Our guide to navigating the frenetic traffic in Vietnam

by Jules on July 16, 2013

It’s said that there are more than two million scooters tearing up the streets of Saigon alone which makes navigating the traffic in this hot and hectic city interesting, to say the least!

I started my journey around Vietnam in Ho Chi Minh City and initially found the sheer amount of scooter traffic quite daunting. Just leaving the hotel to go to the shop across the road was a pretty scary prospect in itself! The best tips I can give you is to walk slowly and steadily across the road. There are very few zebra crossings in Saigon and where there are, they are generally ignored. There are also few traffic lights which does little to hold the sheer weight of mopeds, taxis and tricks.

When crossing, make eye contact with the drivers and together with your continuous pace, they will make allowances for pedestrians and weave around you. After taking about twenty minutes just to cross the road for a few supplies, I eventually got the hang of navigating the frenetic traffic. It’s not unusual to spot whole families riding onboard a scooter – after all, the ubiquitous scooter is often the family’s only mode of transport, much the same as a family-friendly estate car or SUV might be to us in the west. Just about anything and everything is carried on board the scooter as well, from cages of live chickens to the day’s supplies for a market stall.

The capital city of Hanoi seemed less frantic as far as the traffic situation goes (or maybe I was just becoming more accustomed to the situation). It’s estimated that of the 6 million population in Hanoi, there are over 5 million scooters on the roads! Watch the video below for as taster! I can definitely recommend staying centrally to minimise the amount of walking around you have to do. Also taking a taxi is a good idea to place you closer to where you need to be.

All in all I thoroughly enjoyed my Vietnam adventure and will never complain about the roads at home again!

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