City to launch new river tours

February 23, 2013 | 09:42
(0) user say
In Ho Chi Minh City, home to a diverse system of canals and rivers, officials are focusing on developing seven new river routes to meet the demand of both domestic and foreign visitors, a Phap Luat (Law) newspaper report says.

Saigon River

According to the report, these will include three short routes tours crossing inner-city rivers and canals, two medium routes connecting suburban areas and neighboring provinces, and two long routes linking the city with Mekong Delta provinces to the south and Cambodia.

Nguyen Thi Hong, vice chairwoman of the city People’s Committee, told Phap Luat that the launch of new river tours is the city’s first priority in 2013, and is aimed at diversifying local tourism in a bid to attract more visitors to the city.

One of the first tasks that local government will take care of this year is the building of more piers and terminals at stopover stations on the tour connecting Ben Nghe in District 1 and Tau Hu in District 8.

Nguyen Viet Anh, head of the Travel Division under the HCMC Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, told the newspaper that surveys conducted since mid-2012 show stopovers on all river tours in the city have been launched.

For instance, the short Ben Nghe – Tau Hu tour will take passengers from Bach Dang port in District 1 to Long Hoa pagoda in District 8. Visitors using this route will have a chance to see both ancient and modern architecture along Vo Van Kiet Highway.

Meanwhile, travelers on the medium route tours starting from upstream sections of the Saigon River will have stops at the Binh Quoi – Thanh Da eco-tourism site, Ben Dinh Tunnel, A Glimpse of Vietnam artisan village, and the Cu Chi Tunnels. They will also travel to other trade villages in dense canals on sampans.

Those who book trips to Can Gio rural district will be offered varied waterway tourism products like the use of kayaks or a visit to salt fields on foot.

“In a vision to 2020, the city will develop a network of waterway tours which not only possess traits of a modern city but also keep a rustic image of the south with its dense river and canal network,” Anh said.

Unsteady bridges, piers

Ngo Dang Quang Hai, a local transport official, told Phap Luat that the bridges and piers on these river tours are small and unsteady. As a result large boats are unable to dock, and therefore have to offload their passengers onto smaller vessels.

Regarding this matter, Ngo Dinh Quang, director of the municipal Inland Port Authority, said the department of transport will begin construction of a network of piers and bridges going through districts 1, 8, 9 and Cu Chi and Can Gio rural districts this year.

“The network will connect the ancient quarter and traditional Chinese medicine shops with Binh Tay market and the flower markets along Binh Dong wharf,” Quang was quoted as saying in the newspaper.

According to Viet Anh, more needs to be done to make the river tours more appealing to visitors, such as dealing with pollution. In fact, many waterways within the city are polluted with rubbish discarded by people living in dilapidated houses along them.

One more problem is that many tourists complained that they are mainly offered tours to historic and cultural relic sites, which many find boring.

7 new river tours (departure from Bach Dang port)

3 short-route tours: using small motorboats that can hold 20 passengers each.

- Inner-city tours around districts 1, 4, 6, and 8 crossing Kenh Te, Kenh Doi, Tau Hu, Lo Gom, and Ben Nghe canals.

- Tours to the Village of Artists in District 2, crossing the Saigon River.
- Tours to Binh Quoi – Thanh Da eco-tourism site, crossing the Saigon River.

2 medium-route tours with high-speed motorboats:

- Tour to Ben Duoc Memorial Temple in Cu Chi District, distance: 70km, crossing the Saigon River.

- Tours to the Cultural and Historical Park in District 9, distance: 50km, crossing the Saigon and Dong Nai rivers.

2 long-route tours with large boats, 2 to 4 days:

- Tours to Nha Be and Can Gio districts and maybe Vung Tau province, distance: 75km, using the Saigon, Nha Be, and Long Tau rivers.

- Tours from Binh Chanh district in Ho Chi Minh City and Long An province to Mekong Delta provinces and Cambodia, route: Kenh Te, Kenh Doi and Cho Dem canals, Ben Luc and Tien rivers, upper-stream sections of the Mekong river.

Tuoi tre news

What the stars mean:

★ Poor ★ ★ Promising ★★★ Good ★★★★ Very good ★★★★★ Exceptional