How to cross the street in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam 
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
One word comes to mind when I think about Ho Chi Minh City:  Scooters.  I have never seen so many two-wheeled motorized vehicles in my life.  On our drive from the airport to our hotel we quickly learned what the preferred mode of travel was no matter how many passengers or what they were carrying.  We saw families of five,  bags of rice, refrigerators, computer monitors, fish traps, and several other items all defying gravity upon 100 cc motor-scooters.  As we first took to the streets to explore the city by foot, we were very intimidated of the scooters which resembled swarming bees.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
In our travels we've become quite aware that there are many places in the world where little things like street signs, traffic lights and painted lines on the road are ignored.  Ho Chi Minh City is one of those places.  Crossing the road here is a learned skill.  At first, we decided to wait for a break in traffic to run across the street.  We went with this futile strategy for about 15 minutes on a street corner before we saw a local man simply walk into the traffic like he had a death wish.  He was quickly engulfed in traffic and magically reappeared at the opposite street corner.  After following locals to cross streets for half a day, we graduated ourselves to crossing alone.  Basically the technique is to walk confidently, yet slowly.  The scooters  will simply just move around you, kind of like water when you're wading across a river. Both my parents and Meg's dad met us in Ho Chi Minh City to visit us.  After a few crosses with us, they quickly graduated to walking aimlessly into traffic as well.  We hope they haven't brought this new "skill" back home with them!
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam 
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Ho Chi Minh is a lively place offering the luxuries of a big city while still having old cultural charm to it.  While walking through the city we found ourselves walking past a Cartier store one minute and enjoying a bowl of Pho at a street-side cafe in the next.  Just like any place while traveling, there's no better way to explore than by foot.  Once you get the street crossing thing down, there are many streets, alleyways, markets, malls, galleries, temples and museums to explore.Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
We were also very lucky to have some friends that live in Ho Chi Minh City show us around a bit and take us to some great restaurants.   One thing you'll never find in a guide book, local knowledge!  Thanks Neal and Xuan!  We're looking forward to seeing you again the next time we're in your city.Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam 
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
 
               

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3 Responses to How to cross the street in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

  1. JoAnna says:

    I’m headed to Ho Chi Minh City this summer and I’m prepping myself for the onslaught of scooter traffic. Thanks for the advice on how to cross the street!
    Gorgeous pictures as always, by the way. :)

  2. Scott says:

    We’ve found the best way is to quickly follow a local crossing the street. The trick is to stay right on their heels though, because if they step more than 3 paces in front of you there’s bound to be a vehicle in that space!

  3. We followed an elderly woman and just kept on moving. It worked. All those scooters flow around you. The Art of Yielding in action. Just DON’T EVER STOP!!!!!