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What's everyone got against Haiphong?
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Joined: 26 Oct 2010
Posts: 85

PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2012 8:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hai Phong reminded me of a Saigon with its roads and shops. Aside from the weather, I didn't see any major red flags as to why living there wouldn't be an option.
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Joined: 20 Sep 2009
Posts: 837

PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 3:49 am    Post subject: how about this one? Reply with quote

I would suggest that we use this thread to ask new questions about Hai Phong, as it already has a lot of info on it, and then both the new member and any other interested readers can have the benefit of what is already posted. Additionally, people who have already contributed do not have to repeat themselves.

Using the search function on this great site will really improve your experience here.
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Joined: 11 Jul 2010
Posts: 23

PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 5:06 pm    Post subject: Re: What's everyone got against Haiphong? Reply with quote

catflap wrote:
I've read a few very negative post about Haiphong on this and other forums.
What's so bad about the place? I'm currently working in a v dull town a few clicks outside Hanoi and thinking of a change. I went down to Haiphong a couple of weekends ago just to look around and it seemed quite a nice town with a number of decent bars and restaurants - paradise compared to where I am now. It's a decent sized place so there must be some opportunities for English teachers. Does anyone know what the local job market is like and if anyone down there is hiring at the moment?

I would say go with your gut; your instinctual impression is probably the best gague in circumstances such as these. While in Hai Phong, eat some crab noodles. They are great. The noodles there are pretty darned good and just as inexpensive as pho in Ha Noi. I have been going there (HP) for a little while now, and I have never been molested or conned. I am thinking that if you can hack it there, then you have got some character to you.

I would also suggest not riding alone if you are going by motorbike to Do Son beach. Some rough customers occupy that thoroughfare.

I think it is a very interesting place to be.
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Joined: 27 Jan 2010
Posts: 34
Location: Earthquake zone

PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2012 11:45 pm    Post subject: Haiphong and Do Son Reply with quote

It is true that Haiphong has a reputation for crime, violence and corruption. and it is true that the nearby resort of Do Son has a reputation for prostitution.

I have been living and working in both places since June this year. Please do not believe people who paint both places as dangerous dens of iniquity and sleaziness. It is simply not the case.

Maybe those who post such comments are a little wet behind the ears and not used to places off the beaten track, If they don't like to be away from their western creature comforts, they should stay in Hanoi or HCM city.

Firstly, it is nonsense that you shouldn't ride a bike from HP city to Do Son alone. Hahaha. Utter tripe. I and other guys I work with do so every week and have been doing for months. The most dangerous thing that can happen on that road is that a stray buffalo or horse might amble out in front of you.

Haiphong is not a tourist city and as such is not geared to westerners. Don't expect to services and food to be on equal footing to other places you have travelled to in VN. However, it has a vibrant cafe scene, a couple of expat bars, modern/kicking discos (nightclubs), live music venues and late at night ice cream parlours where you can sit back and watch the world go by. Parkson does have a 6 screen cinema, bowling alley and games centre. While HP city has plenty of billiard halls and enough shops and markets to keep you occupied, if you like that kind of thing.

I ride and walk all over the city, by day and night on a regular basis. as do my colleagues. I have never been accosted, mugged or been the mark for any kind of scam. People may not be as refined as in other cities in VN but they are generally friendly and polite. That is what I have encountered and experienced.

It is true to HP is limited re entertainment and western cuisine when compared to other cities in VN but it does have decent restuarants with western menus.

Do Son, 20km down the road is portrayed on the net by some people as a kind of wild west town. Again, it seems these people don't get out much. I live there and am in a position to tell you that you don't need to be nervous about coming here. It is tame by comparison to many other places I can think of. Bognor Regis at night has more menace that DS.
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Joined: 25 Apr 2010
Posts: 466
Location: North Viet Nam

PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 8:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have resided in Hai Phong for a couple of years (no longer, thank the stars) but I haven't been in Do Son for about a year now (I avoid that place like the plague). Last time I visited was in January 2012.....STILL had guys grabbing my arm "Hey! Hey! Boom boom?? Massa? Massa?" LITERALLY every thirty metres there.

If ya wanna tell me that Do Son has become Disneyland in the span of 11 months, hey, happy to hear that! Still, I can't imagine they've been able to do much with the polluted water and the rubbish-strewn beaches there.

