Night tours trending among Vietnamese youths

By Thanh Nga   January 10, 2024 | 02:47 am PT
Bao Minh, 27, took his camera to the Vietnam National Museum of History in Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, to join dozens of people on a 7pm night cycling tour.

According to Minh, ever since the Hanoi night cycling tour opened, he has participated every week as a way or his companions and him to relieve stress.

The Thang Long - Hanoi Night bicycle tour attracts many young people each session. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Nga

The "Thang Long - Hanoi Night" bicycle tour attracts many young people each session. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Nga

After 30 minutes at the Vietnam National Museum of History learning about the history of the Thang Long (Hanoi) Imperial Citadel, one of the nation’s historical old capital’s, Minh and the group hopped on a bus to the Opera House, from which point the group took off on two wheels to enjoy other cultural sights: the Hanoi Flag Tower, the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long, and the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum.

Admiring the beauty of Hanoi at night, pedaling slowly on Phan Dinh Phung street, the young man took a deep breath and enjoyed the fresh air. Minh said this feeling was completely different than the difficult trips through the clamor and racket of traffic jams during the daytime.

At the end of the journey, the group enjoyed Hanoi cuisine and ate pho rolls at Ngu Xa walking street.

"Every trip I meet new friends and feel more comfortable around strangers," Minh said.

The cost of each night's bicycle tour is 300,000 VND, including bicycle rental, tour guide, and entrance ticket.

Over the last two months, Tu Anh, 25 years old, spent time exploring night tours at Hanoi's historical sites. On her second night trip to the Temple of Literature, she said she liked the night tour because it provided an "interesting experience," with captivating programs and the chance to learn about local history through 3D mapping presentations accompanied by music and delicate, aesthetically arranged lights.

Tu Anh said she loves experiencing calligraphy and enjoying tea ceremonies while listening to traditional music as she explores the historical sites.

Even though the ticket price was 10 times more expensive than during the day, Tu Anh still prefers the night tour and has often visited the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long, even once crying upon witnessing an engaging reenactment performance of revolutionary activists being tortured at Hoa Lo Prison.

"Previously, I only went to these places in the morning to take photos. Visiting at night gave me a lot more emotions," said the 25-year-old woman.

The trend of young people traveling at night to historical sites, museums, or exhibitions is becoming more popular. Hanoi currently has about 15 such night tourism products.

Young people participate in calligraphy activities during a night tour of the Vietnamese capital city’s Temple of Literature in December 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Nga

Young people participate in calligraphy activities during a night tour of the Vietnamese capital city’s Temple of Literature in December 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Nga

Ho Chi Minh City has just launched a night tour exploring historical destinations, cuisine, shopping, and healthcare services in District 1. In addition, there are also dozens of exhibitions and museums open from morning to late at night.

Nguyen Minh Thu, Head of the Tour Guide Department for the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long, said that a night tour themed "Decoding the Imperial Citadel" takes place at 7 pm every Friday and Saturday. Over the last two months, each session has had 150 guests, with more than 70% of the guests being16-29 years old. These tours often sell out at the beginning of each month as the number of pre-booked reservations continues increasing.

A representative of the night tour organizing committee at the Temple of Literature noted that over the past month, the number of visitors from 16-27 years old has been about 60%, with some nights attracting thousands of guests.

"The ‘Essence of Taoism’ tour features many themed activities at the Temple of Literature and attracts droves of youths. Dozens of people without advance tickets either queue for long periods or reschedule their trips for another day," the representative said.

Luu Huyen Trang, Academy of Journalism and Communication, who has been following this phenomenon, said that new and interesting activities with visual presentations and performances that inspire people to share them on social media are a major factor in attracting younger audiences.

Night tours now have elaborate and attractive scripts with relatively reasonable ticket prices, and many heritage sites have been given a total makeover to attract public interest.

"It is necessary to build programs that highlight history, evoke patriotism and national pride, and integrate these effectively for long-lasting effects...instead of just turning tourism sights it into mere short-term trends," Dr. Trang suggested.

At 10 pm, after working overtime at the company, Huyen My, 24 years old, in District 4, Ho Chi Minh City, took the opportunity to visit the Van Gogh painting exhibition in a shopping center in Thu Duc City, Ho Chi Minh City. Even though she booked a ticket in advance, she had to queue for more than 20 minutes to get her turn.

My said she was able to admire the 3D presentation in a space of about 4,000 square meters. In addition to looking at paintings, My also sipped coffee, listened to concerts, took pictures of rendition’s of Van Gogh’s famous and beautiful sunflower hill landscapes, all before a visit to the Van Gogh-themed restaurant.

"However," My said, "looking at paintings and enjoying art in a place with too many people makes me lose focus."

She continued: "There were a lot of people taking pictures for social media, I don't dare stand in one place for a long time."

Having experienced a few night tours in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Minh Trang, 20 years old, a resident of Hanoi’s Cau Giay District, said she only goes once every few months because tickets (prices from 300,000 VND to 800,000 VND) are quite high for students like her. Some places can become crowded and noisy because they have no limitations on visitors – causing Trang to feel uncomfortable and unable to listen to her tour guides.

"There are places where the decoration and 3D projection content are a bit confusing, and there’s no reason to visit one place again because they never change. Hopefully, I’ll eventually get to experience better quality night tours that are worth the money," Trang said.

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