Tourists board a ferry at Bai Chay, Quang Ninh Province. Photo credit: baoquangninh
Tourists who want to take a boat trip to Ha Long Bay will soon have to head to a new wharf, as the popular Bai Chay Wharf will be closed in the next few months, local media reported.
The relocation of all the boats and ferries to Tuan Chau Wharf, which is about 5.5 kilometers away, is slated to complete by the end of this year, news website Saigon Times Online quoted authorities in the northern province of Quang Ninh as saying on Thursday.
Opened at the end of July, the new wharf can handle about 2,000 boats, including large vessels that are longer than 70 meters.
The first and the main boat station to the world famous bay, Bai Chay has become overcrowded in recent years. Up to 500 boats dock at the wharf in the evening, while it is capable of accommodating only 300.
It has also been criticized for environment and safety issues.
Waste and oil from boats and ferries have allegedly contaminated the water, while the wharf itself, without sufficient facilities, have failed to protect boats from storms.
Many boats have been battered or sunk by unexpected storms when docking there since 2007.
More than 1.6 million tourists visited Ha Long Bay over the first seven months, over 93.7 percent of whom foreigners, according to Quang Ninh's news website. It said that the arrival number increased "slightly" from the same period last year.