Saigon double-decker bus tours to bolster tourism

By Quynh Tran   January 21, 2020 | 04:55 pm GMT+7

Open-top, double-decker buses for sightseeing, which were launched in Ho Chi Minh City last Wednesday, are expected to give the city's tourism a big push.

For buses have rolled their wheels into the city since January 15 where passengers are provided with free wifi, Vietnam’s traditional leaf hat or non la, drinks, and free interpretation service.  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.

Departing from the Saigon Central Post Office, the tour winds 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 Remnants Museum in District 3, and several other historical and cultural attractions.

The service is available daily from 9 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. Tickets cost VND330,000 ($14.3) for adults and VND250,000 ($10.8) for children aged six to 12 years. It is free for younger kids.

Passengers get free wifi, a traditional Vietnamese leaf hat or non la, drinks, and a free guide.

The tour has attracted many enthusiasts since its inauguration.  Each bus is designed with 63 seats and two decks, with the upper part roofless so travelers could enjoy a better city view.  Each journey will take approximately 30-35 minutes.

The tour, which takes 30-35 minutes, has been popular since its inauguration. The buses have 63 seats, with the upper part being roofless for travelers to enjoy unimpeded views. 

Nguyen Khoa Luan, director of Anh Viet Company, which offers the tour, said: "In a year of operation in Hanoi we got 120,000 passengers. HCMC has many beautiful architectural works and entertainment centers, I believe the open top buses will become very popular here."

Hanoi got its first batch of open-top buses for City Tours in May last year.

Robi and his wife from Sweden are among the passengers of Saigon’s double-decker bus service which Robi said he’s quite pleased with.  Sightseeing on a bus allows him to visit many places and save time and energy on the fly. Foreign visitors can listen to an automatic interpreting audio voice at each attraction, Robi added.

Robi from Sweden said he was quite pleased since sightseeing by bus enabled him and his wife to visit many places while saving time and effort. Visitors can listen to a description of each attraction on a public address system, he said.

A local passenger Thanh Xuan, 28 said: I don’t have motion sickness sitting on the bus, it’s airy and cool, there’s lots of space, and the bus runs quite smoothly. But visitors should aim for morning or late afternoon to avoid the heat.

Thanh Xuan, 28, a local, said: "I don’t have motion sickness sitting on the bus, it’s breezy and cool, there’s a lot of space, and the bus runs quite smoothly. But visitors should do it in the morning or late afternoon to avoid the heat."

Passengers can also take a seat at the ground floor of the bus which has 16 seats in total and a TV screen.

Passengers can also seat on the lower deck, which has 16 seats and a TV screen.

The investor of the service said they will open a new route in June, taking visitors to Cho lon area or China town located on the west bank of the Ho Chi Minh River, mainly over district five.  Double-decker buses are expected to give the tourism industry a major push and enrich the travel experience for foreign tourists, HCMCs 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.  The investor is also eyeing other tourist destination cities to launch the service, including Ha Long City, Hue, Hoi An, Nha Trang, Da Lat, and Phu Quoc in the near future.

Anh Viet Company said it plans to begin a new route in June, taking visitors to the Cho lon area, also known as Chinatown, mainly in District 5.

Double-decker buses could give the tourism industry a big push by enriching the travel experience of foreign tourists, the city Department of Transport said.

The southern metropolis, which teems with skyscrapers, French colonial buildings and war relics, received over 8.6 million foreign visitors in 2019, up 13 percent from the previous year, official data shows.

Anh Viet is also eyeing other tourist cities to launch the service, including Ha Long, Hue, Hoi An, Nha Trang, Da Lat, and Phu Quoc, in the near future.

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