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Hai Phong

Introduction
Hai Phong is the largest port in northern Vietnam and serves the vital role of linking Hanoi with shipping routes in the East Sea. Though it is Vietnam's third largest city with a population of two million, you would hardly realize it from the city's relatively quiet, tree-lined streets and crumbling colonial buildings.

The French colonized Hai Phong in 1874, converting it from a small market town into a major port. During the war the city was bombed repeatedly. A number of Hai Phong's bridges were destroyed and rebuilt – a testament to the perseverance of Hai Phong's citizens. Surprisingly, much of the French architecture survived the bombings and the city's center retains its colonial charm. Notable points of interest include the 17th century Du Hang Pagoda and the Hang Kenh Communal House.

Places of interest

Du Hang Pagoda
Although recently restored, the pagoda’s origins date back to the Tran Dynasty (1225-1400). The pagoda has a beautiful Chinese-style garden with several inner courtyards and houses a number of Buddhist relics, including bronze urns, statues of the Buddha, bells, gongs, ancient prayer books and Buddhist scripts.

Hang Kenh Communal House
Hang Kenh Communal House was built in 1856 and expanded in 1905. The communal house is famous for its valuable wooden dragon sculptures and remnants of Imperial Vietnam. The house has over 300 dragons of different shapes and sizes. From the 16th to 18th centuries, the house was used each Lunar New Year for celebrations and as a gathering point for Hai Phong's citizens.