Living in Hai-Phong
My name’s Tom. I’m a 23-year-old English teacher and for the past 3 months I have been working for Dang Tuan Language Centre in Hai-Phong, and hopefully this short blog will shed some light on what it is like to live in Hai-Phong city for any potential future teachers at DTLC.
Firstly (and quite importantly too), do not let your first impression form the basis of your opinion on this city. The first areas of the city you will likely see may leave you feeling a little bit anxious and thinking “Bloody hell, what have I signed myself up for???” but the reality is that Hai-Phong is a perfectly nice place to live. There are an abundance of cafes, little corner shops and restaurants, ranging from Vietnamese and Japanese to more familiar western options, within a 20 minute walk (or even less on a motorbike) of the accomodation provided to us by DTLC. There are also football pitches, volleyball courts and a couple of gyms within close proximity. A little bit further out, about 50,000 dong (£2) in a taxi away is the big supermarket, cinema (which shows films in English with Vietnamese subtitles and is also right above a bowling alley) and a rooftop pool. Then there’s the centre of town, which is quite nice and has a few pubs and bars, a decent market and a shopping centre which has a bookshop that has a small selection of English books. Little things matter.
For me though, one of the most important things Hai-Phong has going for it is its location. Or to be more precise, the location of other things in relation to Hai-Phong. Because, nice though it is, it isn’t the most vibrant, pulsating city on the planet and on the weekend you can find yourself out of ideas of what to do. The solution is to go somewhere else. The old quarter in Hanoi, Halong bay and Cat Ba island are all within 2 hours of Hai-Phong, the latter 2 both have some of the most extraordinary scenery you could ever dream of.
I hope that if you are considering teaching in Hai-Phong, or Vietnam in general, you have found this blog helpful. I’ve come to find Hai-Phong to be a perfectly nice place to live. I’m sure you will too.