Hai Phong is a large industrial city and the third largest city in Vietnam. Located in Northern Vietnam, it is known as “The City of Flame Flowers” because its streets are lined with flame flower trees. This city is not a major tourist destination, as there are numerous places worth visiting that tourist often frequent such as temples, pagodas, shrines, and mausoleums. People also come to the city as a base to travel to nearby spots such as Ha Long Bay and Cat Bay. Many people have said that this city is ‘the real Vietnam,’ making it a nice place to immerse in Vietnamese culture.
Hai Phong is home to one of the biggest ports in Vietnam, which makes it the main gateway for imports and exports. The city receives shipments from many parts of the world. Other than the port, agriculture plays an important role in the city’s economy. It is also the center of technology, economy, medicine, education, culture, science, and trade that attracts a lot of people to work in this city. It is rapidly developing, with infrastructure and facilities being built all over the city. Over the past years, it has been the spotlight for foreign direct investment (FDI). This, of course, opens more opportunities for those looking for a job in Hai Phong. Foreigners generally work in the service, trade, and export sectors. In addition to the city’s job opportunities, many expats choose to live in the city for its calmness, peaceful lifestyle, and relaxing environment.
Popular Areas in Hai Phong
Hai Phong is comparatively small compared to Hanoi, which makes the expat community spread out all over the city. It is also more modern than Hanoi with luxurious villas, homes, and apartments. Many expats live in Le Hong Phong street or Van Cao street. The areas are newly developed and close to several westernized amenities.
There are a handful of restaurants and bars where expats usually hang out in. To get a taste of the best Vietnamese cuisine, Truc Lam or ‘Bamboo’ forest is the place to go. It is located in the city central area and widely known to serve good quality food. The most popular one is the hot pot and the restaurant also has many private dining rooms. For those who want to enjoy some Western dishes in Hai Phong should visit Maxim’s Restaurant and Bar. The restaurant serves many Western foods with a Vietnamese spin such as sandwiches, steaks, and pizza. It is also known for its delightful breakfast menu and diner-like interior.
The Texas BBQ and Bar is also a famous place for expats, which offers Western favorites ranging from pizza to barbeque. It also serves some Mexican food. Another great place worth considering is The Lounge Bar at Harbor View Hotel that has a pleasant atmosphere with its live piano music and leisurely dining experience. It is also the place where expats hang out for cocktails and beer.
The nightlife in Hai Phong is not as active as other major cities in Vietnam. However, there are some good pubs and nightclubs to hang out, such as The MDM Music Club, Tom Karaoke, Cheers Pub, Buzz Pub, The Fox, and New Maxims.
Weather and Climate in Hai Phong
Hai Phong experiences a humid subtropical climate and the summer is hot and humid while the winter is warm and dry. Spring starts in March and ends in May with the temperature ranging from 21 °C to 31 °C. Summer runs from June to August and the temperature is warmer and the city which is overflowing with tourists. June and July are the hottest months, with the temperature rising as high as 33 °C. Autumn begins in October and the weather is very pleasant during these months, attracting even more tourists than in the summer. Winter months are from December to February and the average temperature in winter is around 16 °C to 18 °C.
Getting Around in Hai Phong
Cat Bi International Airport is the main gateway to Hai Phong. It has domestic flights to various cities in Vietnam as well as international flights to Bangkok, Macau, and Seoul. The most affordable option to fly with is with budget airlines such as JetStar Pacific Airlines and VietJet Air. You can also reach Ha Phong from Hanoi using the rail link which cost around VND 200,000. Although it is pretty slow, you can enjoy the view of the Long Bien Bridge and Red River on your journey. There is also a new highway connection that connects Hai Phong with Hanoi.
A good choice to get around Hai Phong is by taxi. There are a lot of taxis around the city so you can easily get one. The average fare is around VND 14,000 to VND 16,000 per kilometer. The most reliable taxi companies are Dat Cang Taxi, Mai Linh Hai Phong Taxi, and Trung Kien Taxi. An inexpensive way to travel around the city is by local bus and it only costs about VND 10,000 per ticket. Since the city is relatively small, traveling on foot or by bicycle is also possible.
Work Visas in Hai Phong
Foreigners need to obtain a visa and work permit. There are three kinds of visa’s available: tourist visa, business visa, and diplomatic and official visa. To work in Hai Phong, you would also need to apply for a work permit and residential card. The legislation can change regularly, so it is advisable to check the procedures on the Vietnam Immigration before applying. Note that Vietnam only permits companies to recruit foreigners if there are no other local who meet the requirements.