Hanoi and HCMC metro reports
A flying taxi hub for Singapore, Cebu to be a Singapore-like city, an Amsterdam of the East, and more construction and transport news in Southeast Asia.
Greetings from Saigon. I’ve returned from my trip to Hanoi after riding the new metro line (the first metro in Vietnam) and inspecting the second line under construction.
I didn’t know how I would feel when riding the Hanoi Metro. When I rode the Laos-China Railway I started laughing and then I remarked to my friend how weird it is to be saying “I’m riding a train in Laos”.
In Hanoi, the metro felt so familiar that I almost forgot it was new. Hanoi is a city of almost 10 million people, so of course it would have a metro. And as I mention in my review, all metros are starting to look the same now.
In contrast, I think I will start crying when the HCMC Metro finally starts operating. I’m not even joking. I started basing myself in Saigon the same year that the metro construction began in 2012. Apart from a quick visit to Saigon in 2005, all I have known of Saigon is the construction of the first metro line. This line was supposed to take 5 years to build, but instead, it’s on track to take over 11 years. I’ve tried to not let this frustration seep into my 2022 metro report, and there is some light at the end of the metro tunnel.
My one-month Vietnam visa expires this week, which is why I have bundled the metro reports of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City together. If I had a longer visa I would probably rent a room for 3 months and write more about Vietnam (yes I have that much of a backlog of articles).
The short visa has done me a favour, because I have a trip planned out for the next two months that will cover old and new territory in Southeast Asia, and I am excited at the prospect of expanding coverage of Future Southeast Asia.
Latest Posts At Future Southeast Asia
I have three new articles this week, which is a record for me. Ultimately I would like to publish two articles per week (one fact page and one editorial) in addition to the newsletter, but I still have other websites to tend to (my proverbial day job).
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Hanoi Metro 2022 construction update
Ho Chi Minh City Metro 2022 construction update
Hanoi Line 2A review – riding the first metro railway in Vietnam
• Remember China’s casinos in Southeast Asia? They were just launch pads for infrastructure developments
• Preserved French colonial structures may be tourism assets
• Drained for development: Kandal Lake becomes dirt quarry
• Pros outweigh cons in plan to transform Preah Sihanouk: study
• Sluggish property development project activity continues in Cambodia
• As Jakarta chokes on toxic air, Indonesian government stalls on taking action
• Powering Nusantara: ‘coal’ hearts, clogged ‘mines’, and Putin offers Russian Railways investment in new Indonesia capital
Nusantara has been promoted as a solarpunk Wakanda in the jungle of Borneo (Google “nusantara green energy city“ to see the tone of these articles). Instead, it’s more likely to be another coal-fueled city. While Joko has been showing off bamboo bicycles to my Prime Minister, you would need millions of bamboo bicycles to offset another coal-fired power plant. Prove me wrong, Joko! I want a Wakanda (without Putin-powered trains).
[Updated: Nusantara – New Capital City of Indonesia]
• Track-laying begins on main line of Indonesia's Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway
[Updated: Jakarta-Bandung High-Speed Railway]
• Laos faces debt crisis after borrowing billions from China
• Laos-Vietnam railway project to link Vientiane with Thakhek
[Updated: Vientiane – Vung Ang Railway]
Building a new railway while the country is about to run out of money doesn’t sound like the best idea, but this is a private joint venture between FLC Group and Lao Petroleum Trade Company. FLC is a Vietnamese conglomerate that founded Bamboo Airways and owns resorts all over the country. I don’t know how they think they will make money from it, but it makes sense that a petroleum company would want to be involved. With the fuel shortage crisis that has hit Laos over the last few months, having another way to get fuel to landlocked Laos is a good selling point. The railway will link to Vung Ang port, which is 60% owned by Laos, effectively making it the main port of Laos.
• Malaysia’s skewed transport system: rising costs demand bolder solutions
• Reimagining the future of transport: Malaysia in 2030 with Idris Azim
• Qhazanah Sabah inks deal with Berjaya Land for study on KK airport move to Kimanis
• Ekovest accepts LOA for RM1.979 billion RTS Link project between JB and Singapore
• Sibu folks upbeat on town becoming ‘new Amsterdam’
I saw this headline and thought it meant they were going to do a Thailand. Instead, it is referring to canals, not cannabis. Usually the comparison is made with Venice (“the Venice of the East” being a popular phrase).
• Myanmar talks Belt and Road with China, restarts regional meetings
• Rama envisions a Singapore-like Cebu City
• Bids solicited for P1.80-billion PNR track relocation project
• Lawmakers to refile Bulacan airport ecozone bill after Marcos veto
[Updated: New Manila International Airport]
• Cebu City solons seek monorail, port infra, Mega Cebu authority
[Updated: Cebu Monorail]
• China to fund Davao River Bridge project
• Solon proposes to rename NAIA to 'Ferdinand E. Marcos International Airport'
I remarked in last week’s newsletter that it would be too obvious if Marcos tried to rename NAIA. Apparently not.
• Singapore’s tiny second airport eyes future as a flying taxi hub
• Restored Bukit Timah Railway Station opens to the public, providing new community space
• Yellow and Pink lines to begin trial runs this year
• Telcos to help in properly managing overhead cables in Bangkok
• Thailand agrees $9.6 billion investment in industrial east over 5 years
• HCM City eyes US$6b container port in Cần Giờ
• Investment ready for Hà Nội's relic restoration
• Balancing Hanoi heritage preservation and urban development
• Long Thành airport land acquisition disbursal tops 68 per cent
[Updated: Long Thanh International Airport]
• In the Mekong Delta, sand mining means lost homes and fortunes
• US-built aircraft revetments to be removed from HCMC airport
Many of the airports in the southern half of Vietnam are recycled U.S. air bases, and you can still see these war remnants at Danang and Tan Son Nhat in Saigon.