A controversial building illegally constructed on the majestic Ma Pi Leng Mountain Pass in northern Vietnam can remain, but it must be transformed into a sightseeing stop, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has decided.
In a document sent to the People’s Committee of the northern province of Ha Giang on Monday, the culture ministry stated that the construction of the Ma Pi Leng Panorama, a seven-story hotel, restaurant, and café situated on the highest point of the namesake pass in Meo Vac District, failed to meet a number of Vietnam’s regulations on protecting a cultural heritage site.
Accordingly, Ma Pi Leng Panorama falls out of place with the natural landscape, traditions, and cultural identities of the ethnic minorities in the region.
The ministry said the building was constructed and put into operation without authorities’ evaluation of its impact on the surrounding natural landscape and environment.
The multipurpose structure also obstructs views from the Ma Pi Leng mountain pass.
To resolve such issues, the culture ministry suggested authorities in Ha Giang consult experts about transforming the Ma Pi Leng Panorama into a sightseeing stop for travelers.
The ministry also asked local authorities to ensure all legal procedures and regulations are followed while carrying out the transformation.
Construction of the Ma Pi Leng Panorama began in late 2018, but the venue has only recently come under strong criticism from social media users in Vietnam following some media reports on its "ugliness."
The building has been described as an ‘eyesore’ on the majestic landscape, especially when information surfaced that it was built without a construction permit.
Before receiving the transformation order from the culture ministry, officials in Meo Vac District had requested the owner of the Ma Pi Leng Panorama to temporarily shut down services at the building starting Monday.
The owner immediately complied with the request in a cooperative manner, Tran Thach Hang, chief of the Meo Vac People’s Committee Office, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on the same day.
Currently, visitors can still stop by the building for a short rest, sightseeing, and taking photos, but its hotel rooms and restaurant are no longer receiving guests.