Vietnam and Motorcycles: motorcycles in Vietnam. Motorcycle traffic in Vietnam, Vietnamese traffic chaos Motorcycle

Vietnam and motorbikes

Vietnam and motorbikes

Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City): city bikes


Motorcycles in Vietnam. Yamaha Mio Ultimo
The streets of Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam) run over 6 milion bikes.

It is said that every adult owns a motorcycle and the truth is that while there, one would think, so Saigon, or as it is known there, Ho Chi Minh City, is known as the city of bikes. Moreover, it has the guiness city most densely motorcycles in the world. Locals told me that was once the city of bicycles, and in the future will be the ability of the cars.

In Vietnam is distinguished between Xe Máy, which for us would be a scooter or small motorcycle, and Xe Mô Tô, a proper motorcycle. Through the streets of Vietnam, it is very difficult to see a large motorcycle (mo to xe). The reasons are several: the price, the traffic chaos, Speed ​​limits, the road conditions, etc.. In addition, there a motorbike (xe may) is used for the same as we would use here a car: take the kids to school (yes, children, plural), shopping, etc..


Motorcycles in Vietnam. Gearbox
The bikes that cruise the streets of Vietnam can be divided into two groups: automatic and manual. A motorcycle has no automatic gearbox, throttle and brake only (are the most comfortable to move around the city). The manuals, unlike European motorcycles, have no clutch gear is engaged enough. As a curiosity I have to say that the order of the gears is different from the gearbox of a European bike.

A European motorcycle gearbox is as follows: 1 - N - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6.
By contrast, a motorcycle Vietnamese gearbox is N - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6.
Also the order of the marches, changes the direction of the shift lever (located on left). In Europe, stepping up down the lever (ie down) and run up lifting the lever (up). In Vietnam it is the other, stepping on the lever (down) is speeding up and the lift lever (up) gets off a gear.

A car in Vietnam is extremely expensive. The price is between 2 and 3 times the retail price on any other part of the world. For example, I found a "deal" of a Volkswagen New Beetle second hand by one trillion VND (1,000,000,000 VND), which would change about 40,000 €. This is the car in question:
Cars in Vietnam. Volkswagen Beetle

This car in Europe, does not exceed 22,000€. The reason is simple: import taxes. Any car that is imported, must pay at least 100% of its value in taxes. The reason is to protect the Vietnamese automobile industry, which today does not exist.

Considering the fact that in Vietnam, wages start at 1.5 million VND per month (about 60€), considered a good salary 10 million VND per month (approx. 400€), a car can only be what allow the super-rich. In the case of motorcycles is the opposite, you can find bikes from 200€ (5 million VND), this added to the tropical climate enjoyed throughout the year, making the bike is the transport method of the Vietnamese.


This video was recorded in the center of Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam), on any given night. Although it seems a hell circulatory, it's nothing compared to the traffic at rush hour may have.

Driving in Vietnam


Jam motorbikes in Vietnam
To drive a motorcycle in Vietnam must have a drivers license, the minimum age for licensure is 18.

When driving a motorcycle must wear a helmet (although the Vietnamese regulations regarding safety standards are much lower than in Europe), you can not exceed 40km / h in town (not enough, but standing on a bike surrounded of thousands of motorbikes in Ho Chi Minh City is crazy), left the lane is reserved for cars, only allow two adults per bike, however, all children can go to be able to carry on the bike (logically, if a car is so expensive and have 3 children, you will not take 3 trips).

Vietnamese Family on a motorbike
Vietnamese Family motorcycle. Vietnamese motorcycle. Hue, Vietnam

An alien may lead bike with the card 's country of origin, but to drive a car Vietnamese Card is necessary. Being foreigners and not master the language, the theory test for good we will presenting our driver's license.

They draw attention to several things:
  • Almost complete absence of vertical signals, not just talking about the typical speed limit sign, but any sign that tells you to go to a particular place.
  • Given a red light, yield and even stop as long as there is no addition to the right, a motorcycle can go on their way (the cars are to be expected).Woman on bike in Vietnam
  • All lights of Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) have a timer that shows the time remaining until it changes color.
  • The amber light of a religiously respected (unlike in Madrid, which means more speed).
  • With just a few seconds for the light turns green (say 4-5 seconds), everyone starts and starts up (I think that's where the stop at amber)
  • Horn, is used for everything, I would say even more than intermittently. However, no one bothers because someone beeps.
  • Crosswalk, or in general, across the street. Nobody will stop to let us pass. The only difference between a crosswalk and any other point on the street is that crossing a crosswalk, no one beep.
  • In Hanoi, North Vietnam, almost no one wears a helmet.
  • Everyone wears masks to protect themselves from the pollution.
  • You can find bikes in the most unexpected places and even goes with the bike " into the kitchen " for any kind of daily activity, such as going to the market.

Jams in Vietnam

Although it may seem incredible, there are bottlenecks in Vietnam. The Vietnamese are beginning to circulate on the sidewalks (I think it is forbidden), directional changes are made, crosses and other maneuvers impossible, begin to appear the first bikes circling counterclockwise, etc..

Motorcycle Vietnam. Vietnam Motorcycle Traffic
Motorcycles Hanoi, Vietnam


By stopping the bike (eg against a red light), people tend to get together a lot, so much that in one meter can be up to 3 bikes. Too often people have burns on the legs, because the exhaust pipes of the bikes nearby. Also be careful when stopping the bike and put the foot down (one better than the two feet) of a Vietnamese driving by us, we caught the foot with the wheel of the bike.

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