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[Photos] Dilapidated and Abandoned, Hồ Tây's 'Floating Castles' Are Finally Dismantled

After almost five years of rotting in abandonment, a few of the cruise boats on West Lake are finally being dismantled.

According to Nguoi Lao Dong, the demolition began in mid-November, when one boat owner decided enough was enough. Nguyễn Thị Mai, the owner of three boats, told the news source that the multi-billion dong boats have now become ruins, and the longer they stay there, the more expensive they are to dismantle.

Once upon a time, these boats were called “castles” on the lake, a fancy destination for fine dining and parties. The boats used to dock at the corner of Nguyen Dinh Thi and Thanh Nien streets, and a port was built just for guests. 

Workers have been removing these boat carcasses piece by piece since November.

But the fun was not without cost: every day, tons of waste from the revelry were dumped right into the lake. Around the boats, the water turned black. In 2016, Hanoi banned all of the floating "castles" and ordered them to move to the opposite corner of the lake, where they remain to this day.

There are about a dozen of these boats now rusting on the lake. To dismantle one, workers have to pull the boat close to shore and cut it piece by piece with a blow torch. The three boats could take a few weeks to break apart, and it is unclear when the others will be put to rest as well.

Debris from the boats clog the local water.

A heavily rusted boat.

One of West Lake's abandoned floating restaurants, the "Mermaid."

Once a lucrative tourist attraction, these boats are now sunk costs for owners.

Dismantling the boats takes a long time, as workers need to section away small segments.

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