It is hard to imagine traffic in any city in the world worse than the traffic in Ho Chi Minh City, aka Saigon in Vietnam.
Amazingly though it all seems to work and while yes there are accidents and it can take a long time to get from one district to another, it all does seem to work and it also seems to be part of the eccentric charm and character of this amazing city.
While getting round in a tour bus, limousine or taxi is generally very safe, as a pedestrian you need to take care and locals advise that when crossing the road, just step out, preferably at a crossing although traffic generally seems to take no notice of them, and if you can, make eye contact with the nearest approaching vehicle, motor cycle or scooter and keep walking, maintaining the same steady speed, keep looking ahead … and the traffic will miraculously weave its way around you!
Yes, it takes all the nerve and confidence you can muster, but it works!
In Ho Chi Minh City with an estimated population of nine million or so people, there is an estimated seven million motorcycles or scooters, and how the riders survive as they swerve around each other and cars, trucks and busses is miracle and mystery to me.
Amazingly though, I have never seen an accident in Ho Chi Minh City!
Why so many motorbikes and scooters? Well they are the most efficient way for locals to get around and they are cheap compared to cars, which are astronomically expensive due to heavy taxation and duties, although increased affluence particularly in Ho Chi Minh City means that more people want cars … with the result certain to be even greater gridlock!
So, for a taste of traffic, motorcycles, scooters and more in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, check out my video below!
An on location from ITE HCMC 2016 report by John Alwyn-Jones