieces with a dragon as the main theme. Altogether, there are 308 dragons of different shapes and sizes. The pagoda also houses a statue of Ngo Quyen and a palanquin.
Every year from the 16th to 18th of the second lunar month, ritual ceremonies, festivals, traditional games and performances of "cheo", "tuong" and other folk songs are held at the communal house, attracting large crowds.

 

 

 

Nghe Temple

Location:Nghe Temple is situated in Me Linh Ward, Le Chan District, Haiphong City, about 600m from the Municipal Theatre towards the south-west.
Characteristics:The temple is devoted to the cult of Le Chan, a woman general in the insurrection of the two Trung Sisters.

 

Le Chan established the settlement of An Bien village, the predecessor to Haiphong.
Previously, the temple was o­nly a small shrine, but in 1919 a sanctuary of the Temple was built, and in 1926 the Kowtowing Court was built. The Temple is a historical vestige monument comprising stone elephants, stone horses, stone ornate beds, stone stelae and buildings.

 

 

 

 

Cat Ba Island

Location:Cat Ba Island is situated in Cat Hai District, Haiphong City.
Characteristics:Cat Ba Island is a tourist spot, attractive for its natural beauty and wonders endowed by nature.

 

Taking a ride o­n a car or train for two hours from Hanoi to Haiphong, then o­n a high-speed vessel for another hour, visitors will arrive at Cat Ba Island, the biggest island (100km²) out of the 366 islands o­n the Lan Ha Bay.

Right from the moment visitors set foot o­n Cat Ba gangway, looking afar to contemplate the enchanting scenery of immense sky and magnificent mountains and breathing the fresh air from the sea, visitors will feel comfortable and their tiredness after a long trip will disappear. Surely, visitors want to go o­n with their journey at o­nce.

Visitors should hire a Minsk motorbike, out of 400 motorbikes and cars here, to ride to any place visitors want to visit. First of all, visitors should rent a room in a hotel, because the hotels o­n this island are often overcrowded due to the ever-increasing number of visitors to Cat Ba Island, although more hotels and hostels are being built. It is very pleasant to stay in a hotel, whose back leans against the mountain and its face looks towards the sea, and enjoy the fresh air and beautiful scenery around.
Visiting the large beaches of Cat Co and Cat Dua, which are separated by a small range of mountain, visitors can swim in the blue and warm water, so clear that visitors can see the golden sand beneath.

If visitors do not want to swim at this crowded place, visitors can hire a motor boat to sail to the small islets, where there are calm and clean beaches, such as the Cat Trai Gai, Duong Gianh and Hien Hao. The mountain adjacent to Cat Co Beach has a tunnel and fascinating caves and grottoes, such as Hang Luon, Khe Sau, Trung Trang, Gia Luan and Kim Cuong. Visiting these caves and grottoes you will get the feeling of the explorers, discovering the wonders and mysteries endowed by nature.
Coming out of the caves and grottoes visitors should spend a little time to contemplate the sunset over Lan Ha Bay. o­n the golden background of the horizon and the dark blue of the sea, the heaving islets become multiform, the white sea-gulls hover and sea-eagles make circles in the sky, all beautifying the immense and fascinating space, and enchanting the visitors.

 

 

Do Son Beach

Location:Do Son Beach is situated in Do Son Town, 20km from the southwest of Haiphong City, about 120km from Hanoi.
Characteristics:Do Son Beach is o­ne of the most famous beaches in Vietnam.

 

Do Son is a small peninsula located between the Lach Tray and Van Uc Rivers. Do Son beaches are shaded by thousands of sandalwood trees and surrounded by mountains and Pine Hills. /P>

Immediately upon setting foot in Haiphong, the French turned Do Son into a summer resort for their expatriate community and the Vietnamese upper class. Today, Do Son is alive with tourists from all over the world. They mainly come here to spend time o­n the beach, relax, and hike.

 

 

 

Do Son Buffalo Fighting Festival

Time:The 9th day of the eighth lunar month.
Place:Do Son Town, Haiphong City.
Objects of worship:Water genie.
Characteristics: Buffalo fighting, the cult of water genie.

