I started my trip to Vietnam in Hanoi – and I was genuinely surprised. I don’t know what exactly impressed me, maybe it was the smooth experience at the immigration at the airport (who knew that entering a communist country would be so easy) or the curious girl selling me my first SIM card at one of the tiny airport booths. She was so sweet and curious about my solo trip that I could have stand there for hours chatting with her about traveling solo as a woman. Or maybe it was just because I arrived in Hanoi’s Old Town at noon, when the whole city is almost asleep and the streets are empty.
Traffic in Hanoi: Not so quiet
Two hours later, I thought I was in another place. The city woke up and suddenly, the Old Town was filled with people and scooters.
Scooters all over
A huge avalanche of scooters tried to find its way through the narrow, tree-lined streets, disregarding any traffic regulations. And the noise!
Apparently, Vietnamese use their horns not only to warn other in dangerous situations in traffic, but also if they want to do a turn, or overtake, or just say in general: “Watch out, here I come!”
So basically, everyone on a scooter is constantly honking, and with thousands of scooters on the street you can’t escape the infernal noise. As a pedestrian, Vietnamese traffic is definitely a huge challenge. You will have to ignore any rules you ever learned and just trust in the people around you. No traffic lights or crosswalks – nothing to help you cross a street.
Is it dangerous?
But what first seems as a chaotic agglomeration of scooters turn out to be a sophisticated choreography. And absolutely not dangerous. I took some courage and stepped into the street, one foot after the other. And magically, all scooters drove around me until I got to the other side of the road. Very impressive!
But don’t make the mistake to stop in the middle of the street! Then the whole thoughtful traffic choreography is destroyed, because everyone will be irritated and then you probably will be run over :)
So, just close your eyes, step in the street and enjoy the spectacular Vietnamese traffic!