Vietnam's capital lifts midnight 'curfew'

By Vo Hai   August 24, 2016 | 02:44 am PT
Restaurants, bars will be keeping their doors open into the early hours.

In an explicit gesture to bring tourists more nightlife, Hanoi's municipal administration has given restaurants and bars in Hoan Kiem District the go-ahead to open until 2 a.m. from Friday to Sunday starting September 1.

The city, which announced the decision Wednesday, has also made it clear that businesses that stay open past midnight must meet security criteria, register with the district and be soundproofed so as not to wake the neighbors.

The idea behind the plan is to pull in more tourists, particularly foreigners, and control late-night business operations in Hanoi, because many have ignored the current curfew and stayed open after midnight anyway, according to the city’s leaders.

At present all performance shows, dance clubs and karaoke bars are banned from opening between 12 a.m. and 8 a.m. Internet cafes and other recreational services are banned from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m.

Business owners and tourists in Hanoi's Old Quarter seem to think it is a good idea.

The pilot scheme is part of a bigger plan to boost Hanoi's status as a tourism destination, alongside the 1,000 public toilets and 50 drinking fountains it is about to install, as well as a plan to free up roads for pedestrians around Hoan Kiem Lake and free city-wide wifi, even on buses.

TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site, last month named Hanoi as the least expensive international destination.

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