- Title: Off the rails: Hanoi closes railway cafes thronged by selfie-seeking tourists
- Date: 9th October 2019
- Summary: HANOI, VIETNAM (OCTOBER 8, 2019) (REUTERS) ***WARNING: CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** VARIOUS OF TOURISTS POSING FOR PHOTOS ON THE RAIL TOURISTS SITTING ON SMALL CHAIRS ALONG THE TRACKS CAFÃ‰ STAFF TELLING TOURISTS TO STAND BEFORE TRAIN VARIOUS OF TOURISTS FOLDING UP CHAIRS AND STANDING TRAIN COMING TRAIN PASSING TOURISTS TAKING PHOTOS OF PASSING TRAIN VARIOUS OF TRAIN PASSING/TOURISTS TAKING PHOTOS (SOUNDBITE) (English) TOURIST FROM AUSTRALIA, LAURA METZE, SAYING: "I mean, yes, but people are smart enough surely not to jump in front of a train. I can see some people getting too invested in taking a photo or snap-chatting and standing too close, but that's the risk they are willing to take." TOURIST FROM OMAN, NAME UNKNOWN, WALKING WITH A FRIEND (SOUNDBITE) (English) TOURIST FROM OMAN, NAME UNKNOWN, SAYING: "It's just so beautiful, and the fact that you have all these coffee shops and people who are actually living in this area, everyday having to see this, is quite remarkable." TOURISTS AT RAILWAY CAFES RAILWAY COFFEE SHOP OWNER, TRAN DUC MINH, SITTING AND TALKING TO FRIEND TRAN AND FRIEND SITTING/ TRAIN PASSING BY (SOUNDBITE) (Vietnamese) COFFEE SHOP OWNER, TRAN DUC MINH, SAYING: "Foreign tourists are amazed by the fact that these houses and people are not banned from the tracks. Elsewhere it's impossible to have families living here by the side of the railway. They are curious about how people are living their lives along the tracks like this." TRAIN PASSING BY HANOI, VIETNAM (OCTOBER 9, 2019) (REUTERS) PEOPLE WALKING UNDER WARNING SIGN NEAR RAILROAD TRACKS SIGN READING (Vietnamese and English): "DANGEROUS AREA: DO NOT GATHER A CROWD, TAKE PHOTOS, VIDEOS. DO NOT WALK, STAND, SIT, STAND, SIT ON RAILROAD TRACKS, DO NOT DISPLAY CHAIRS, TABLES AND PEDDLE ON AND ALONG RAILROAD TRACKS" TOURISTS WALKING BY/POLICE ON DUTY POLICE MAKING COFFEE SHOP OWNERS SIGN SAFETY KEEPING AGREEMENT PAPERS RAILROAD GUARD, PHAM MINH CHAU, ON DUTY/ VEHICLE PASSING TRAIN PASSING (SOUNDBITE) (Vietnamese) RAILROAD GUARD, PHAM MINH CHAU, SAYING: "Since it is so dangerous, I don't think those coffee shops should be there. If you want to keep them, then you should just stop operating the railway completely." LOCAL RESIDENTS WALKING ALONG TRACKS/MAN HANGING UP BIRD CAGE MAN HANGING UP BIRD CAGE LOCAL RESIDENTS WALKING ALONG TRACKS BIRD CAGES HANGING WOMAN POSING FOR PHOTO ON TRACKS
- Embargoed: 23rd October 2019 12:42
- Keywords: Vietnam railway cafes Hanoi selfies tourism crackdown safety
- Location: HANOI, VIETNAM
- City: HANOI, VIETNAM
- Country: Vietnam
- Topics: Arts / Culture / Entertainment,Social Media
- Reuters ID: LVA001B0DIP1J
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:It's the kind of shot every Instagram connoisseur yearns for: century-old railway tracks cutting through dusty backstreets, flanked by tourists drinking beer or iced tea mere inches away from the slow-moving trains.
The sight has become such a draw in Hanoi that authorities have set a weekend deadline for the removal of dozens of cafes that have cropped up, citing safety concerns.
Vendors run businesses on the tracks, selling snacks on skewers, while visitors enjoy sitting along the railway lines to soak in the vibes of the place.
But the fun and selfies have come to an end. Vietnamese state media reported on Sunday (October 6) that a train had to make an emergency stop soon after leaving Hanoi railway station to avoid hitting tourists.
A day later, the Transport Ministry ordered the cafes to shut, citing "traffic safety" concerns.
Built in 1902 during French colonial rule, the railway mostly carries passengers and cargo to and fro between Hanoi and the eastern city of Haiphong, as well as to the remote towns of Lang Son and Lao Cai, which lie along the mountainous border nest to China.
The tracks run on an old-fashioned French narrow gauge, and is so old that when North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visited Hanoi in February for a summit with U.S. President Donald Trump, he had to stop at the border and continue by car.
Vietnam received 12.87 million foreign visitors in the first nine months of this year, up nearly 11% on the year, government data shows.
(Production: Thinh Nguyen, Minh Nguyen)
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