Saturday, 17 Nov 2018
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MY HANOI

Hanoi’s old railway is a real draw for tourists

Updated at Sunday, 28 Oct 2018, 13:49
The Hanoitimes - Hanoi city`s old tracks were first built by former colonial rulers France who used the railway to transport goods and people across Vietnam.
An article by the Paris-headquartered AFP news agency has highlighted that the French-built railroad tracks in Hanoi's Old Quarter have become a selfie hotspot for tourists, and for cafe owners serving up hot coffee and cold beer.
 
Hanoi’s old railway is a real draw for tourists: AFP
Hanoi’s old railway is a real draw for tourists. Photo: AFP
Though picturesque, they are also perilous: the tracks are still in use and most days visitors must scramble for safety as the daily train rumbles through the narrow streets. But for many, the thrill of dodging a speedy train is part of the appeal, AFP said.

"It was amazing but scary in the same sense, a little bit overwhelming being so close to the train," Australian tourist Michelle Richards told AFP.

The news agency noted that tracks were first built by former colonial rulers France who used the railway to transport goods and people across Vietnam, which was then part of Indochina, along with Laos and Cambodia.

During the Vietnam War, parts of Hanoi's colonial-era railway were badly damaged by American bombs that rained down on the communist-ruled north, AFP cited.

In the past few years, visitors to Hanoi have seized upon their photographic possibilities. Nowadays, the original meter-gauge tracks are still a mode of transport for tourists and travelers seeking a cheaper option, AFP stressed, saying that hemmed in by houses and cafes, the tracks offer a unique charm for budding travel photographers and a business opportunity for makeshift cafe owners who have set up shop. 

"It's got a really weird charm. You've got flowers from the balcony coming down, you've got buildings which are very old and close to each other. You see people here living close to the train tracks,” Hong Kong tourist Edward Tsim told AFP. 

"It's got a really weird charm. You've got flowers from the balcony coming down, you've got buildings which are very old and close to each other. You see people here living close to the train tracks,” Edward added.

As the train rumbles into view, everyone clears the tracks and pulls their phones out to capture the scene. "It felt like waiting for Christmas... and when it arrived, wow, it was something else," British tourist Paul Hardiman said, emphasizing that he felt like waiting for Christmas and when it arrived, it was well worth the wait.
Anh Kiet
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Vietnam pagodas: Special passion of a French photographer
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