One of the first things that come to mind when we think of Vietnam is Motorbike. It is the country’s major mode of public transportation and has been part of their culture. According to the locals more than half of their population owns a motorcycle. In fact, you can only count the number of cars in the highway. It is not a surprise since it is more affordable means of movement among low-income people especially in developing countries in Southeast Asia.
Several statistics and studies suggest about the danger of using it as a public transport and have raised concerns to traffic congestion and safety. According to WHO, Approximately 14 000 people lose their lives each year in Vietnam as a result of road traffic crashes. Motorcyclists account for a high proportion (approximately 59%) of the road traffic collisions in the country.
Despite of its danger, most travelers still prefer to enjoy getting around the city in the most amusing yet unique way. All I can say is consider the consequences first before submerging yourself in such activity. If you really insist, then do it but please take note of our experience.
We were all excited and completely curious about the feeling of driving a scooter in the famous street of Ho Chi Minh. We’re very complacent since two of my travel buddies can drive a car. And I thought we’d be fine since I’ve tried riding a motorcycle in Thailand, though as a passenger. So we asked the receptionist in the hotel on where to find a trust worthy rental. Then He referred as to one of the hotels crew to assist us. About 20 minutes later, two scooters arrived in front of the hotel.
After all the preparations: checking the motors and know how to basically operate it, my brother and I decided to be the drivers and the girls as the passengers. It was actually fun and easy to learn. But when we hit the main road we were surprised. The feeling of being the driver is far different than I’d thought. The congestion was unlike anything I’d ever seen anywhere, and the people there didn’t seem to be following any kind of rule. We’re supposed to take a U-turn then out of the bloom my brother’s scooter malfunctioned. The next thing we know, he was lying on the street. We feel as if our hearts stopped for a second as it transpired so fast. We’re grateful that one of the street vendors instantly approached and supported him. She even helped my brother to clean his wounds. She’s truly a heaven sent.
I went back to the hotel to ask further assistance because the motor was not functioning at all. One of the crews accompanied me to pick up my brother. When we got back we decided to take a short nap and continue the trip in the afternoon.
At the end of the day, we’re still thankful and grateful to God because the injury was not that serious. He always keeps us under his protective wings. The accident teaches us a valuable lessons, not to become too complacent and the importance of placing safety above all else.
Important to Know:
- Driving a motorbike in general is like having one foot on the grave.
- A local driving License is required for all foreigners.
- Vietnam is a right side driving country.
- Arrange your motorbike rental through a hotel that has excellent and genuine online reviews.
- If you haven’t done it before, better yet to use other means of transportation.