Thousands of local and foreign tourists flocked to Bùi Viện Walking Street in the popular backpacker area of HCM City’s District 1 as it officially welcomed walkers at its grand opening last night.
|Hitting the street: Thousands of local and foreign tourists flocked to Bùi Viện Walking Street as it officially opened to tourists last night. – VNS Photo Bồ Xuân Hiệp|
The street will be reserved exclusively for pedestrians from 7pm to 2am at weekends.
During this time, vendors will be allowed to display their merchandise on the pavement, but not on the road.
Two stages for live music performances will also be set up at the two ends of the street, promoting both Vietnamese folk songs and international music.
In addition, tourists will enjoy free Wi-Fi services, public toilets and other tourist-related services.
Foreign visitors have already praised the street for selling “cheap beer” and “providing good services”.
Mahlet Christie, from Australia, said it was a very good idea to open the walking street. “We love it as everything here is so accessible. It was interesting to sit on the street watching everyone going past.”
“The food is amazing as always. Vietnamese beer is very good. Sài Gòn beer is the best,” she told Việt Nam News.
Vũ Ngọc Khiêm, of Bình Thạnh District, said, “This is more fun, definitely a more exciting place to hangout for foreign visitors and even locals like me.”
Located in Pham Ngũ Lão Ward in District 1, the city’s new pedestrian street is expected to offer local residents and tourists a range of entertainment activities.
Since the middle of July, authorities in District 1 have piloted a vehicle ban from 7pm to 2am on weekends, while also carrying out upgrades to pavements along the street.
While eateries, cafes, clothing stores, and souvenir shops are open to customers in the morning and afternoon, restaurants, bars, and pubs bring a more exciting atmosphere to the street from the evening until midnight.
Some 146 businesses are operating on Bùi Viện Street, said Nguyễn Thị Thu Hương, vice-chairwoman of District 1.
Among them are 23 hotels, 25 eateries, 15 cafes, 33 souvenir, handicraft, and clothing stores, 14 pubs, 9 beer bars, 12 salons, 8 travel agents, among others.
Opening specialised streets has been an emerging trend in the city, improving trade and services as well as creating distinctive tourism products for the city.
In 2015, Nguyễn Huệ Boulevard, the city’s first pedestrian street, opened to visitors and has become a popular venue for both locals and tourists at the weekend.
Nguyễn Văn Bình, the city’s book street, has also been a popular stop for local bookworms and visitors.
According to HCM City’s Vice Chairman Trần Vĩnh Tuyến, local authorities will do their best to make the pedestrian street attractive to both local and foreign visitors.
HCM City is one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations. It welcomed 2.43 million foreign tourists in the first half of this year, a 12 per cent increase from the same period last year, according to city authorities.
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