Foreigners crowd Hanoi Train Street coffee shops following removal order

By Lan Huong, Giang Huy   October 7, 2019 | 01:23 pm GMT+7

Foreign tourists thronged Hanoi’s famous train street last weekend over fears that a lot of its makeshift coffee shops would be shut down.

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Last Saturday, the Ministry of Transport ordered Hanoi authorities to close down selfie hotspots and makeshift coffee shops along both sides of the Hanoi Train Street as a safety measure. The "street" is formed by railway tracks running alongside Dien Bien Phu and Phung Hung streets in the heart of the Hanoi’s Old Quarter just a few feet away from residences on either side.

The highly unusual sight of a train running several hundred meters on tracks that are crowded closely on by residents’ homes draws hundreds of thousands of amazed tourists from within and outside the country every year.

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While the ministry said this increases risks of railway accidents, for many visitors, sitting in these shops near the tracks and watching one of just two trains passing through the section each day is a not-to-be-missed experience in Hanoi.

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Dung, sitting on the tracks while a friend takes her picture, said that this was the first time she was visiting the place. She was motivated to do so after hearing that the area could be closed. While seeing that it could get dangerous when a train passes, Dung felt people are alert to its passing and stand aside at that time.

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Juan Paplo (R), a tourist from Bolivia, said watching the train run right in front of your eyes is an interesting experience. While it does seem dangerous, authorities can take safety measures and retain the attractiveness of the place, Paplo said.

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This section of the tracks have become a favored haunt of many people, basically for taking selfies, creating a business opportunity for makeshift cafe owners.

Although it looks dangerous, locals have made full use of the track and the little space along it for daily activities and livelihood, sparking curiosity from foreign tourists. After appearing more than a few times on international sites and travel blogs, the rail has become an attraction.

Locals have made full use of the tracks and the little space to go about their daily lives normally, sparking great curiosity from foreign tourists.

After appearing more than a few times on international sites and travel blogs, the Hanoi Train Street has become a popular attraction.

As the train comes near, everyone clears the tracks and pulls their phones out to capture the scene.The tracks were built by the French, who used the railway to transport goods and people across Vietnam, which was then part of Indochina, along with Laos and Cambodia, more than a hundred years ago.During the Vietnam War, parts of the railway tracks were damaged by American bombs that rained down on the northern region.Today the original meter-gauge tracks are still a regular mode of transport for locals and tourists.

As the train comes near, everyone gets off the tracks to record the event on their phones.

The tracks were built by the French, who used them to transport goods and people across Vietnam, which was then part of Indochina, along with Laos and Cambodia, more than 100 years ago.

During the Vietnam War, parts of the railway tracks were damaged by American bombs that rained down on the northern region, but they were later repaired.

Today the original meter-gauge tracks are still a regular mode of transport for locals and tourists.

A warning sign is placed at the beginning of Tran Phu Street.

Ironically, the area’s popularity has prompted authorities to warn that it is a dangerous place. Pictured above is a warning placed at the beginning of Tran Phu Street.

 
 
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