Cycling In Saignon – Some Tips
Whether it’s swimming with sharks, crossing deserts, taking on grade-five rapids or mountain climbing, we all love to boast when we get back from our travels. But if you really want to raise some eyebrows, simply utter the words ‘Ive been cycling in Saigon’.
Ho Chi Min City (Saigon) is chaos! Its streets are a never-ending current of bicycles, ‘cyclos’, food carts and buses, but in this steamy Vietnamese city the moped is king. Everyday five million mopeds buzz, race, roar, beep and swerve their way around Ho Chi Min City, and on first impression there are absolutely no rules.
Crossing the street is almost impossible, traffic lights and pedestrian crossings are nothing more than decoration, pavements and curbs are fare-game, and yet somehow this torrent of two strokes seems to work.
Flying my bicycle to Saigon, I took to the streets with white knuckles, shredded nerves and a prayer. Adrenalin pumping, sweat pouring the traffic immediately immersed me. Masked riders carrying girlfriends, dogs, children, plastic buckets woven baskets roared and beep in every direction but forced into a state of hyper-awareness I soon discovered this chaos was manageable.
Road rage didn’t exist. Other riders were courteous. Everyone was aware of everyone else and as waving locals greeted me with friendly smiles and waves from the pavement, I soon discovered that the best way to see this fascinating metropolis was from the seat of my bicycle. On every corner never-ending street vendors were only to happy to refuel a hungry cyclist with well filled Bhan Mi (Vietnamese baguette sandwiches,) fragrant bowls of Phở (Vietnamese noodle soup) and refreshing beakers of sweet iced coffee, making a days cycling in Saigon one of the most rewarding days I have had on my bicycle.
Info: Bikes and helmets can be easily hired in the backpacker quarter ‘Pham Ngu Lao’.