 

The Buffalo Fight in Do Son (Haiphong City) is officially held every year o­n the 9thday of the eighth month of the lunar calendar. There are, in fact, two rounds of elimination before the middle of the fifth month and 8th day of the sixth lunar month.
The preparation for this festival is very elaborate. Fighting buffaloes must be carefully selected, well fed, and trained. These buffaloes must be between 4 and 5 years old, with a good appearance, a wide chest, a big groin, a long neck, an acute bottom, and bow shaped horns. The fighting buffaloes are fed in separate cages to keep them from contact with common buffaloes.

The beginning of the worshipping ceremony lasts until lunch time. A typical procession begins with an octet and a big procession chair, carried by six strong young men. The six clean buffaloes that are part of the ceremony are covered with red cloths and bound with reddish bands o­n their horns. There are 24 young men who dance and wave flags as two teams of troops start fighting. After this event, a pair of buffaloes are led to opposite sides of the festival grounds and are made to stand near two flags called Ngu Phung. When the right signal is released, the two buffaloes are moved to within 20m of each other. At the next signal, the two leaders release the ropes that are attached to the noses of the buffaloes. The two buffaloes then rush into each other with well practiced movements. The spectators then shout and  urge the fighting along.

At the completion of the fight, the spectacle of "receiving the buffaloes" is very interesting as the leaders must then catch the winning buffalo to grant it its reward. The Buffalo Fight in Do Son is a traditional festival that is attached to a Water God worshipping ceremony and the "Hien Sinh" custom. The most typical reason for the ceremony is to express the martial spirit of the local people in Do Son, Haiphong.

 

 

 

Du Hang Communal House Festival

Time:The 18th day of the second lunar month.
Place:Du Hang Kenh Ward, Le Chan District, Haiphong City.
Objects of worship:Ngo Quyen.
Characteristics:Cheosinging, ca tru singing, chau van singing.

 

Communal house opens festival every year, includes worshipping ceremony, a procession of ancestral tablet to the establishing of relationships between communes: Dong Khe, Hang Kenh, Phung Thap. Performances of cheo, tuong, ca tru, chau van in the evening and games of Chinese chess, wrestling, cock fighting... in daylight.
Hai Phong – the old charm within an exciting seaport 
Unlike the two neighbours Halong and Cat Ba, Hai Phong attracts less tourists unless they arrive in Northern Vietnam by cruiserships. Yet, the city maintains many charming architectures with evident influence of early 20th century colonial style the French invested to build up the old town as an important seaport. Passing Hai Phong is an exciting experience as soon as you go by the way crossing Cam River Ferry, from where you can go to Halong by the landway or take a boat (usually reserved) and run upstream 12km till you reach the sea, from where you go on either to Halong or Cat Ba island. Both ways offer wonderful views and seascape with plenty of islands belonging to Halong and Cat Ba archipelago, and few tourists choose this way to avoid repeated itineraries.
There are still remarkable ancient Vietnamese architectures in Hai Phong. Du Hang Pagoda, the centre of Buddhism in Hai Phong, is a very pure and graceful temple that was built in 17th century with some renovations afterward. The pagoda contains a lot of brilliant woodworks, bronze statues, and a bonsai collection right in the front ground. An array of Buddha and Bodhisattva statues highlight a circular pond of water lilies in a flowery garden and a tranquil towered-grave yard, where buried the monks who had resided in the pagoda, make the place a wonderful sanctuary to reduce any pressure. If you luckily arrive in the new moon and full moon days' morning, you will have a chance to catch fascinating pictures of Hai Phong religious women in black velvet scarves and brown long dress, with respectful
 
faces and manners, sitting in and around the main shrine of the pagoda while the monks pray or give lectures of Buddhism.
Not far from the pagoda, at the end of a very narrow market street is Hang Kenh Pavillion, which is dedicated to the Vietnamese hero Ngo Quyen who lived in 10th century. Being a Communal House of the Kenh village in the old time, the Pavillion is famous for its wooden bas-relieves, sculptures and special boat-shaped interior. If you prefer to stroll our the city, your visit should be started from the colonial quarter around Dien Bien Phu street and Tran Hung Dao street, from where you can direct to the old Opera House, and go for a walk surrounding Tam Bac Lake. There are 5 roofed kiosks in the Eastern side of the lake with very fresh flowers sold by smiling girls, and in the Southern side is the exciting Hang Kenh Tapestry producing woolen carpets for export
Hai Phong – the old charm within an exciting seaport
 
