Traffic, Ho Chi Minh City
This sounds risky,but locals say that you just step out,make eye contact with the nearest approaching vehicle and keep walking.The first few times it took some nerve,but after a few attempt's found that it did work ,and the traffic went around you.However,if your lucky you won't have to wait long before one of the city's tourist police will come to your aid,with traffic whistle and upheld palm.
The traffic in Ho Chi Minh City is amazing but also very scaring. Cars and motorcycles everywhere and it looks like there are no rules, but somehow it works and the traffic seems to flow.
Scary the first few times you need to cross a road in Ho Chi Minh City, but just walk across in a slow and steady tempo. The best way to cross a road is to follow the lead of a local crossing… But, be very careful…
Dangers of walking across the streets in Vietnam is DANGER. The best way to walk across the street in Vietnam is just close your eyes and walk a straight line until you get to the other side. When I was told that I LOL, but it does hold some truths because most of the drivers are watching you while you watch them. Don't make a sudden move, but a decisive path that you follow, never stop and just go forward as all of the traffic will neigotiate your very moves.
Saigon is a motorcycle heaven, there are more motorcycles than other vehicles per square kilometer of the area than in most countries and they motorcycle drivers here, both men and women, young and old, are daredevils in driving such that they swing from left to right in any direction when in the roads that is why they have a large number of motorcycle accidents in Vietnam per year, and you as a tourist must always be careful in crossing any street, particularly the large boulevards and streets and these motorcycles criss cross left and right hence always use both of your eyes when crossing the streets here as to avoid being run over by a wayward motorcycle.
If you've already been travelling through Vietnam you've probably noticed the mad random acts many drivers commit. Honking, jumping lights, cutting corners, going the wrong way on the streets, riding one handed, the list goes on.........
There are basically far too many motorbikes here and they think they can make up the rules as they go along. Fine if you're Vietnamese but for tourists who are new to the chaos, it can be intimidating and scary. Don't take anything for granted and keep your eyes open.
Well, yes, in our short visit to this city we couldn't encounter any threats or danger here with the exception of the very crowded crazy traffic. But well, those are in every large city and also here the scooters drive like crazy.
There are no rules. I've cycled here for over a year ! Be especially careful for bikes and cars turning in from the right, they don't care you are there, and as there are no right or rules of priority, they couldn't care less. Never drive with 'lose' items on your bike, thieves get away with them just in a second and speed to nothing in the traffic. I would like to gather all expats living in HCM and ask them NEVER TO let the drivers pass on the left (yes, coming from the opposite direction), THAT WOULD BE helpful to change this foolish rule here.
To all visitors : don't be too exalted about the comedy or fun this kind of traffic is, IT REALLY IS DANGEROUS..... and I know from the Viets (apart from the young machos) that they don't like it either, and that they find it HORRIFIC too.
I cannot remember how many times visitors reveal their amazement about city traffic. But I can firmly tell that 90% of them would say the traffic is the first thing catches their attention.
Recently, the government has invested largely in some huge projects to save the city from traffic jam & also “flooding” in rainy season or high tide. However, it does not work so far. In a costly effort to solve the situation, they even make it worse by setting up hundred of construction sites in the cities. It not only blocks the traffic but also emit pollution.
So many vehicle (most of them are motorbikes), narrow roads, and construction sites make the city become no-rush-hour town. You can easily be trapped in a desperate crowd anywhere, anytime.
Okay, the crazy traffic in HCMC really drove me MAD...
You should really be careful when crossing the road, because thousands of motorbikes comes like flood, you never know how to hide. However, the best way to cross the road is to find a local, walking next to him, as your reference. Magically, you will find the local are good at doing this thing!
Also, if you walk in the sidewalk, always pay special attention since motorbike can come close to you when there is no warning before you found out.
HCM traffic is just a constant flow of motorcycles with few traffic lights. Those that are there are mostly ignored. Do you remember the eighties video game Frogger? The only way to cross a street is to wade out into the sea of motorcycles and hope they miss you. Walk slow and deliberate and they will try to avoid you. However, don't try this advice in other cities as you will get run over.
I had never seen so many motorbikes in my life. I learned that you just start walking across the street and don't look. If you do then you'll stop, try to go around them and most likely get hit. If you just walk like nobody's business they will go around you. And they come from all angles. And we truly never got the photo to capture what we saw everyday with this mode of transportation.
You will need to take a step back at a busy intersection and watch for a while. Although it seems that there is no order here, everyone just seems to launch themselves straight into the flow. The best tip is just to walk at a steady, even pace, don't stop or jump if you think that someone is going to hit you. They will weave around you. It will seem pretty scary on your first day, but it is surprising how fast you get used to it!
If you are really afraid. you might find that a policeman or even a Saigon native will stop and help you!
Be really careful when you are crossing the road. Don't ever stop right in the middle of the buzzling motorbike, go straight forward - lose your doubt and go ahead.
(HCMC is a lot better than Hanoi...)
Traffic is really bad in Ho Chi Min, in particular there are zillions of motorbikes on the road, and no road rules. Put the three together and you'll realize that road crossing can become quite an adventure. Af first, at least...
The best way to cross a busy road is to remember the followings:
- cars do not stop (never) for pedestrians
- motorbikes do not stop for pedestrians
- bicycles do not stop for pedestrians
However you can try the following: if there are no cars in sight (quite often), walk very slowly across the road... always at the same pace, and don't stop for any reason: motorbikes and bicycles will miraculously avoid you.
Before I left for Ho Chi Minh City, I was told by one of my relative that one should just walk across the street without making eye contact with the motorists. Taaa!!! Wrong! That would be the fastest way to kill yourself.
Crossing the road can be quite simple with practice. Do not run, and do not be indecisive in the way you cross. Motorists read your body language, so don't confuse them by moving forward suddenly, then back.
One good thing is that the vehicles are not moving too fast, and the motorcycles will usually go around you.
But if you're not sure how to cross the road, get the security people to guide you across, and no, they will not extort you of any money.