HCMC to roll out double-decker bus tours this week

By Hoang Phong   January 13, 2020 | 12:43 am PT
HCMC to roll out double-decker bus tours this week
The double-decker bus tour in HCMC will depart from the iconic Saigon Central Post Office in downtown area every day. Photo by Shutterstock/Anh Duy.
Open top, double-decker bus services will be officially launched this Wednesday in HCMC amidst Hanoi’s lack of success.

The service will be available from 9 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. daily. Tickets will fetch VND330,000 ($14.3) for adults and VND250,000 ($10.8) for children from six to 12 years old. Children under five can enjoy a free trip.

Each bus is designed with 63 seats and two decks, with the upper part roofless so travelers could enjoy a better city view.

Departing from iconic downtown Saigon Central Post Office, the tour will wind its way past Nha Rong Wharf in District 4, Ho Chi Minh Campaign Museum on Le Duan Boulevard in District 1, the backpacker area of Pham Ngu Lao Street, the War Remnant Museum in District 3 and several other historic and cultural attractions.

Each journey will take approximately 30-35 minutes.

In late 2016, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc gave permission to Hanoi, HCMC and five other provinces and cities - Da Nang, Quang Nam, Thua Thien-Hue, Lam Dong, and Kien Giang - to launch open top bus tours on a trial basis.

In May last year, Hanoi commenced its first batch of double-decker buses, or City Tours. The first route runs via 25 streets with 13 stops, taking passengers past 30 city attractions, including St. Joseph’s Cathedral on Nha Chung Street, the Vietnamese Women’s Museum on Ly Thuong Kiet Street and Hoa Lo Prison on Hoa Lo Street. Ticket prices range from VND196,000 ($8.5) to VND650,000 ($28).

Hanois double-decker bus. Photo by VnExpress/Anh Trung.

Hanoi's double-decker bus. Photo by VnExpress/Anh Trung.

However, the first route only managed to attract seven passengers per ride in July, according to a report from Hanoi's department of transport last month. The department blamed the line’s lackluster performance on the small number of buses, long waiting times and high ticket prices.

Open-top tour buses are popular in major cities around the world, including London, New York and Singapore.

Double-decker buses are expected to give the tourism industry a major push and enrich the travel experience for foreign tourists, HCMC's department of transport explained.

The southern metropolis, teeming with skyscrapers, French colonial buildings and war relics, received over 8.6 million foreign visitors in 2019, up 13 percent year-on-year, according to its tourism department.

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