Urbanist Hanoi

BackHeritage » Vietnam » [Photos] The Two Sides of 1920s Hai Phong: Fancy Hotels and Seaside Shanties

[Photos] The Two Sides of 1920s Hai Phong: Fancy Hotels and Seaside Shanties

Established in the late 19th century, Hai Phong is one of Vietnam's five municipalities and the second-largest city in northern Vietnam, after Hanoi.

The black-and-white shots in this album were created throughout the 1920s, with some shot later in 1930. During this period, Hai Phong was part of Tonkin, a French protectorate encompassing the Red River Delta and surrounding mountainous regions. While their subject is tourism, one of the city’s major economic contributors, the photos depict two different sides of the hospitality industry: one catering to rich travelers with grand accommodations and linen tablecloths, and another enjoyed by casual locals participating in cultural festivals.

Built in 1922 in Kien An District, the Hôtel Restaurant’s upscale dining area could pass for the grandeur of today’s French-inspired resorts in Vietnam. And much like its contemporary successors, the hotel was a favorite spot for well-heeled travelers to unwind.

These shots, taken in July 1930, showcase the high-adrenaline activities of the city’s buffalo fights, part of Hai Phong’s famous Do Son Buffalo Fighting Festival. The event is held during the eighth month of the lunar calendar at Do Son Beach in eastern Hai Phong. From the old photos, it’s evident that this rather violent tradition has endured for eras. Revelers gathered around the ungulates to cheer them on, and even took part in tug-of-war games as part of the festival.

Elsewhere, on Cat Ba Island to the east of the city, fishing communities formed clusters of stilt houses right on the beach and made a living from harvesting marine resources.

[Photos via Flickr user manhhai]


Related Articles:

- New Proposals Suggest Repairing or Replacing Nam Dinh Cathedral With Replica

- [Photos] Saunter Across Hanoi's Old Quarter Streets in 1896

- [Photos] The Mekong Delta on the Brink of a New Decade


Related Articles

in Vietnam

A Meandering Photographic History of the Red River and Long Bien Bridge

Upon its completion in 1902, Hanoi’s Long Bien Bridge was the second-longest of its kind in the world — it was only a few hundred meters shorter than Brooklyn Bridge in New York City. 

in Vietnam

A Rare Look Inside the Hue Imperial Court in 1895 in Watercolor

'La cour de Hue' (The court of Hue) is a series of painting done by Nguyen Van Nhan in 1895, during the reign of Thanh Thai, emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty at the time.

in Vietnam

An Ancestral History of Northern Vietnam’s Railway Construction

We often see archival images of old Hanoi, but these photos are different - they are personal. The following shots, which come from a collection of five photo albums, are the only surviving record of ...

in Vietnam

New Proposals Suggest Repairing or Replacing Nam Dinh Cathedral With Replica

Back in May, a renovation plan to replace Bui Chu Cathedral in Nam Dinh Province with a newly built replica angered the public.

in Vietnam

Thong Nhat to Stop Producing Iconic Matchbox Brand Starting Next Year

Founded in 1956, Thong Nhat was one of the first factories built in the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.

in Vietnam

[Illustrations] Everyday Life in 1923 Northern Vietnam Through 10 Rare Sketches

It was a simpler time in Vietnam 100 years ago — just people going about their life without a single phone in sight.