Traffic in Vietnam can be one of the things tourists may not hear of or have no idea until they arrive in and start their adventure in this country. Anyone heard about Vietnam will think of a gone Vietnam War, a charming capital of Hanoi, a magnificent Ha Long Bay, a historical Hue, and Hoi An, or a bustling Ho Chi Minh City with many breathtaking landscapes, yummy street foods, friendly people and exposing local markets in every corner of the country. In fact, when traveling to Vietnam and experience the real traffic in the big cities, the most life-long experience, the not-forget-to-mention in most of their stories to friends and family after completing the trip are always the incredible, magical and unbelievable traffics during your travel to Vietnam.
The Incredible Traffic in Vietnam
Vietnam is the second largest motorcycle ownership all over the world after Taiwan. It estimates that the number of registered motorcycles in Vietnam is over 37 million in early 2016. During the peak of hours of the weekends, holidays, the number of motorbikes is too many, traffic congestion is also common on the days. The streets full of dust and loud whistles might make you tired about road traffic in Vietnam, particularly in the big cities such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
Despite the abundant investment in the Vietnam traffic, the quality is very poor and doesn’t meet the enormous demand for vehicles. Some routes that just need light rain will be damaged or flooded, which make it harder for the participants. There are also many strange signs and a plenty of road name. The direction is small, difficult to see and sometimes misspellings. So Vietnam’s traffic is very complex. There is a fact that Vietnam still ranks in the top 10 countries having traffic accidents in the world.
Additionally, a sense of participation in the traffic of Vietnam is quite poor. Vietnamese people usually go fast and cross the red light. When being stuck at the congestion, most people ride their motorbikes on the sidewalk rather than waiting, and constantly use horns to hasten the front riders. People often don’t obey the traffic lights or signs. Nowadays, the government has implemented a lot of projects to upgrade and widen the road. They are building more highways and tunnels to reduce traffic congestion. Travelers come to Vietnam will have some incredible experiences as entering the bewildering traffic in Vietnam.
How to Cross the Road in Vietnam?
For a first-timer, the prospect of getting across the road is a difficult task. Walking along the footpath can be equally challenging, especially when rogue motorcycles mount the curb when the traffic on the road gets too dense. At times, it feels like nowhere if off-limits. Even when the security and safety of a set of traffic lights boasting a green color, there are still no guarantees the traffic will actually stop for you to cross. So, how to cross the road in Vietnam safely? Indochina Tours will give you some useful tips to confidently cross the complex traffic in Vietnam.
Crossing the Road in Vietnam Tip #1
First up, survey your surroundings. Keep in mind that traffic in Vietnam drives on the right-hand side of the road (this is particularly important for visitors from Australian, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom).
Crossing the Road in Vietnam Tip #2
Spend a moment or two gauging what traffic is doing; if you are at a roundabout – a particularly tricky place for pedestrians – who has right of way and which way the traffic is going.
Crossing the Road in Vietnam Tip #3
When you can see that the road is relatively bikes/cars/scooter-free, step out. Don’t wait for the traffic flow to stop (even if you are in a zebra crossing but without the traffic light and a reinforcement of a policeman) because the local people don’t have the culture to stop. Just start crossing and then you will find a way in it.
Crossing the Road in Vietnam Tip #4
Keep walking and slowing down if necessary. Steadily and slowly cross the street, use a low pace as the people are going to watch you from a far distance so they will gauge your pace and be around you. Never step back suddenly or try to run faster than your normal pace, you may be in a mess or being run over.
Crossing the Road in Vietnam Tip #5
When walking through the crowded and narrow streets in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City and you hardly found the available space to walk on the pavement due to the local business settings or family shops, motorbike parking,…always walk against the traffic flow. Single-lined walking, in this case, is recommended if you go with your family or friends.
In short, some travelers have their secrets on how to cross the road in Vietnam: forget all the standard rules to cross the street, look at the vehicles that are heading towards you, just move slowly to cross the road without being nervous about someone may crash into you. Just a few moments later, you will find yourself on the other side.
These handy road crossing tips should help you encounter the traffic in Vietnam safely, but the best way to cross many busy streets in big cities in Vietnam is with an experienced road crossing guide. Happy and safety traveling!