Hanoi – City of Motorbikes
Hanoi is an incredibly busy and traffic-packed city. There are 7 million people in Hanoi with an astonishing 3 million motorbikes. Motorbikes have become a central form of transportation in recent decades for all walks of life. It is not uncommon to see families of 4 or 5 including babies riding on a 100cc motorbike. Women often ride side-saddle. Also, sidewalks are not for walking but are used for parking bikes, cars, bicycles. Additionally, many motorbikes are parked in peoples homes.
Ride a Cyclo
When you first arrive in Hanoi you will probably feel a great culture shock. The first thing you should do is hire a cyclo (the drivers will ask you non-stop if you would like a ride, so they are not hard to find). A cyclo is a small 2 person (preferably 1 person) rickshaw that is pushed by a pedal bike. You can get an hour ride for approximately 50,000 dong ($3). This mode of transportation takes you around the old section of town and starts to provide you an ease with the overwelming traffic and congestion of people. However, you must ensure you make it very clear what the price is going to be as these cyclo or rickshaw riders have a habit of asking for more after the trip with excuses that it has actually taken more time, that it is actually quite far, etc. Make sure you have to correct change to avoid this as they may attempt to give you back less. Also, when sitting in this mode of transportation please ensure that your bags or camera, etc are securely strapped as otherwise, you could make an easy target for snatch thieves on motorcyles.
Taxis in Hanoi
Taxis are very inexpensive and normally go by the meter without a problem. Taxis do not stop at intersections nor do they have any regard for motorcycles – they honk their horn and stick right on the motorcyles bumper until they move. Vietnamese are not fased by this – they simply take it in stride. Big taxis operated by ‘Hanoi Taxi’ would be a safer bet compared to the more gung-ho smaller taxis that have a reputation of meters being ‘fixed’.
Market Hub Streets and street intersections
Interestingly, in Old Hanoi, each street serves as functional hub where businesses each focuses on one task (ie silk, metal, travel, cds, etc.). Traffic at intersections is like weaving a needle. All traffics merge and pedestrians walk right through the middle. Once accomplished you will find yourself at home in Hanoi. Do not run nor stop – the traffic is watching you at your pace. This is truly scary.
Hanoi is a fabulous, culture rich city. Once you get used to the 24/7, non-stop honking, the aggressive driving, endless stream of pedestrians and street-vendors mixing all together, you will love your experiences here.
In addition, To enjoy the most beautiful sightseeings in Vietnam by your eyes, you can see some itineraries below Halong Bay Cruises – Hanoi Tour – Vietnam Tours – Sapa Tours – Package Tours or book a private car to discover where ever you want to enjoy the Vietnamese taste.