Visitor recalls horrific jeep ride experience in Vietnam tourist area

By Tu Nguyen   October 25, 2023 | 08:25 pm PT
Visitor recalls horrific jeep ride experience in Vietnam tourist area
Thanh Thuy's jeep is half submerged in Cu Lan Village Tourist Area, Lam Dong Province, in 2019. Photo courtesy of Thanh Thuy
Five years have passed, but Thanh Thuy of Da Nang cannot forget her scary jeep tour in the Cu Lan Village tourist area in the Central Highlands.

One day in 2019 before Covid, Thuy and her family took the jeep ride in the tourist area, around 15 kilometers from Da Lat, she says.

On the day it rained heavily but the management of the tourist area did not cancel the jeep tours.

But when their jeep was halfway in a stream, the water level rose suddenly with a large stream of water rushing in, causing the vehicle to almost flip over.

"The driver had good driving skills. I thought my jeep was about to overturn but he was able to control it."

But the vehicle was more than half submerged, and everyone got out, walked a short distance and got on another jeep to return to the tourist area.

Thuy was very scared, but the driver smiled and acted as if "nothing happened."

She guesses many similar incidents have occurred there and she is not the only person to encounter it.

Cu Lan Village, located at the foot of Lang Biang Mountain, opened in 2011 and has been named by UNESCO as a "cultural tourist destination worth visiting."

It offers visitors camping in the forest and off-road jeep tours among other activities.

They have to buy tickets for VND150,000 (US$6) to travel by jeep eight kilometers through forests, streams and generally difficult terrain. The vehicles travel in convoys, each with four passengers.

Minh Anh, Thuy's daughter, had been "horrified" to see her mother's jeep almost overturn and half submerge in the water.

She says the terrain is quite dangerous, especially when the weather is bad.

On Tuesday a jeep with four South Korean tourists aged 68-79 capsized when a shallow stream became a torrent.

The driver escaped with his life but the tourists were less fortunate.

Following the tragic accident, the tourism area is temporarily closed.

G B Q Company, which owns the area, is working with authorities to find out what exactly happened.

An official from the Lam Dong Province Department of Transport told VnExpress in 2017 that a team of government inspectors had found many jeeps in the tourist area "failed to meet technical standards."

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