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Nightmare traffic jam confines vacationers from Saigon to Da Lat 17 hours on vehicles

Saturday, May 01, 2021, 15:37 GMT+7
Nightmare traffic jam confines vacationers from Saigon to Da Lat 17 hours on vehicles
Droves of vehicles flock to the entrance of Da Lat City, Lam Dong Province, Vietnam, April 30, 2021. Photo: Duc Tho / Tuoi Tre

Da Lat-bound holiday makers from Ho Chi Minh City spent more than 17 hours on their vehicles but still failed to reach the capital city of Lam Dong Province in the Central Highlands region due to a nightmare traffic jam on Bao Loc Pass on Friday. 

It normally takes a maximum of seven hours to travel from Ho Chi Minh City to Da Lat by car.

But vacationers, who left Ho Chi Minh City late on Thursday evening and spent their night on cars or sleeper buses with a hope to wake up in the cool, relaxing air of Da Lat the next morning, had still found themselves amidst the stuffy atmosphere of traffic congestion as of Friday afternoon.

Traffic congestion occured on National Highway 20, especially on Chuoi Pass and Bao Loc Pass which administratively belong to Lam Dong, on Thursday night and lingered until late on Friday afternoon, with droves of vehicles moving at a snail's pace on the major route to Da Lat.

Endless lines of vehicles move slowly through Bao Loc City, Lam Dong Province, Vietnam, April 30, 2021. Video: Duc Tho / Tuoi Tre

According to traffic police officers of Lam Dong, the traffic pressure concentrated not only on these two mountain passes but also at Dau Giay intersection in southern Dong Nai Province, about 100 kilometers away.

“It’s terrible,” Nhat Linh, a Thua Thien-Hue native who boarded a passenger bus from Ho Chi Minh City to Da Lat from 11:00 pm Thursday, said in the middle of his way at 4:00 pm on Friday.

“The vehicles stayed still for most of the time and only moved slowly at a speed of five to 30 kilometers per hour for the rest.

“Never have I seen traffic jams last that long. 

“The traffic jam made me want to go home.”

Endless lines of vehicles queue in Bao Loc City, Lam Dong Province, Vietnam, April 30, 2021. Photo: Duc Tho / Tuoi Tre
Endless lines of vehicles queue in Bao Loc City, Lam Dong Province, Vietnam, April 30, 2021. Photo: Duc Tho / Tuoi Tre

“It was only jammed in the direction from Ho Chi Minh City to Da Lat due to the high volume of vehicles,” said Truong Ngoc Hanh Dung, a traveler in the opposite direction.

“Some drivers are impatient, thus making the traffic jam even more serious,” she added.

As an experienced long-distance traveler, Dung believed that the high demand for traveling, including both abroad and domestic, which has long been held back by the COVID-19 pandemic prompted abnormal large numbers of visitors to Da Lat, where offers pleasant weather -- an ideal escape from the heat in urban areas.

Further, most workers in Vietnam have four days off during the public holiday to celebrate the Reunification Day (April 30) and the International Workers’ Day (May 1) .

A long line of vehicles queues on Bao Loc Pass in Lam Dong Province, Vietnam, April 30, 2021. Photo: Nghia Nguyen / Tuoi Tre
A long line of vehicles queues on Bao Loc Pass in Lam Dong Province, Vietnam, April 30, 2021. Photo: Nghia Nguyen / Tuoi Tre

To help release the traffic volume on National Highway 20, more than 100 police officers of Lam Dong Province and Da Huoai District were mobilized to the scene to direct the vehicles, steering them to the alternative route through the provincial road 721 past Da Teh District and Con O Pass to Da Lat.

This is a poorly-known route but with a guaranteed road quality, and can be used as a backup for Bao Loc Pass.

The Department of Transport of Lam Dong has also banned buses with more than 16 seats from traveling on Prenn Pass and restricted them on Mimosa Pass from 10:00 am Friday through May 3.

By the end of Friday afternoon, vehicles had been able to slowly move out of National Highway 20 and Bao Loc Pass.

Endless lines of vehicles queue in Bao Loc City, Lam Dong Province, Vietnam, April 30, 2021. Photo: Duc Tho / Tuoi Tre
Endless lines of vehicles queue in Bao Loc City, Lam Dong Province, Vietnam, April 30, 2021. Photo: Duc Tho / Tuoi Tre
Droves of vehicles stay still on a street in Bao Loc City, Lam Dong Province, Vietnam, April 30, 2021. Photo: Nhat Linh / Tuoi Tre
Droves of vehicles stay still on a street in Bao Loc City, Lam Dong Province, Vietnam, April 30, 2021. Photo: Nhat Linh / Tuoi Tre
A long line of vehicles queues on Bao Loc Pass in Lam Dong Province, Vietnam, April 30, 2021. Photo: Nhat Linh / Tuoi Tre
A long line of vehicles queues on Bao Loc Pass in Lam Dong Province, Vietnam, April 30, 2021. Photo: Nhat Linh / Tuoi Tre

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