Riding a motorbike between Do Son and Hai Phong is a joke!! IF I remember correctly, the road is even brightly illuminated! NO problems there!

From what I am told, given The British Council's recent presence in Do Son and their contract to teach municipal employees to speak rudimentary English, there's now a fairly large government/police presence there, so (for now) things are very much under control in terms of safety in Do Son.

As for Hai Phong, I was just back there visiting friends about five weeks ago! Even when I lived there, there wasn't "violent" crime really - a couple Tay guys I knew had knives pulled on them after actually looking for prostitutes (you don't have to look very far in Hai Phong) and, in another incident, one Tay girl was riding on the back of a Xe Om and had a small faux Gucci handbag snatched from her (which then sent her sprawling to the pavement) by two guys on a motorbike in a snatch-and-grab-and-ride deal. She suffered a hairline fracture to her forearm, but was otherwise all right. She went back to Australia two days later.

Still, in two years of residing there, that is ALL that I have heard a city of more than 2,000,000 people, I can't say that it is a dangerous place.....far from dangerous, long as you don't do anything stupid.

There really wasn't much in the way of amusement and entertainment there at all. Parkson/TD Plaza (which I visited five weeks ago with my friends) has a very nice eight-screen multi-plex, but the bowling alley was stunningly at WESTERN PRICES (65,000VND/$3.10USD/₤2 for each game of bowling played - when I left town two years or so ago, the bowling alley was priced at around 30,000VND - 35,000VND per game). I don't know about NOW, but when I lived there, Hai Phong didn't quite have the ca$h flowing around freely like Ha Noi and HCMC did.....maybe that's changed, I don't know. Maybe there are more Tay there now to warrant higher bowling prices as opposed to when I departed.

There's ONE "ex-pat" bar that my friends there knew about in Hai Phong and took me to (a place with the traditional Vietnamese name of "Julie's")......loud music and 30,000VND for a Bia Ha Noi. But Hai Phong had (when I left a couple of years ago....possibly more now) at least five nightclubs/discos, if that is what you are into.

IF you're lucky enough to be able to latch on to a B.C. gig, then Do Son's not a bad place at all.....otherwise, if you end up in Hai Phong, Cat Ba Island is a much better place to spend your hoilday time.
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Joined: 11 Jul 2010
Posts: 23

PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2012 5:52 am    Post subject: Re: Haiphong and Do Son Reply with quote

Firstly, it is nonsense that you shouldn't ride a bike from HP city to Do Son alone. Hahaha. Utter tripe.

I don't mean to offend anyone's sensibilities about the place, I'm just writing from personal experience and from advice given to me by some people there, one of which is a policeman.

The road from HP to Do Son is great. It's a straight shot with very few potholes, if any. As far as Vietnam goes, the safety aspect in terms of the contruction of the road is quite good.

I should clarify that I think it should be suggested not to ride alone. I wasn't intending to be so severe about that particular point. We take risks everyday getting out on the road most anywhere, but on the road to Do Son there seems to be a hightened possibility of being messed with by these roving couples of young dudes on motorbikes. In the city, if you were to be threatened by anyone on the road you could just simply get off the bike and wait in a crowd of people and let the nastiness blow over. The road to Do Son is long and there's really nowhere to go except straight. It just seems more exposed than other places, at least to me.

One day I was riding to Do Son with a friend. We were with others on the way to have a crab lunch on the beach, and I had sped ahead of the pack, as-it-were. After a bit, two young dudes came up along side us and were scrutinizing us pretty closely in a fairly intimidating fashion. They were zipping around on their side of the road like a couple of stuntmen. I tried my best to comport myself in a way to avoid confrontation. Just as I began to assume that something terrible was really about to go down, they sped off real quick with a few choice words that I didn't catch.

They then decided, while riding in front of us, to change positions on the motorbike as they were riding down the road! The guy riding in the back switched places with the guy controlling the bike while going around 60. It was amazing. I was glad nothing embarrasing or violent happened.

This encounter wasn't so surprising, especially after my friends' warnings. I was told that stuff like this is not uncommon. Yet I could also agree that it's not a rampant Mad Max situation on that road either.

We got to the beach and ate crab. It was expensive and delicious. It was right on the beach with the taste of salt in the air. Nice indeed. We puttered around the hilly areas along the beach. Those red flowers the locals celebrate were in bloom and were quite beautiful. It was a nice day. The young dudes really didn't even bother us that much in the end.

Take it easy.

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