Living in HCMC | 2019-11-15← Back
Having your own motorbike in Saigon is probably the best and most convenient way to get around the city. Before you rent one or buy one, first things first; do you know how to drive a motorbike? If not and you’ve never ridden one before then it's quite obvious that you need to learn. If you honestly can ride a motorbike, skip to the next part.
Take the time to learn to handle and control a bike is very important so you can avoid broken bones (or worse), and a safe and pleasant journey. There’s no point in putting your life and other people’s lives at risk just because you want to look cool with your own motorbike. Find a friend or co-worker who is patient and experienced to help you learn the ropes. An ideal spot to practice is on the edge of Phú Mỹ Hưng where traffic is almost non-existent and the pavements are in good condition. Once you can actually drive a motorbike, go ahead and get one as you please.
Anyone who has ever been on the streets of Saigon would know that traffic here is pretty much madness! There’s a reason why “how to cross the streets in Vietnam and not die” is a thing, especially for expats and foreigners. That is not just a racist joke–it’s an actual thing. The rules and road etiquette here is very different so always keep your guard up. It’s not because Vietnamese people are bad drivers, they just don’t really mind the rules that much. Don’t be surprised if there’s a huge load on a motorcycle or multiple people riding one. There are laws about this but it’s like a “local thing” and as a foreigner, you won’t get away with it so don’t even attempt to overload and copy what the locals are doing. Just being foreign looking will make you an easy target for corrupt enforcers so it’s best to stay on the safe side and adhere to the law. In general, driving in Saigon is adrenaline raising. It’s crazy but it’s pretty safe. It just takes a bit of getting used to and a lot of courage.