Ha Long – a new city rises next to a world heritage
Ha Long new city
Mai Hong Lien was impressed by the changes in Ha Long city when she drove along the 4-km coastal road from the Bai Chay tourism area to the Bai Chay bridge, which stretches across the Cua Luc river toward Bai Tho mountain. The wide coastal road has a white sandy beach on one side and, on the other site, a fast-growing city. It had been three years since Lien last visited Ha Long city.Ha Long city, the engine of Quang Ninh province’s tourism growth, will continue promoting Vietnam to a wider global audience.
She said “Ha Long has been transformed into a beautiful modern city. The coastal road leads to major tourist spots – the beach, Bai Chay bridge, Bai Tho mountain, the shopping center, the museum, Tuan Chau park. You can stand on this road to watch the sunrise, the sunset, and boats travelling really close to you. It’s very romantic.”
The roads in Ha Long city have greatly improved. New parks have opened. Transportation has been upgraded with the Ha Long-Hai Phong and Ha Long-Van Don expressways, the Van Don International Airport, and Ha Long International Cruise Port which has received hundreds of world-class cruise ships. The number of tourists to Ha Long has increased sharply. In 2019, Quang Ninh province welcomed 14 million visitors, the majority of them to Ha Long.
The city has adopted a number of measures to protect its heritages, notably the “zero plastic waste” movement.
Garret Miller, an American traveller, told VOV “I think it’s a great idea because lots of the ocean areas are getting polluted by plastic. A beautiful site like this should be protected so we should choose containers which can be reused in stead of using plastics. I use my personal bottles, not single-use plastic. A lot of changes have been made and the government should step in to stop single-use plastic.”
After merging with Hoanh Bo district, Ha Long City will become the largest province-level municipality in Vietnam. Dang Huy Hau, Vice Chairman of the Quang Ninh provincial People’s Committee, said the merger will be a milestone in Quang Ninh’s development.
“As Ha Long city has grown in recent years, resources for further development have become scarcer. Neighboring Hoanh Bo district has abundant personnel and natural resources. The merger of Ha Long city and Hoanh Bo district into a single administrative unit will create a huge development opportunity for the whole region,” Hau said.
The merger will quadruple Ha Long city’s current area to cover the Dong Son-Ky Thuong Nature Reserve.
Tran Duc Lam, Secretary of the Ha Long municipal Party’s Committee, said “Quang Ninh authorities will review the development plans of the new Ha Long city after being merged and Quang Ninh province as a whole, with priority given to environmental protection. Ha Long leaders will propose the relocations of manufacturing facilities, making them more environment-friendly.”
Tran Nam Hoa, a Ha Long resident, is confident about his city’s further development.
“Ha Long people consent to this merger plan. I’m sure our city will become very special. We hope to receive more support to realize the goal of a green tourist city with a modern lifestyle and improved living conditions”, Hoa said.
This year, Ha Long city will inaugurate two bridges, a road tunnel through Cua Luc Bay, and many new roads, and will upgrade its ports and shopping centers, giving a boost to local tourism development.