Saturday, 21 May 2016

Motorbikes in Vietnam!

Vern & Carolyn. Motorbikes, motorcycles, scooters - whatever you call them, they are everywhere, in all shapes and sizes.  Most foreign tourists are overwhelmed by them, even scared of them.  But because we have just spent a month in India's insane traffic, nothing here in Vietnam phases us!

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The population of Vietnam is about 92 million, and there are about 42 million motorbikes.

In Saigon, we were very happy to hop on a 4-hr motorbike tour of the city, and after seeing how easily the traffic flowed around each other, never really exceeding a steady 30 km/hr, we've now rented our own bike for 2 weeks in Hanoi (see photos below).

For your amusement, here is the review of the Saigon motorbike tour we wrote for Trip Advisor:

Superb:  Not Your Average Tour!

We were intrig
ued by the idea of a motorcycle tour – but we didn’t quite understand how it would work for our family of three (surely we wouldn't all be expected to ride the same bike?!).  Turns out it was fantastic!  

 Three motorbikes arrived with a driver/guide for each of us – and while it was at first a little disconcerting to watch our child being driven away with someone we had just met, it was quickly obvious that this experience was going to be great for all of us!

We chose the night tour (too hot during the day) and it was an evening of fabulous fun, learning, and feasting.

Guides Sunny, Kien and Harry were exceptional.  Each was knowledgeable, spoke English very well, and, most importantly, they were all enthusiastic and clearly enjoyed their work.  Safely mixing in with the throng of thousands of scooters and other motorcycles on the downtown streets of Saigon was magical.

The 4-hour tour offers a unique perspective of the city.  Not only did we visit landmarks, we sampled popular Vietnamese fare at three different street venues and even had the opportunity to prepare one of the dishes ourselves before we ate it. 

Another destination was Saigon’s flower market, and armed with a "cheat sheet" of key bargaining phrases in Vietnamese, we were given some money and had to negotiate a purchase (a very useful exercise!). We also spent time at the popular pedestrian mall, asking questions of our guides and interacting with the locals (primarily to give away the flowers we had acquired, appreciated by everyone).

We’ve raved to several fellow travelers about our experience, eager to refer more well-deserved business to Saigon Adventure.  But it seems many foreigners are reluctant to join the traffic chaos on the back of a motorbike.  We can assure you that at no point did we feel unsafe.  The drivers were very conservative within the flow of traffic, and we cruised through the streets at a relaxed pace.  Having said that, just being in the middle of it all was very invigorating and exciting, and we left our night tour with more energy than we started with.

If you are looking for an experience that goes beyond the ordinary, we highly recommend joining 
Saigon Adventure on one of their many tours!


And now it's almost three weeks later in Hanoi, and we are independent (and careful) motorbike enthusiasts!  Although it is quite a lot less fun when it's raining...


  1. Those bikes must be very fun, judging by your great big smiles :) :)

    1. Yes, Debbie, lots of fun! We have to drive like the locals, in other words, just keep moving. There are only a few traffic lights in the city that actually stop traffic - most intersections are just a gentle merging of everyone going in their own direction, and every vehicle somehow flows around the others, and the very worst thing to do is stop!

  2. Vern's head must be really big judging by the size of his helmet .....

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