Cambodia Investment Review

New Direct Flights and Steam Train Experience to Enhance Cambodia-Vietnam Heritage Tourism in 2024

New Direct Flights and Steam Train Experience to Enhance Cambodia-Vietnam Heritage Tourism in 2024

Cambodia Investment Review

With the introduction of direct flights between Danang, Vietnam, and Siem Reap, Cambodia, travelers can now seamlessly explore a rich array of UNESCO World Heritage sites and unique tourist experiences spanning both countries. This new connectivity is set to significantly enhance the cross-border heritage tourism sector, which plays a vital role in both nations’ tourism industries.

One of the standout attractions that visitors can now more easily access is the newly refurbished Revolution Express steam train in central Vietnam. Managed by Wafaifo Optimisers, this heritage tourism experience is expected to commence operations in late 2024 or early 2025. The Revolution Express will offer passengers a nostalgic journey between Danang and the former royal capital of Hue, traversing the scenic Hai Van coastal mountain range.

Pre-Independence Steam Locomotives To Working Condition

Michael Gebbie, Chairman of Indochina Rail, expressed pride in restoring two original pre-independence steam locomotives to working condition. “We are proud to bring these old dames of rail back to life and to showcase important periods in Vietnamese history from imperial through colonial rule and finally the struggle to independence,” said Gebbie. “Whether you enjoy learning about history or trains, or just want to ride an authentic heritage steam train over the famously scenic Hai Van Pass, the Revolution Express will offer a magical experience for young and old alike.”

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The Revolution Express will feature fully appointed retro-styled carriages, each seating up to 57 passengers, along with a custom-made kitchen carriage and a baggage carriage. Passengers will be treated to light food and drinks served by staff in period costumes, enhancing the historical ambiance as they travel through some of Southeast Asia’s most picturesque landscapes.

The Revolution Express will traverse the train line along coastal mountains [pictured] adjacent to the Hai Van Pass in central Vietnam, twice a day.

Pieter van der Hoeven, Managing Director of Wafaifo Optimisers, highlighted the broader impact of this initiative on heritage tourism. “The Wafaifo Optimisers team is excited to be a part of a remarkable heritage tourism story that will allow train enthusiasts and mainstream tourists to feel like they are travelling back in time, in comfort, in a scenically spectacular corner of Vietnam,” he said.

The journey will include themed dining experiences at three railway stations along the route: Kim Lien (Danang), Lang Co, and Hue. Each station will offer distinct menus and entertainment to welcome passengers. The train stations are being designed to attract not only Revolution Express passengers but also other travelers on the scenic coastal route.

Expected To Be A Significant Boost For Heritage Tourism

In Hue, the original train maintenance building is being transformed into the Station Restaurant, themed to reflect the imperial history of the city. Lang Co station will feature a restaurant celebrating Vietnam’s independence, complete with food carts offering homemade ice cream, freshly squeezed fruit juices, Vietnamese coffee, and sugar cane juice. The possibility of a third restaurant in Danang, themed to reflect the colonial era, is also being considered.

This new development is expected to be a significant boost for heritage tourism, providing an extension option for travelers visiting Cambodia. With Angkor Wat in Siem Reap and the heritage town of Hoi An in Vietnam, tourists can now easily experience a diverse range of cultural and historical sites.

Further announcements regarding the commencement of the Revolution Express and booking details will be made in the coming months, as the final preparations are completed. This initiative underscores the commitment to preserving and promoting heritage tourism in the region, providing an enriched travel experience for history enthusiasts and tourists alike.

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