Vietnam Travel Guide: The Reality of Traffic

Vietnam Travel Guide: The Reality of Traffic

When it comes to traffic in Vietnam, people often think of something terrible, horrible, and extremely dreadful. As a Vietnamese person, I have to admit that it is rather crazy and insane as the transportation flows keep going on all the time. With its bustling streets and diverse transportation options, understanding local traffic tips and anticipating road situations will help ensure a Vietnam safe travel and an enjoyable trip in Vietnam.

traffic in Vietnam
Reality of traffic in Vietnam

Vietnam’s Diverse Transportation

Vietnam is a country with a diverse transportation landscape, where modes of transport play a crucial role in daily life. Motorbikes, prevalent and symbolic of flexibility and convenience, are not just a primary means of transportation but also an emblem of urban vitality. From narrow rural roads to bustling city streets, the sounds of motorcycle horns and the glow of headlights form an integral part of the urban atmosphere.

traffic tips in Vietnam
The motorbike culture in Vietnam

Additionally, bicycles, known for their environmental friendliness, are commonly found in rural areas, contributing to a serene and nature-immersed landscape. Cyclos and xích lô, on the other hand, offer a leisurely pace, taking tourists on a relaxed journey through crowded streets, providing a unique travel experience.

safe transportation in ho chi Minh city
Cycling is actually a good option in Vietnam

Public transportation, encompassing buses and trains, offers cost-effective and convenient options for both locals and tourists navigating cityscapes. Meanwhile, taxi services and personal modes of transport like cars and planes are widely available, catering to diverse transportation needs.

traffic tips in vietnam
Buses are widely chosen by the local people

With this diversity, Vietnam’s transportation system not only facilitates movement but also intertwines with the cultural fabric and lifestyle of its people. The hum of motorbikes, the rhythmic pedaling of bicycles, and the unhurried pace of cyclos and xích lô all contribute to the vibrant tapestry of Vietnam’s transportation culture.

Common Traffic Issues in Vietnam

One of the most significant challenges in Vietnam is traffic congestion, particularly during peak hours when the entire population is either heading to school or work. The streets become congested, bustling with almost every conceivable mode of transportation. To avoid getting stuck in the midst of this sea of vehicles, it is advisable to steer clear of rush hours.

traffic tips in ho chi Minh city
Rush hours in Ho Chi Minh city

Another prevalent issue is the lack of adherence to traffic rules and regulations. Many Vietnamese individuals tend to disregard traffic lights or signs, overload their vehicles with heavy goods in the back seat, drive at excessively high speeds, smoke while waiting for the green light, or even ride their motorbikes on the sidewalk. These common infractions contribute to a chaotic traffic environment. Thankfully, the government is actively working to implement stricter laws to address and improve the current situation.

Traffic Rules in Vietnam

While the chaotic scenes in videos and photos might suggest a lack of traffic rules in Vietnam, it’s crucial to recognize that specific regulations govern road traffic. To ensure a safe and smooth journey, here are some key traffic rules to keep in mind:

  • Adhere to speed limits: Motorbikes should not exceed 40km/h in urban areas and 60km/h on highways and rural roads.
  • Priority for stronger vehicles: In situations where there is a right of way, stronger vehicles such as buses or trucks have priority. Avoid attempting to give way to them, as it may lead to confusion and potential accidents.
  • Wear a helmet: It is mandatory to always wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle. Ensure you have a properly fitting helmet that meets safety standards to protect yourself in case of a mishap.
safe traveling in vietnam
Always have a helmet with you !
  • Drive on the right side of the road: In Vietnam, vehicles drive on the right side of the road. Follow this rule to maintain proper traffic flow and avoid collisions.
  • Strict alcohol rules: It is strictly prohibited to drive after consuming any amount of alcohol. Even a single beer can lead to legal consequences and jeopardize road safety. Refrain from drinking and driving altogether.
traffic in vietnam
Alcohol testing stops around the city
  • Motorcycle categorization: In Vietnam, scooters are generally referred to as motorcycles. Any vehicle with an engine above 50CC is considered a motorcycle, requiring a motorcycle license. Motorcycles under 50CC are rarely available for rent and are not suitable for mountainous regions.
  • Avoid cellphone use while driving: Using your cellphone while driving is prohibited. Keep your focus on the road, minimize distractions, and prioritize safe driving practices.
  • Maximum two passengers on a motorbike: It is recommended to have a maximum of two people on a motorbike. While you may observe locals carrying more passengers, adhering to this guideline enhances safety.

