QUANG NINH, 24 August 2015: A new cruise port has opened on Halong Bay in the northern Vietnamese province of Quang Ninh that will ultimately replace a wharf used by visiting cruise ships to the area.
Tuoi Tre News reported that Quang Ninh’s administration has decided to gradually move all ship operations from the old Bai Chay tourist wharf to the new Tuan Chau international passenger port.
Tourists will now depart from the Tuan Chau port for sight-seeing tours around the UNESCO-recognised Halong Bay, around 150 km east of Hanoi.
The old Bai Chay wharf has seriously deteriorated and was over used, prompting local authorities to speed up efforts to move cruise ships to the new facility.
It is expected that all tourist ships will switch to the new international port by the end of this year, allowing Bai Chay wharf to be officially closed by the summer of 2016, according to the local administration.
It will be redeveloped for commercial use.
The Tuan Chau international passenger port, is managed by Au Lac Quang Ninh Co. Ltd and opened for business last July for both domestic and international vessels offering Quang Ninh and Halong Bay services.
The port, located at the southeast corner of Tuan Chau Island, close to Halong City, has two docks, measuring 1,143 metres and 4,411 metres, respectively.
Officials said the new port has better infrastructure and is closer to Hanoi, compared to the old wharf. However, industry insiders are concerned that the Tuan Chau port will soon become over used unless more docks are added.
Halong Bay is the most popular sightseeing destination in north Vietnam and was recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1994, It is also the world’s New 7 Wonders of Nature designated in April 2012 by New Open World Corporation, an associate of the New 7 Wonders Foundation.