More than 200,000 people evacuated as city warned of worst storm in years.
More than 3,000 passengers were stranded in Hainan as ferries linking the island province with the Chinese mainland were suspended.
An area stretching more than 300km between the provinces of Thanh Hoa and Quang Binh faced “extreme danger” and people would have to be evacuated, according to a government report.
The national weather centre has said that the storm would arrive on Wednesday and Lekima would later weaken into a depression as it moved inland to the northwest.
The government also warned of landslides and flash floods in the central provinces.
The storm, which killed five people in the Philippines last week, is not expected to disrupt the production of coffee, rice and crude oil, Vietnam’s key export products.