Hanoi Traffic
22
MAY, 2018
Getting around town is crazy intense. Criss-crossing, zig-zagging, every which way you can imagine, a chaotic scene for someone observing the traffic here for the first time, but in reality it’s a synchronized, skillful, know what you’re doing or get out of the way, dance. I join the swarm and make my way through the side streets of the Old Quarter, always alert and looking out for pedestrians, other motorbikes, cars or buses, or as I like to call them, whales and sharks. I must enter the mentality of what it would be like to join a flock of birds, a swarm of bees, a school of fish, and just go with the flow.

Tuk-tuks with lazy tourists sitting in the front and older men pedaling them around the Quarter. Electric carts, bicycles, kids in toy cars riding around. I like to joke and say that they start training for handling the traffic at an early age.

Surprisingly, I haven’t seen any serious accidents here. People know their space and the motorbike is an extension of their body.

 

They also make for good places to lay for a nap.

 

“Criss-crossing, zig-zagging, every which way you can imagine, a chaotic scene for someone observing the traffic here for the first time, but in reality its a synchronized, skillful, know what you’re doing or get out of the way, dance.”
To try and describe all that goes on and how important the motorbike is to the Vietnamese would take a lifetime. People stretch the limits of what a motorbike can be used for. They are the blood cells and life to the city streets, which are the veins.

I’ve seen refrigerators, washing machines, furniture of all shapes and sizes, mounds of coconuts. I’ve seen families of 5+ all squeezed onto one. I’ve seen a zoo of animals being transported. An aquarium on wheels, plants and trees being wheeled across the Long Bien bridge.

 

A woman carries everything but the kitchen sink.

 

A father and his children on the motorbike, carrying Christmas decorations through the Old Quarter.

 

Lucky goldfish and various fish on the back of a motorbike; riding across the Long Bien Bridge. An aquarium on wheels.

 

Regardless of how intense and chaotic the traffic is here, I still find it enjoyable to be able to just hop on and go. The thrill of riding and also the freedom that comes with having a motorbike, I don’t think I can go back to owning a car.

I post other motorbike-related pictures and videos on an Instagram account @moto.viet that chronicles some of the daily life with motorbikes here in Vietnam.