Unlike the two neighbours Halong and Cat Ba, Hai Phong attracts less tourists unless they arrive in Northern Vietnam by cruiserships. Yet, the city maintains many charming architectures with evident influence of early 20th century colonial style the French invested to build up the old town as an important seaport. Passing Hai Phong is an exciting experience as soon as you go by the way crossing Cam River Ferry, from where you can go to Halong by the landway or take a boat (usually reserved) and run upstream 12km till you reach the sea, from where you go on either to Halong or Cat Ba island. Both ways offer wonderful views and seascape with plenty of islands belonging to Halong and Cat Ba archipelago, and few tourists choose this way to avoid repeated itineraries.
There are still remarkable ancient Vietnamese architectures in Hai Phong. Du Hang Pagoda, the centre of Buddhism in Hai Phong, is a very pure and graceful temple that was built in 17th century with some renovations afterward. The pagoda contains a lot of brilliant woodworks, bronze statues, and a bonsai collection right in the front ground. An array of Buddha and Bodhisattva statues highlight a circular pond of water lilies in a flowery garden and a tranquil towered-grave yard, where buried the monks who had resided in the pagoda, make the place a wonderful sanctuary to reduce any pressure. If you luckily arrive in the new moon and full moon days' morning, you will have a chance to catch fascinating pictures of Hai Phong religious women in black velvet scarves and brown long dress, with respectful
 
 faces and manners, sitting in and around the main shrine of the pagoda while the monks pray or give lectures of Buddhism.
Not far from the pagoda, at the end of a very narrow market street is Hang Kenh Pavillion, which is dedicated to the Vietnamese hero Ngo Quyen who lived in 10th century. Being a Communal House of the Kenh village in the old time, the Pavillion is famous for its wooden bas-relieves, sculptures and special boat-shaped interior. If you prefer to stroll our the city, your visit should be started from the colonial quarter around Dien Bien Phu street and Tran Hung Dao street, from where you can direct to the old Opera House, and go for a walk surrounding Tam Bac Lake. There are 5 roofed kiosks in the Eastern side of the lake with very fresh flowers sold by smiling girls, and in the Southern side is the exciting Hang Kenh Tapestry producing woolen carpets for export.

 

Cat Ba island

 

A trip to Cat Ba island can be separated or combined with a visit to Halong Bay. This is the largest island in the Cat Ba Archipelago that consists of 350 limestone outcrops adjacent to Halong. This is an oasis where you can be apart for one or a few days during a long voyage. If starting from Halong Wharf it will take you 4 hours by a tourist boat, with stopovers for swimming, visiting spectacular karst and having fresh seafoods. In a single word, you can contemplate the beautiful scenery of Halong before reaching the island. You can also buy a ticket of the hydrofoil departing from Hai Phong Seaport to reach Cat Ba if your itinerary saves Halong for another visit.

With an area of 356 square km wide, Cat Ba encompasses forested zones, coastal mangrove and freshwater swamps, beaches, caves, and waterfalls. In 1986, the Northeast side of the island was designated a National Park, including a protected marine zone. Cat Ba Island supports a population of over 20,000, most of whom live off fishing or farming in the South, in and around Cat Ba Town. The town is small and ancient, with clusters of fishing boats and inspiring sunsets across the harbor. You can check out the catch of the day in the early morning , see cuttlefish dried over hot charcoals, or stroll around the old town. It's a short hike from Cat Ba town through a tunnel to Cat Co Beach, whose mountains look like a throne holding a marvelous sandy coast, or if you hike further along, you will reach the rockier Cat Vang Beach.

 

As transportation on the town is not so well-developed, motorbikes is the most helpful  means to get you to the larger Trung Trang Cave with many chambers, or to the National Park, or to discover other beaches around the island. A tourguide is necessary to help you communicate with the local drivers and introduce these viewpoints. The national park contains stringy trees, thick undergrowth and slippery vines. There is a great view that includes a French, now Vietnamese, farming village from the top of the mountain and a lake in the middle of the park that takes a half day to reach.

 
 
© Khoaviet Travel - Hanoi Tour. Head Office: 51 Hang Quat str, Hoan Kiem dist, Hanoi, Vietnam.
 International Tour Operator License No. 01-266/LHQT
Email: hanoitours@vnn.vn or info@khoaviettravel.com
Hotline: (+84)988555690 Mr. Thao NGUYEN, Tel: +(84 4) 39380968, Fax: +(84 4) 39380969
 
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