Ha Long Bay airport set to open next spring

By Vi Vu   July 14, 2017 | 02:30 am PT
Ha Long Bay airport set to open next spring
Ha Long Bay draws tourists with a magnificent scene of more than 1,500 limestone karst islands popping up from turquoise waters. Photo by Meo Gia
The airport lies 31 miles from the famous bay and is designed to receive two million arrivals a year.

If you’ve always fancied a trip to Ha Long Bay but are not a fan of road travel, a new option is floating in the distance.

Local officials have announced that an international airport near the bay will be opened at the end of March next year, according to a Hanoi Moi report.

The airport, also the first private facility in Vietnam, will land on Van Don Island around 50 kilometers (31 miles) from the famous bay.

Official details are not yet available, but the $330 million project is designed to receive two million arrivals a year by 2020, and there are plans to expand the capacity to five million by 2030.

Vietnam’s government approved the project in 2014. A group of South Korean investors was originally assigned to build the airport, but after an early exit in 2015, local real estate conglomerate Sun Group took over.

Another Vietnamese company is also developing a $2 billion casino complex on the island.

Ha Long Bay was named a UNESCO world heritage site in 1994, and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Vietnam.

Visitor numbers rose 23 percent on-year from January-March to 944,000, including more than 800,000 foreigners, according to official figures.

The bay was used to film the recent Hollywood blockbuster "Kong: Skull Island", and has ben raved about by many travel bloggers.

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