Motorbikes in Vietnam
Motorbikes, usually simply referred to as ‘bikes’, are of vital importance in the daily life of Vietnam and the Vietnamese.
Before writing about our ‘Back of the Bike’-tour-experience, it therefor seems only right to explain and show you more about motorbikes in Vietnam.
In our hotel I came across a cool coffeetable-book called ‘Bikelihood’.
Let me start by sharing what the book tells us about the importance of bikes in Vietnam and by showing you some of the pictures in the book.
And here are some of the pictures in Bikelihood:
Amazing, isn’t it?!
(The rest of the pictures in this post are by me. Only the four above are not.)
Bikes everywhere in Saigon’s streets
Whatever time of the day and where ever, the streets of Saigon are crawling with bikes. When they are not on the road, they are parked everywhere.
Riding a bike makes perfect sense:
- it’s more affordable than a car
- due to heavy traffic congestion (in Saigon), traveling by bike often goes much faster than by car
- apart from the hottest hours of the day, it is lovely and breezy to ride a bike
- Saigon has a lot of small streets and narrow alleys, which are still accessible by bike.
- you can transport anything and anyone on a bike
- you can use your bike as your tiny house on wheels; you can sleep on it, sit on it, read the newspaper on it, eat and drink on it, and the list goes on.
- many people wear face masks. Not only does this protect them from exhaust fumes and dirt, it also protects them from the sun. More about that in the next bullet.
- many people, especially women, cover up heavily. Women go to great lengths to NOT get a tan. Unlike a lot of Caucasians, Asians do NOT want to be tanned.
- most children do not wear helmets. The main reason being that it’s difficult to find helmets that small, I was told.
- Since bikes are so convenient in a city like Saigon, they not only have Grab-taxi (a sort of Uber), but also Grab-bike!
Traffic is crazy and people treat traffic rules very lightly, so renting a bike in Saigon as a tourist does not sound like the most relaxed option. That’s why the Back of the Bike tours are such a brilliant idea.
More about Back of the Bike Tours in my next post.