If Hanoi seems too overwhelming , Haiphong is the ideal replacement. This port city is located in the north of Vietnam. The city is a commercial and industrial metropolis, but a smaller and less hectic version of the capital. Haiphong may not have Hanoi's awesome sights, but it has its own attractions. It is home to a number of temples, pagodas, mausoleums and other architectural sites. Two of the best places to check out in the area are Central An Bien Park and Hang Kehn Communal House. The city is also known as 'The City of Flame Flowers'.
The image of the suburbs of this city of two million inhabitants is determined by a large, smoking cement factory. So it is quite surprising that in the center of this somewhat quiet, orderly city there is a neighborhood with quiet spots, a subtle charm and beautiful flamboyants: tropical ornamental trees with bright red flowers.
There are casual clothing stores in shopping streets, such as the "Nguyen Duc Canh" and the "Hoang Van Thu". This shopping street is very good for shopping and there is a wide variety of affordable and fun items. The great thing is that most stores in Hai Phong follow all opening hours. That means they often start between 7 a.m. or 8 a.m. and stay open until around 11:30 p.m. However, some shops take an afternoon nap, especially on the hot summer days.
Hai Phong is also known for cheap eats; and Cho Ga is the largest seafood market in Hai Phong, if not in the whole country. The market has a wide variety of tasty fresh seafood.
Despite its turbulent recent history, ancient Hai Phong has been well preserved. The crescent-shaped, nineteenth-century heart, where most of the sights can be found, lies between the Tam Bac and the railway. On the north side of the main artery, Dien Bien Phu, is an area of wide avenues and the city's finest colonial architecture.
On Dien Bien Phu Street itself, you'll find a combination of hotels, banks and shops, and the Hai Phong Museum's classic wine-red façade at No. 66.
The museum is often closed during the advertised opening times, but you'll miss it not much to it: there is a collection of stuffed animals and some fairly interesting photos of Hai Phong under French rule.
Den Nghe Temple, at the corner of Me Linh and Le Chan, is known for its sculptures. The most beautiful can be found on the huge stone table in the first courtyard, but also look at the detailed friezes through the scented mist.