Crossing the Road in Vietnam for Tourists:

Traveling in Vietnam offers a vibrant experience, but crossing the roads in busy cities can be challenging for tourists. Here are some tips for navigating different modes of transportation:

Using pedestrian crossings:

  • Always opt for designated pedestrian crossings or overpasses when available. Wait for traffic lights or designated crossing signals before proceeding.
  • Pay attention to the flow of local pedestrians and follow their lead when crossing. Safety in numbers can be beneficial.
traffic tips in Vietnam
Always try to use the zebra crosses

Motorbike crossing:

  • When on a motorbike, identify pedestrian crossings or traffic lights to safely cross the road. Adhere to traffic rules and always wear a helmet.
  • If no traffic lights are present, wait for a clear gap in traffic before crossing. Observe the speed and flow of motorcycles.

Crossing with cars and buses:

  • Utilize main pedestrian crossings and ensure visibility to drivers. Check for traffic lights or traffic wardens.
  • Be mindful of vehicle speed and ensure you have sufficient time to cross safely.

Bicycle crossing:

  • Monitor traffic flow and wait for a gap to safely cross on a bicycle. Use hand signals or a horn to indicate your intentions to drivers.
  • Ensure your bicycle is equipped with reflectors or lights for better visibility, especially at night.

Observing local crossing cabits:

  • Watch how locals navigate road crossings and learn from their interactions with traffic. This can provide valuable insights into local traffic rules and habits.

Patience and clertness:

  • Stay patient and alert when crossing roads. Observe and assess traffic conditions before deciding to move.

Remember to prioritize safety and, when possible, seek advice from locals or hotel staff on safe and convenient crossing points. Enjoy your exploration of Vietnam, and happy crossing!

Safety Tips for Tourists in Vietnam

Vietnam is a fantastic destination, and ensuring a safe journey adds to the enjoyment. Here are simple tips for a Vietnam safe travel:


Traffic Tip #1: Respect local ways

Blend in by dressing modestly and understanding local customs. This ensures a positive interaction with the friendly locals.


Traffic Tip #2: Keep your belongings safe

Stay vigilant in crowded areas and use a secure bag or money belt to protect your valuables, minimizing the risk of pickpocketing.


Traffic Tip #3: Use basic protective gear

Bring simple protective gear like a money belt to ensure the safety of your belongings, reducing the chances of falling victim to scams or theft.


Traffic Tip #4: Carry copies of documents

Always have photocopies or digital versions of essential documents like your passport and visa to expedite replacements if needed.


Traffic Tip #5: Stay connected

Keep a trusted person informed about your travel plans. Regular communication ensures someone is aware of your whereabouts and can assist in case of emergencies.


Traffic Tip #6: Know local emergency contacts

Remember local emergency numbers like 113 for the police and 115 for an ambulance. This knowledge can be crucial in seeking swift assistance if required.


Traffic Tip #7: Choose safe transportation and accommodation

Opt for well-reviewed transportation and accommodation for a secure and comfortable experience during your trip.


By following these simple tips, you can explore Vietnam confidently, embracing its beauty while ensuring your safety throughout the journey.


However, Vietnam’s traffic also significantly contributes to the vibrant beauty of bustling streets and neighborhoods. Images of lively and bustling roads have created a series of fantastic pictures depicting Vietnam’s traffic, spreading widely on the internet and attracting thousands of tourists to Vietnam for the experience. If you’re up for the challenge, join the cycling tours at Jackfruit Adventure for a Vietnam safe travel Ho Chi Minh city cycling tour and unique and wonderful experiences.

vietnam safe traveling
Safe traveling with Jackfruit Adventure’s cycling tour.

More informations about safe traveling in Vietnam:

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