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Foreign tourists persist at Hanoi trackside café street after woman purposely approaches oncoming train

Foreign tourists persist at Hanoi trackside café street after woman purposely approaches oncoming train

Thursday, June 20, 2024, 19:59 GMT+7
Foreign tourists persist at Hanoi trackside café street after woman purposely approaches oncoming train
Foreign tourists linger at the barrier banning entry to the trackside café street in Hanoi. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

Foreign tourists still visit Hanoi’s renowned trackside café street for photography despite a recent incident where a female visitor, standing on the tracks for photos, was pulled to safety just moments before a train arrived.

They defy warning signs prohibiting gatherings set up at the entrances of the railway-side café street, located in Dien Bien Ward, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi, to experience its unique vibes.

Even in the sweltering heat, seats at these coffee shops are consistently occupied. 

When Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper’s reporter arrived at the venue on Wednesday, some security guards appeared to deter further intrusion upon the railway tracks. 

Despite this, many foreign tourists lingered but eventually left, deciding to return later.

Foreign tourists wait for trains at a coffee shop on the trackside café street in Hanoi. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

Foreign tourists wait for trains at a coffee shop on the trackside café street in Hanoi. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

This happened after a video of a woman rushing onto the tracks to pose for photos while a train was approaching went viral on social media on Tuesday morning.

The case was later identified to have happened on another section of the trackside café street where coffee shops are just inches from the active railway in Hang Bong Ward, Hoan Kiem District on Monday.

Before the train approached, residents and owners of the coffee shops there asked visitors to sit in safe places.

However, the woman suddenly ran to the tracks and stood on them to pose for pictures.

P.N.H., a resident of Hang Bong Ward, immediately pushed her off of the tracks.

Foreign tourists wait for trains at a coffee shop on the trackside café street in Hanoi. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

Foreign tourists wait for trains at a coffee shop on the trackside café street in Hanoi. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

Subsequently, the ward administration fined H. VND7.5 million (US$296) for operating his café, which hosted the woman, without proper business permission.

The administration in Hoan Kiem District later asked the authorities in Hang Bong, Cua Nam, Cua Dong, Hang Ma, and Dong Xuan Wards, through which the railway passes, to enhance patrols and strictly levy sanctions against those encroaching on the railway safety corridor.

In April 2023, the Hanoi Department of Tourism issued a directive prohibiting access to the venues, yet independent tourists continue to flock to these areas.

Railroad tracks snake through several crowded neighborhoods across four districts of Hanoi, including Hoan Kiem, Ba Dinh, Dong Da, and Hai Ba Trung.

These areas have established a reputation as famous destinations for tourists hoping to snap a photo of the narrow railway lined with houses and cafés.

Foreign tourists pose for photos on the tracks down the railway-side café street in Hang Bong Ward, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

Foreign tourists pose for photos on the tracks down the railway-side café street in Hang Bong Ward, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

The coffee shops butting against the tracks offer visitors the unique experience of sipping a cup of coffee while staying alert to incoming trains.

According to a local café owner, the trackside café street sees a daily influx of international visitors who find ways to get into the banned section and take photos whenever security guards are not present.

“All café owners here are highly conscious of their responsibility to ensure tourist safety," said the café owner.

“The incident where the woman rushed onto the tracks when a train was approaching was a rare occurrence, and she was promptly pulled to safety.

A Vietnamese-English sign warns against entering the trackside café street in Hanoi. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

A Vietnamese-English sign warns against entering the trackside café street in Hanoi. Photo: Nam Tran / Tuoi Tre

“Each shop provides a train schedule for visitors, ensuring they are aware of train timings. 

“Ten minutes before a train’s arrival, shops clear tables and chairs, instructing customers to stand orderly.”

The proprietor urged local authorities to implement suitable management practices to allow the trackside cafés to operate safely, emphasizing its role as a significant attraction for foreign visitors to Hanoi.

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Bao Anh - Nguyen Hien / Tuoi Tre News

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