Crowded, chaotic, and confusing. These are some words that may come to your mind when trying to navigate the streets of Vietnam. Even though for an Indian traveller used to crossing busy junctions, the streets of Vietnam may not be much of a challenge, the language barrier can make things difficult. And with so many places to see in this diverse country, having a few tricks up your sleeve on how to get around can make your journey a whole lot easier.
Take To The Streets On Foot
Life happens on the streets in Vietnam. There's so much you can get to know about its cities&ndashwhether in the cosmopolitan Ho Chi Minh or the more local Hanoi&ndashwhen you are exploring them on foot. While the moody traffic may initially intimidate you, don't let it keep you from walking around. The cities hide many gems in their nooks and alleys that can only be chanced upon if you choose to walk. Be on the lookout for streetside food joints serving up delicious pho, hidden cafes, and even small shops selling hand-painted canvases and ceramics. Note that traffic rules for pedestrians are very similar to that in India&ndashin the urban parts, they are more strictly followed than in the older parts of the cities.
Traverse Like A Local On Cyclo Or Xe Om
Vietnam is a city of two-wheelers. Thousands of mopeds and bikes make up most of the traffic and for a good reason. Two-wheelers are even the top choice as local transport. Cyclo and Xe Om are the most popular and quintessentially Vietnam. Cyclo is a three-wheeled bicycle taxi consisting of single or double seats. They are not the fastest way to reach a place, but they rank first in the fun meter. As they are not allowed to take broader roads filled with cars, Cyclos make their way through the narrow alleys and lanes. Therefore, they are probably one of the best ways to find hidden gems if you don't wish to walk. Plus, they are also cheap, costing only up to 20000 VND (approx. INR 70).
Another faster and locally-loved way to travel around Vietnam is the motorcycle taxi called Xe Om, which literally translates to "hug the driver." If you enjoy bike rides, then this one is definitely for you. Xe Om also costs up to 15,000 VND (approx. INR 52) per kilometre. Don't forget to bargain if you want to strike a cheaper deal.
Download Cab Apps
Don't worry if you are too used to Uber. Vietnam has their own version. Grab is a popular app among locals and tourists if you want to book a taxi to your destination. If you don't want to depend on just one app, you can consider downloading more local options, such as Mai Linh or VinaTaxi. These are cheaper than hiring or booking a cab from a privately-owned taxi company. The fare usually starts from 12,000 VND (approx. INR 42) and goes up depending on the distance covered.
For Road Trips, Hop On A Bus
Vietnam boasts a great road connection. Almost any place in Vietnam can be reached by bus. However, do keep in mind that it may not be the most comfortable option. There are many private tour bus companies that operate daily buses to popular tourist destinations. Platforms like Bookmebus, 12go.asia, and Klook are great for checking out cost-friendly options. Usually, intercity journeys cost you 5,70,000 VND (approx. INR 2,000).
The local bus network is also dependable for your travels within a city. The newly-launched Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system is a great way to get around the city. However, keeping up with the schedule and the timings may seem hassling.
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