Vietnam is famous for having some of the most intimidating roads in the world. Actually, the driving itself generally isn’t bad at all, but the traffic is something else!
We’re not exactly experts, but having survived two trips to Vietnam now, we think we’ve at least mastered enough to write a beginners’ guide! All I can say is that the following tips might sound obvious, but they’re easier said than done when faced with an unrelenting wall of motorbikes merrily weaving across the road 😬
Step 1: Take a deep breath and step off the kerb
You’re waiting for a gap, aren’t you? You’ll be there forever if so! So really, pick a moment when there are more motorbikes than cars (since they are more manouverable) and step out into the road.
Step 2: Walk slowly and deliberately across the road
The key is to maintain a predictable pace so that people can steer around you. Don’t run, try not to stop, and whatever you do, don’t backtrack. There’ll be a terrifying but very satisfying moment when all the traffic stops passing in front of you, starts to head straight toward you, and then begins to pass behind your back as you move across the road. Nearly there!
Bonus points if you manage not to even look at the traffic. This is a real power move and will earn you instant respect from drivers (honestly)! I’ve never managed this, though – apparently I like advance notice of when I’m about to be flattened…
Step 3: Hop back up on the opposite kerb but keep watching for motorbikes
You did it! Now don’t drop your guard, since there are normally about as many motorcycles travelling up and down the pavements as there are in the road 😉