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Controversial cafe on Mã Pí Lèng Pass told to close

Update: October, 15/2019 - 08:00
The view overlooking the Tu Sản Canyon from the Panorama Hostel, Restaurant and Cafe on the Mã Pí Lèng Pass, Mèo Vạc District, Hà Giang Province. — VNA/VNS Photo Nguyễn Chiến

HÀ GIANG — Local authorities on Monday demanded a controversial hotel-café built along a stunning mountain pass in Hà Giang Province be shut down amid public criticism that the structure ruined the natural beauty of the area. 

Officials from Mèo Vạc District People’s Committee told the owner of Panorama Hostel, Restaurant and Café on Monday that she would have to temporarily close her business.

Tourists, however, can still visit the café as a stop-over to take pictures and enjoy the view of Tu Sản Canyon – the deepest canyon in Southeast Asia.  

The café made headlines early in October when photos of a large cement structure standing along the Mã Pí Lèng Pass spread widely online. Many netizens expressed their anger at the human intrusion on the mountain pass, which is famous for its beautiful wilderness.

Panorama opened early this year. The Hà Giang Province's Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism reported the seven-storey structure had not been granted an investment certificate and the owner had not received permission to switch land use purpose from agriculture to residential and business.   

Hà Giang People’s Committee Chairman Nguyễn Văn Sơn said authorities would not cover for any violations and would strictly handle those involved.

The Committee had also asked the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to help determine whether the structure damaged the surrounding scenery and environment, Sơn added.

Under public pressure, the owner on Friday painted the outer walls of the café in lush green, saying it would make the structure ‘closer to nature’.

Authorities are yet to decide whether the whole building will be demolished to return the mountain pass to its original beauty. — VNS

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