Planning a Trip
By Bus -- Buses make the 2-hour connection frequently throughout the day from Hanoi's Kim Ma Station (to the east) to Haiphong. Haiphong also connects by bus with Halong City. The Haiphong bus station, Tam Bac, is just an 8,000 VND (55¢/£0.30) ride from the city center -- the usual tout circus. One way to avoid the hassles is to book with the unique Hoang Long Bus Company (in Hanoi, 28 Tran Nhat Duat, tel. 04/928-2828; in Haiphong, 3 Tran Nguyen Han, tel. 0313/700-778; on Cat Ba Island, tel. 0313/887-224), which runs very fast service by bus and high-speed boat four times daily from Cat Ba back to the mainland at Haiphong and on to Hanoi. Call directly or talk with your hotel front desk to arrange pickup.
By Train -- The Haiphong Railway Station is at 75 Luong Khanh Thien St. and is the terminus of the eastern spur from Hanoi. Daily connections leave from the Hanoi station in the morning and in the evening. Because good roads now connect with Haiphong, this trip is more or less for the train buff.
By Boat -- Boats regularly connect with Cat Ba Island from Haiphong's ferry pier on the northernmost tip of the town peninsula. You can book at any hotel front desk with the likes of the new boat and bus trip with Hoang Long Bus Company (11 Tran Nguyen Han; tel. 0313/700-778) or with local high-speed ferries exemplified by Thuong Nhat Transport Cooperative, among the many. Just hop on whichever boat is heading out next.
You'll find ATM service and a place to cash traveler's checks at Vietcombank in Haiphong (11 Hoang Dieu St.; tel. 0313/842-658). Open Monday to Saturday from 8am to 4pm, but closed for lunch 11:30am to 1:30pm. You'll find lots of budget Internet outfits throughout the city, but your best chance for a good connection is in the little storefront place at 36 Minh Khai (tel. 0313/745-598) for just 3,000 VND (20¢/£0.10) per hour. The main post office is at 5 Nguyen Tri Phuong St. (tel. 0313/823-789).