Top Five Tips for Crossing the Street in Vietnam

practicalities - Vietnam: Dec. 10, 2018

With over six seven people crowding the streets of Ho Chi Minh City, the motorbike is the preferred mode of transportation and it is estimated that over five million take to the roads of Saigon on a daily basis. In most metropolitan cities, a high concentration of traffic on its own is no cause for concern. Add drivers with little regard for traffic rules however and you have a recipe for the most chaotic traffic in Southeast Asia. The sheer volume of bikes usually prevents any break in traffic and will make the most confident traveller question their ability to cross the road. Luckily, a taxi is always a wave of the arm away but for many visitors crossing the street in HCMC is considered a rite of passage and a must in any itinerary. It is an art to crossing the streets in Ho Chi Minh City and we have accumulated some helpful tips to help you safely (or as safe as possible) cross the streets in the city.

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1. Enlist the help of a local. Vietnamese people are very friendly and most are more than happy to help you cross the road.

2. Commit yourself. Though every instinct in your body is screaming for you to stop, turn around and head back, don’t. Turning back can be more dangerous than continuing on.

3. Walk at an even pace and don’t dart through traffic. Head in a straight line and look at the incoming traffic. Unlike home where the traffic won’t move for you, traffic in Vietnam will flow…. around you.

4. Put your arm in the air. It makes you more visible to traffic and is an added precaution. Hopefully the arm will indicate to the motorists that you are in fact crossing the street and to look out for you.

5. Look out for buses and cars. They are big, fast and generally don’t stop for anything or anyone.

After your feet cross the pavement to the other side, just remember to exhale and relax. You’ve safely crossed the street!

Video source: Christian Regler

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