Backpacker walking street takes a step back in Saigon

By VnExpress   July 12, 2017 | 10:35 am GMT+7
Backpacker walking street takes a step back in Saigon
Trucks and diggers can be seen along Bui Vien as the city rushes to turn the famous backpacker street into a pedestrian zone. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran

Construction delays have caused a setback.

The highly-anticipated Bui Vien walking street in Ho Chi Minh City’s backpacker district will not be finished on time to open this Saturday, government officials said on Tuesday.

Officials in District 1 said construction of the sidewalk is running behind schedule, and telecommunications cables and water pipes still need to be laid, local media reported.

A revised opening date has yet to be announced.

Despite the setback, the city will still start banning vehicles on Bui Vien from 7 p.m. until 2 a.m. starting this weekend.

Those who live on the street will be given a pass to allow them access to walk their motorbikes home.

Bui Vien is part of the city’s popular backpacker precinct. The tourist area pulls in around 2,000 tourists on its best days and earns more than VND37 billion ($1.63 million) a year.

The renovation plan will turn Bui Vien into the second walking street in the city after Nguyen Hue. New granite paving, stages for music performances, surveillance cameras, security guards, free wifi and public toilets are being installed at an estimated cost of VND13 billion ($572,300).

When the work is finally completed, the street will be reserved for pedestrians from 7 p.m. until 2 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, and live music shows will be held from 8-10 p.m., according to the plan.