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Apr 04, 2023 / 20:33

Hanoi once more orders tour operators to halt operations in railroad areas

Despite the restrictions, Hanoi's railway streets continue to draw domestic and international visitors.

Hanoi authorities on April 4 asked local travel agencies not to send visitors to neighborhoods along the railway in the inner districts of Ba Dinh and Hoan Kiem.

Foreign visitors enjoy coffee and beverage along the railway that crosses Phung Hung Street in Hoan Kiem District. Photo: Hoai Nam/The Hanoi Times

To ensure the safety of visitors, especially foreign visitors, the Hanoi Department of Tourism says that travel agencies are not allowed to arrange trips to the so-called "railway café streets".

The tourism department also asked businesses to inform their customers not to visit, take pictures of, or consume food or drinks in restricted areas.

The bureau also advised all companies and organizations to follow the laws on railway safety.

Violations will be dealt with by the department's inspection department.

In Hanoi, "railway café streets" have gained popularity as places where people can enjoy a drink while watching trains pass by. In Hoan Kiem and Ba Dinh districts, the railway crosses Hang Bong, Tran Phu, and Dien Bien Phu streets.

The first foreigners visited the railroad streets in the early 2000s. The earliest coffee shops didn't open until 2018. After their promotion in the international media in 2019, tourists flocked to the railway streets.

At the end of 2019, all commercial operations on the railroad were banned. The Covid-19 pandemic calmed the situation in 2020 and 2021, but with the reactivation of the tourist industry, the railway coffee shops were once again bustling.

In mid-September 2022, the Hoan Kiem District People's Committee issued a ban on all private businesses along the railway. According to the district's deputy chairman, Nguyen Anh Quan, the ban was put in place to ensure the safety of curious domestic and foreign visitors.

The ban was initially effective, but as authorities relaxed enforcement, local coffee shops welcomed visitors secretly.

Through local media and reports of people, local authorities acknowledge that many visitors have come to the railway street of Hang Bong Ward to take photos, Nguyen Hong Minh, deputy director of the Hanoi tourism department, said.

“Many of them are taken by buses and gather at barrier No. 5, causing traffic congestion and the risks of road accidents,” he said.