Thursday, August 03, 2006


Nha Trang

Stop at a red light? That's a big question in Viet Nam where a very high percentage of people don't follow this basic rule. This is scarey for whoever comes to Viet Nam for the first time.


Motorbikes are the popular form of transportation in Viet Nam and you can see different motorbikes with different colors. From $800, you can own a brand new Chinese motorbike with Japanese branding, such as a Honda Dream, Lifan etc. The quality is not bad but if you need a fancy look then you have to spend about $2000 for a Japanese or Korean bike.

Traffic in Hanoi

Vietnamese love to follow the fashion and they change their bike very often even though it costs a few thousand dollars such a change. Do not be surprised when you see most young people riding around Hanoi on the most expensive and updated bike even though they sometimes have no money in their pocket or have just enough to pay for the petrol.


Is there a Driving license or age limit law in Vietnam? There is but it is not a big deal in Viet Nam as so many boys and girls drive motorbikes which are over 100cc under the age of 16 and the police don't really care much about that unless they drive fast or carry 3 or 4 friends on the back. Knowledge is limited about traffic rules and some people seem to not really care about their lives or those of others. That's why there are many accidents happening everyday.


Tim Rice said...

Thanks for sharing more about life and culture where you live. You help me to experience things that without you I would probably never have any idea of. May your life be full of joy.

khasan said...

Hi Tu... how much it costs to rent a Vespa for one week. I am thinking when I get to Hanoi I would like to rent one. Good idea?
Or I may get kill by my people.

khasan said...

Hi Tu... Would you setup a blog for me. I had hard time to do so.
Screen name: zenmasterkha
Password: tucson85712

I teach me how to inset pictures to this blog.

You stay with me when you go to USA.


Buddhist with an attitude said...

Wow khasan! What were you thinking, man! Don't ever give such information on the internet where anybody could see them. I advise you to change your password and send the new password to Tu at his email address and not in the comments.

junebee said...

I read a similar thing about traffic in Vietnam. It's totally free-form and no rules apply! Sort of like a real-life video game!

Anonymous said...

Not only in Vietnam! My sister was in India last year and got run down by a man on a motorcycle, while she was trying to cross a road on foot. Fortunately, she was unhurt beyond a few bruises.

Here in the USA, it isnt' much better - we get to dodge anger-crazed sport utility vehicle drivers when we walk to lunch from my office. These drivers frequently disregard red lights (when the light has just turned from yellow to red), speed, change lanes unexpectedly and without signalling, and otherwise make driving and walking unsafe. We don't have that many motorbike riders here (they get run off the road by the SUVs!), but the ones we do have are relatively safer drivers.

Sandy Hatcher-Wallace said...

I'm a motorbike driver and I would be very much afraid of driving in Vietnam. I like it when there are traffic laws to obey and people who obey them. Things run smoothly and without accidents when everyone obeys the laws.

HanoiMark said...

In a Canadian paper recently there was some discussion about purposely removing some of the elements that create order (crosswalks, traffic lights, etc) in order to improve safety. The argument (supported by some traffic psychologists) is that a certain level of uncertainty results in vigilance. If you create an environment in which everyone thinks all behaviour is governed by rules, then people sometimes stop watching out for unpredictable behaviour (people stepping off curbs, someone running a stop sign, etc). So it seems an environment with some uncertainty may be safer than an environment with too much order.

Of course Vietnamese traffic operates at the opposite end of the spectrum. When I drove my moto in Hanoi I had to be incredibly aware of things around me because ANYTHING could happen; there were almost no rules. The reason there isn't a collision every five feet is because everyone exercises a heightened vigilance that is unnecessary and uncommon in the West. So the traffic operates according to a very different psychology. Having said that, obviously there is WAY too much uncertainty in the traffic in VN, and the results are often deadly.

Winn said...

there are a lot of daredevil drivers in malaysia too:p

FooDcrazEE said...

stop at red light ? Lolz...malaysian dont do that too unless there's police nearby....motorbike is the easiest transport to go round HCMC and cheap.

Crystal said...

Dare-devil driving is a fact of life all over the world, but there do seem to be less "rules" in developing countries and thus driving is often more chaotic. Thanks for providing insight into Vietnam, seems consumerism is really flourishing there and frugality has gone out the window. Young people everywhere what to emulate what they see on T.V., and in U.S.A people have a lot of credit card debt because of that.

black feline said...

on the contrary...i alway complain Singapore is too regulated! frankly i personally like a bit of chaos...that's life!

sunkissed said...

Oh my gosh, you're soooo right. I really felt I was going to die after I took that cab from Nobai Airport to De Syloia Hotel. They don't know when to stop or if they should give way. Terrifying experience. Now I am not surprised why vehicular/motorbike accidents are very common in Vietnam. Our Vietnamese host once commented while we were eating breakfast "There were 78 accidents today" Gosh!

girlO said...

I am trying to get life insurance in Oz and a few companies have told me they would not insure me if I lived and worked in VN. I assume it's because of road accidents. I guess I can understand that - having been in a moto accident in Nth VN and luckily escaping with only a shattered leg!

Van Cong Tu said...

Thanks for all comment
Hanoi mark,Tim rice, greg, Buddhist with an attitude, junebee, Winn, Crystal, black feline, g.knotee, fooDcrazEE : thanks mate.

khasan, I dont have a clue but I dont think it is expensive at all.

girloverboard, really? that's weird because there are so many western people working here with good insurance conditions.

Abandoned in Pasadena I htink you should try once in your life amd you will see the difference.

Good to know people out of Viet Nam also don't follow the rule :)

viagra online said...

The rules in Vietnam are to complicated for me, thanks for the explanation.