The monorail plan for Da Lat, Vietnam

A proposed Java to Bali railway, a 100-metre tall Buddha for Vientiane, fishermen win appeal against Penang’s 3 islands project, and iconic bridges of Vietnam.

Welcome to another edition of the Future Southeast Asia Newsletter, and hello to new subscribers via Business Insider. If you are new here, I post an original article every week about construction, transport, and infrastructure in Southeast Asia. The newsletter also features a roundup of related news.

This week’s article is typical of what I am doing with this website project, by collating information about little-known projects. Da Lat is a provincial capital city in the Central Highlands of Vietnam. It’s not a household name yet, but it gets its fair share of domestic travel. Here is my trip report from last year.

[Traffic in Da Lat]

This monorail project is one of many proposed urban transits projects across provincial Southeast Asia. While everyone knows about Singapore’s world-class metro system, I’ve been looking at potential provincial systems. Here is the complete list of current and proposed urban rail transit in Southeast Asia.

The monorail also includes a proposal to link the airport, so that is also represented on the page for current and proposed airport railways in Southeast Asia.

If you want to see what else I am doing here, check out the Future Southeast Asia Map, which pins articles by destination.

The following links are news items from around Southeast Asia, including the Business Insider link that featured Future Southeast Asia.

If you have any questions or just want to say hi, you can hit reply to this email or leave a comment on this page.

Latest Posts At Future Southeast Asia

Da Lat Monorail

The Da Lat Monorail is a proposed urban rail transit system in the city of Da Lat in the Central Highlands region of Vietnam.

Updated Posts


Indonesia looks for more funds as bill for China-backed rail project balloons by US$2 billion

“The Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway, part of the Belt and Road Initiative, will cost more due to price changes for materials and land acquisition delays.”

Would relocating the capital solve Jakarta's problems?

Bappenas: Impossible to develop new capital city in few years

“It is impossible for us to build a state capital in 2, 3, or 4 years. In the Bappenas master plan, it is predicted to take 15 to 20 years”.


Setback for Penang’s 3 islands project as fishermen win appeal

Malaysia fishermen in last-ditch bid to stop Penang reclamation

Penang South Reclamation project will not start without DoE approval, says state exco

Enormous potential of East Coast Rail Link project


Mindanao rail pre-construction to continue despite objections

  • Added to Mindanao Railway Project


Thailand pushes dream of 'land bridge' to boost economy

“Backers say it would cut shipping time by 2 days, but project faces backlash.”


Steel beam installation complete on Saigon River’s newest bridge

“Installation of all 17 steel beams of the Thu Thiem 2 Bridge, which spans the Saigon River in Ho Chi Minh City, is finally complete”.

IFC Saigon One

A new design has surfaced for the abandoned Saigon One Tower in Ho Chi Minh City. The source is from ASP Design Consultant (it was also posted here).

Here is what the tower currently looks like…

Other News


Jakarta water resource agency talks of potential Jakarta sinking

A Java to Bali railway?

Here at Future Southeast Asia, I’m all for outrageous railway plans (such as the Hanoi – Chiang Mai Railway). This proposal for a Java-Bali railway was posted in another ASEAN group and the original source isn’t shown.

According to the graphic, it would be completed by 2045 after the high-speed railway is built from Jakarta to Surabaya. While it looks outrageous now, it looks more attainable when broken down into sections. The Jakarta-Bandung High-Speed Railway is under construction now, and then after that, the next stage will be extended to Surabaya.

Another thing to remember is that Java is the world’s most populous island (over 145 million people). The islands of Java and Bali are only 2.4km apart and the closest point, so this is not outrageous as it initially looks (especially compared to the Seikan Tunnel in Japan).


Land-locked Laos to assume management of Vietnam's Vung Ang seaport

This port will serve the proposed Vientiane-Vung Ang Railway, providing a seaport for land-locked Laos. The Vientiane-Vung Ang Railway was last week’s feature article, and this news adds to the speculation that the railway might begin at the end of the year as it has previously been announced.

Chinese developers to construct 100m Buddha image at That Luang Marsh

“A giant Buddha image is to be constructed at the That Luang Marsh Specific Economic Zone (SEZ) as part of plans for a new cultural attraction.”

That Luang Marsh is in the east of Vientiane city.


China opens first road-rail transport link to Indian Ocean

“The first shipments on a newly-launched railway line from the Myanmar border to the key commercial hub of Chengdu in western China, that provides China a new road-rail transportation channel to the Indian Ocean, were delivered last week, state media reported on Tuesday.”


LOOK: MRT-7 train sets arrive in Philippines from South Korea


LTA to improve transport system to deal with future challenges

Singapore 2030: How the city will transform in the next decade


Bang Na rail plan to be scrutinised

“The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) is moving forward with its plan to conduct a feasibility study on a light double-track railway system between Bang Na district and Suvarnabhumi airport to alleviate traffic congestion on the Bang Na-Trat road.”

One of the world’s largest Chinatowns is evolving without forgetting its past

“The pandemic accelerated change in Bangkok’s Chinatown. Now, it is on a quest to redefine its identity.”

Thailand offers to become strategic CLMVT, Asean hub for China, GBA

“Thailand offered to become a hub connecting Asean countries with Hong Kong and China at the 6th Belt and Road Summit held via teleconferencing on September 1 and 2.”

Cinema treasure ‘Scala’ doomed to become Central mall

End of the line looms for Hua Lamphong regulars


Vietnam's biggest island long held onto a seductive image as the country's 'last paradise.' Then came the clubs, a casino, and a safari.

I was quoted in this article about Phu Quoc, which refers to my visit to the island earlier in 2021. Here is my full Phu Quoc construction report.

The beauty of Vietnam’s iconic bridges

“These aerial shots taken by a Can Tho-based engineer depicts a series of symbolic bridges n Vietnam’s biggest cities and popular tourism hubs.”