Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Getting Around

 
 

On Foot

Ho CHi Minh City's traffic is made up of a staggering number of motorbikes and increasing number of private cars. However its exceptionally rare to see a motorbike of more than 150 cc and traffic rarely gets above 20-30 km per hour in central areas. However crossing the road in the city can be a nightmare. It is always scary but for some, they will get used to it quite quickly. A quicker way of getting across the streets is to simply follow the lead of the locals. However, the true trick to crossing is to stay aware and walk slowly and confidently. 
 
 
 
 
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Adherence to traffic signals in Ho Chi Minh City is nearly non-existent and while they're not always followed, riders and drivers tend to use their "best judgment". Just remember that vehicles can always turn right at any time (regardless of the traffic lights). Motorbikes often drive in the wrong direction to make a short cut even if they are against the traffic. A typical scenario played here, and in other big cities in Vietnam is motorcycles dash from everywhere. Crossing roads therefore maybe a challenge for Westerners used to traffic laws and traffic lights.

Ho Chi Minh City at night by Robert Lafond

The streets, sidewalks and outdoor markets are covered by motorbikes. Look everywhere as you cross - in all directions to your left, right, back and front, even if you have the right of way. Not all motorbikes behind you will generally beep at you to let you know they're there. Sidewalks are not the domain of pedestrians - they will invade and just appear next to you before you know it. Furthermore, traffic police often occupy themselves with random roadside checks and do not bother about the motorcyclists running the red lights or driving on the sidewalks.

Ly Tu Truong Street by Kham Tran

However, walking along the edge of the road is easy enough. But there are some open sidewalks to walk safely on and just walking around the city helps you really get a taste of it. Seeing people prepare, cook food and wash dishes, and even shave, manicure and pedicure, not to mention sleep and pee on the side of the street and just standing watching traffic go by in awe is just as entertaining as anything.

 
Guide to
Ho Chi Minh City
 
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