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Ban on kayaking service in Ha Long Bay overturned

Monday, May 01, 2017, 09:38 GMT+7

The administration of the northern Vietnamese province of Quang Ninh, home to Ha Long Bay, has allowed kayak tours to resume at certain spots at the World Natural Heritage Site.

On Saturday, the Quang Ninh People’s Committee announced changes to aquatic tourist services in Ha Long Bay.

Kayaking tours and manually operated sampan rides will resume to controlled operations at eight spots, starting Monday.

Specifically, kayaking and sampan riding tours will be allowed in daytime at Ba Hang, Luon Cave, Tung Sau Lagoon, Cua Van and Vung Vieng, whereas tourists can enjoy kayaking services at Dong Tien (Fairy Cave) Lake-Trinh Nu (Virgin) Cave, Cong Do and Co (Grass) Cave. The municipal administration also urged service providers to register and renew contracts with the bay management by May 15.

The city will also suspend 33 speedboats from operation starting Monday, while calling on boat owners to work closely with the bay management to have their means properly inspected.

Tourist boat operators are asked not to run their own kayak fleets to avoid having “fewer crewmen on board the tourist boat than required.”

They are instructed to strictly adhere to fire safety requirements in the wake of numerous situations where boats have burst into flames in the bay to ensure perfect safety for tourists in Ha Long Bay and its neighboring replica, Bai Tu Long Bay.

Paddling a kayak through the submerged limestone karst landforms scattered across the bay and beholding the site’s resplendence have been a much-loved activity for visitors to Ha Long, leading to a boom in kayak tours – many of which operate without approved business plans.

This prompted the provincial administration to issue a ban on the service in April, which was meant to minimize its damage to the local tourism environment and protect tourists from kayak tour operators that either fail to list their service prices or overcharge the visitors. 

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