If Hanoi seems too overwhelming, Haiphong is the ideal substitute. Located in northern Vietnam, this commercial and industrial metropolis seems like a smaller yet less hectic version of the capital city. Haiphong may not have the awe-inspiring sights of Hanoi, but it has its own attractions. It is home to a number of temples, pagodas, mausoleums and other architectural sights. Two of the best places to check out in the area are the Central An Bien Park and Hang Kehn Communal House. The city is also known as 'The City of Flame Flowers' mainly because of the flame flower trees that line most of the streets.
Haiphong is close to other famous attractions in Vietnam. Do Son Beach, a tourist destination located between the rivers of Lach Tray and Van Uc, is found 21km southeast from the city. The beach town is where people gather annually for the Do Son Buffalo Fighting Festival. Also near Haiphong is Cat Ba Island, an island 45km east of the city. The north-eastern part of the island has been turned into Cat Ba National Park, an area that features a protected marine zone.