Monday, September 24, 2012

Postcard from Vietnam: The motorcycles of Ho Chi Minh

Motorcycles in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

This picture is actually an understatement of how much motorcycles there are in Vietnam. If jeepneys are touted as the king of the road in the Philippines, Vietnam has its motorcycles. I really can't tell how notorious motorcycles are in Vietnam (or if they are notorious at all). I got hit by a motorcycle in 2006 while crossing the street in Manila, which made me uber cautious when I went to Vietnam in 2008. And yes, I was so afraid to cross the streets of Saigon, but thank God nothing bad happened to me.

On the contrary, motorcycles made my one-day stay in Vietnam a memorable one.

Having had a red-eye flight from MNL to HCMC, I woke up late the next day, late enough for me to miss the guided tour aboard an airconditioned bus. Left with no choice, I hollered a motorcycle and asked to be brought to the destinations indicated on the itinerary of the guided tour. There were five of them, and I agreed to pay $10 (or $2 for each destination) for the entire day. This compared to the guided tour, which was priced at $8 for six destinations, inclusive of lunch. The offer of the motorcycle guy was a bit overpriced, but that's the price of waking up late!

The moral here is that if you are a budget traveler and you want to save, do your research, plan ahead and more importantly, STICK TO THE PLAN.

But then again, I think seeing Saigon aboard a motorcycle is the way to go if you want to get a feel of how natives go about in the city.

And indeed, it was a very good morning in Vietnam!

How was my day in Vietnam? Read my entry, Good Morning, Vietnam!

Tip sheet:
* Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines fly to Ho Chi Minh from Manila. Cebu Pacific is also the only Philippine carrier that flies to Hanoi from Manila.

*The $10 motorcycle fare for five destinations doesn't include entrance fees to museums. And take note, this amount is negotiable so exercise your haggling skills!


Australian Visa Made Easy said...

Motorcycles are really a good way of transportation anywhere in the world. Like in India there are really a lot of stuff like that there.