Quang Ninh Province authorities is planning to build the USD26.4m Bai Chay International Wharf for luxury cruises in Ha Long Bay next year.

Halong Bay welcomes dozens of luxury cruises annually but it doesn’t have any appropriate wharf. Cruise ships have to anchor offshore and visitors are transferred to the shore by boats which is inconvenient and time-consuming for the tourists.

The situation only worsened after the location of the temporary wharf was moved to Bai Chay Beach. Tourists have to go from cruise ships to boats to a ferry before reaching the shore. Halong Bay currently receives up to three cruise ships at the same time with hundreds of tourists. Companies have struggled to speed up the process while each tourist only visit the bay for a few hours.

Some ships to Halong Bay have to dock at Cai Lan Port which is a container port.

Nguyen Thanh Binh, representative of Tan Hong Tourism Company, said, “Most of the tourists are elderly people so it’s really inconvenient, unsafe and time-consuming. There are no restrooms and tourists have reacted very negatively to this.”

The construction of Bai Chay International Wharf will start in the second quarter and is expected to be completed in 2018.

Vu Van Khanh, director of Quang Ninh Department of Transport said this would be a build-operate-transfer project and cost over VND600bn. The 524m-long wharf will be located near Dai Duong Park. It can receive two 225,000 tonne vessels and another smaller ship with 30,277 gross register tonnage at the same time.

Binh said, “It’ll be much easier if we have good infrastructure like Hue or Danang cities. Ha Long Bay is still popular, but many firms have decided to move further southwards because of the inconvenience. Only when the ship leaves Ha Long Bay safely can we breathe a sigh of relief.”

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