Cat Bi International Airport (HPH) is located between the Chinese border and Hanoi. It’s because of its unique political location that the airport has a long history of military use during the Indo-China War and the subsequent Vietnam War, before transitioning into a modern civilian airport.

To avoid confusion, the airport also goes under the name Hai Phong International Airport, which is a major port city nearby to the airport.

History of HPH Airport

Originally built by the French and used as a launchpad for their regional air force, the airport saw plenty of activity up until the retreat of western forces in 1954. From here it became an airfield for the new Vietnam People’s Air Force and was bombed by American Forces during the course of the war.

Image of the exterior of Cat Bi International Airport in Vietnam
Cat Bi International Airport. Photo: Challenger2016

After the war, the runway and terminal building were relegated into a small regional airport for many years, serving local residences and the occasional military aircraft. However, when the Vietnam government decided to review many of their regional airports to develop the rural regions, Cat Bi made the list and was pegged for some major upgrades.

In 2016, the Vietnam Government finished upgrading the airport with an extended second runway (able to take widebody long-haul aircraft like the Airbus A350 and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner) and a new terminal building that can support up to two million new passengers per year. Further upgrades are underway to allow up to five million passengers a year, and not a moment too soon as 2.8 million passengers flew into the airport in 2018.

Airlines at HPH

Speaking of flights, the airport has a range of international carriers flying in from nearby destinations. Most flights are from Ho Chi Minh City in the south (Hanoi tourists take a bus or land transport), Da Nang and Nha Trang. There are international flights from Seoul, Changshui, Bangkok and Shenzen. Major carriers that fly to Cat Bi / Hai Phong are:

  • Bamboo Airways
  • Jetstar Pacific
  • Vietjet Air
  • Vietnam Airlines
  • Sichuan Airlines
  • Donghai Airlines
Vietnam Airlines at Cat Bi International Airport. Photo: David McKelvey

Terminal at HPH

The airport itself is clean, new and rather empty as there are still not many passengers arriving or departing. Thus the crowds you might have experienced (or heard about) in the major cities of Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City don’t exist here.

You can arrive only ninety minutes or two hours before your international flight and only spend a few moments through immigration and security, However, this lack of crowds does come at a cost of services, with only a few limited food/drink options and not many auxiliary tourist services like money exchanges or ATMs.

Transportation at HPH

For those new arrivals, there are four main ways to get from the airport to the port city of Hai Phong.

The city is actually very close at around 7 km (4.3 miles), and 19 minutes in a normal taxi should be sufficient to get you from the airport to the hotel as quickly as possible. A taxi will be the most expensive option at 200,000 Dong (~$8.60 USD).

The 2nd option is to take the local bus. There are two buses, Bus No. 18 that goes to Le Hong Phong, and Bus No. 09 which heads to Lac Vien Le Hong Phong Intersection. The cost of the bus is far cheaper (at around 5,000 Dong per person, or ~$0.20 USD). The bus will take around an hour.

The other two options are the airport shuttle bus and a rentable bike taxi. The shuttle bus can be booked from the airport and will cost around the same price as a taxi, although you will likely be sharing it with other passengers. The bike taxi can be booked on the grab app and will cost about 7,000 Dong (~$0.30 USD) per kilometer. This places a trip to the center city at around 133,000 Dong (~$5.70 USD).

Details

Address: Hải An, Hai Phong, Vietnam

Code: HPH

Elevation: 4 m

Phone: 0225 3976 408