Five tourist hotspots wishing to exit the frame

By Tam Linh    September 18, 2020 | 05:32 am PT
Hao Sy Phuong Alley in Saigon, Hanoi's Long Bien Bridge, and Nha Bo Slope in Da Lat are among some Vietnamese destinations straining against the tide of disruptive, camera-wielding tourists.

Hao Sy Phuong Alley, Saigon

Hao Sy Phuong Alley. Photo by VnExpress/Di Vy.

Hao Sy Phuong Alley in Saigon. Photo by VnExpress/Di Vy.

Hao Sy Phuong Alley in Ward 11, District 5 has been inhabited by Chinese migrants since 1910, drawing many visitors with its picturesque architecture and idyllic daily customs.

Due to concerns over the spread of Covid-19, noise and possible damage to their old buildings, residents here banned all photography and filming activities starting August this year.

Video by VnExpress/Hien Duc, Khoa Nguyen.

Long Bien Bridge, Hanoi

Long Bien Bridge in Hanoi. Photo by VnExpress.

Long Bien Bridge in Hanoi. Photo by VnExpress.

The 2.29-kilometer Long Bien Bridge was built between 1898 and 1902 by French colonialists, originally called Doumer Bridge after Paul Doumer, a French governor-general of Indochina. At the time of construction, it was one of the four longest bridges in the world.

Renamed Long Bien in 1954 when Vietnamese forces took control of Hanoi, the 118-year-old structure was the first Red River crossing, with one rail track in the middle and two side lanes for small vehicles.

The rail track in Long Bien District has served as background in many photoshoots, though posing considerable danger to camera crews who illegally scale the railings and violate Vietnamese law on railway safety.

Video by VnExpress/Chau Dong.

Nha Bo Slope, Da Lat

Nha Bo Slope. Photo from the Go Go Sisters movie (2018).

Nha Bo Slope in Da Lat. Photo from the Go Go Sisters movie (2018).

Situated at the end of Dao Duy Tu Street, Ward 4 of famous resort town Da Lat in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong, the slope is famed for its idyllic beauty as portrayed in Nguyen Quang Dung’s 2018 comedy "Thang Nam Ruc Ro" (Go-Go Sisters).

The 480-meter steep slope was originally a short-cut for the locals passing through the town, before being invaded by flocks of tourists lining up to shoot selfies. Inundated with visitors, the steep route poses a considerable risk of slipping, especially during the rainy season.

In April 2020, the local community put up a prohibition sign warning against photographing and filming on the slope, though it was later taken down for violating official regulations.

Ton That Dam Apartment Building, Saigon

Ton That Dam apartment building. Photo acquired by VnExpress.

Ton That Dam Apartment Building in Saigon. Photo acquired by VnExpress.

Ton That Dam, an old apartment building in District 1's Nguyen Thai Binh Ward, was built in 1886 in the French colonial time. Its old architecture, beautiful view of the nearby Tau Hu Waterway, and chic cafes have drawn scores of visitors to this nostalgic relic of the past.

To stem the growing noise and waste disposal problem, the building management has charged tourists an optional maintenance fee ranging from VND30,000 to VND50,000 ($1.29-$2.16).

Besides, all tourists coming to take pictures or record videos are required to inform the management board in advance.

Mid-autumn toy-selling streets, Hanoi and HCMC

Hang Ma Street in Hanoi. Photo by VnExpress/Ngan Duong.

Hang Ma Street in Hanoi. Photo by VnExpress/Ngan Duong.

During the lunar Mid-Autumn Festival each year, children traditionally receive new toys. During a few weeks prior to the festival, toy stores along Luong Nhu Hoc Street in Saigon's District 5 or Hang Ma Street in Hanoi's Hoan Kiem District exude a festive atmosphere.

However, increased visitor numbers during this period severely affect commerce as many store fronts are simply used as photo backdrops.

For this reason, many shops have applied a no-photography policy during the past few years, with some charging an intentionally high fee to deter "intrusion."

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