Roads to Saigon coach station jammed as migrants go home for Lunar New Year

By Quynh Tran   February 10, 2018 | 10:57 pm GMT+7

As the big holiday is but less than a week away, most migrants in Saigon have started going home to celebrate with their families.

At noon on Saturday, six days before Lunar New Year, key roads leading to the Mien Dong (Eastern) Coach Station such as National Highway 13, Dinh Bo Linh, Nguyen Xi and Xo Viet Nghe Tinh streets were all jammed.

At noon on Saturday, six days before Lunar New Year (Tet), key roads leading to the Mien Dong (Eastern) Coach Station such as National Highway 13, Dinh Bo Linh, Nguyen Xi and Xo Viet Nghe Tinh streets were all jammed.

Vehicles on Binh Trieu Bridge could only move at a snails pace, and even the bridges sidewalk was occupied by a long line of motorbikes.

Vehicles on Binh Trieu Bridge could only move at a snail's pace, and even the bridge's sidewalk was occupied by a long line of motorbikes.

A motorcyclist loses balance and slips back onto the road.

A motorcyclist loses balance and slips back onto the road. Roads in Vietnam's biggest cities get jammed in the days leading up to Tet as residents go shopping, send gifts and migrants head home for family reunions.

Since about a week before Tet, passing by the Mien Dong Coach Station is a nightmare for many. This area is jammed from dawn to dusk, Vo Hai, a xe om (motorbike taxi) driver said.

"Since about a week before Tet, passing by the Mien Dong Coach Station has been a nightmare for many. This area is jammed from dawn to dusk," Vo Hai, a xe om (motorbike taxi) driver said.

The area in front of the station is in chaos as coaches bound for northern and central provinces start departing.

The area in front of the station is in chaos as coaches bound for northern and central provinces start departing. Around a third of Saigon's population of 13 million are migrants, according to a World Bank report published in 2016. 

Inside the station, all seats were occupied with people waiting for their coaches.

Inside the station, all seats were occupied with people waiting for their coaches.

Most passengers had their hands full with luggage and Tet gifts for family and friends back home. After finishing the afternoon shift, I immediately caught a taxi back to my place to grab luggage and head home for Tet, said Hoang Lan from the Central Highland province of Gia Lai. The traffic jam is terrible. I was afraid Id be late so I walked here.

Most passengers had their hands full with luggage and Tet gifts for family and friends back home.

"After finishing the afternoon shift, I immediately caught a taxi back to my place to grab luggage and head home for Tet," said Hoang Lan from the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai. "The traffic jam is terrible. I was afraid I'd be late so I walked here."

Le Dinh Manh, a 19-year-old student at the Border Guard Academy, had to ask at multiple ticket booths before he could secure a ticket to his home in the Central Highland province of Dak Nong. I study in Hanoi but decided to take a flight to Saigon then catch a coach home. This way Im less tired, plus flight tickets to Ho Chi Minh City are cheap, Manh said.

Le Dinh Manh, a 19-year-old student at the Border Guard Academy, had to ask at multiple ticket booths before he could secure a ticket to his home in the Central Highlands province of Dak Nong. "I study in Hanoi but decided to take a flight to Saigon then catch a coach home. This way I'm less tired, plus flight tickets to Ho Chi Minh City are cheap," Manh said.

Many people were tired and chose to take a nap while waiting for their coaches. It took me nearly an hour to get from Thu Duc District to the coach station. Both out on the streets and in the station, all I could see are vehicles and people, Kim Toan, 23, said.

Many people were tired and chose to take a nap while waiting for their coaches. "It took me nearly an hour to get from Thu Duc District to the coach station. Both out on the streets and in the station, all I could see are vehicles and people," Kim Toan, 23, said.

A baby falls asleep on the mothers shoulder.

A baby falls asleep on the mother's shoulder.

At 6 p.m., the roads around the station were still jammed, despite the presence of police officers regulating the traffic.

At 6 p.m., the roads around the station were still jammed, despite the presence of police officers regulating the traffic.

 
 
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