In an effort to become more intercultural, I recently spent a month overseas. I spent a majority of this time in Saigon, Vietnam. One of the biggest points of culture shock was the traffic; the constant honking of horns, the lawlessness, and all those motorbikes! My cousin joked with me that crossing the street there is a lot like playing frogger with your life. How right he was. The only way to get across a busy street is to walk into a stream of traffic and expect people to swerve out of the way.A Street in Saigon

Actually being on a motorbike is no safer; taxis and cars will push their way through crowds of bikes. Making a left turn means driving into oncoming traffic. And people are constantly running red lights. The thought of riding one of these bikes is enough to terrify most foreigners, but to me it looked like too much fun. Never being the objective observer, I rented a bike and rode one in Sai Gon for 20 days without incident.

Here are the two golden rules about riding a motorbike in Saigon. First, there is strenght in numbers; pushing your way infront of a taxi is very dangerous, but if eight other people are doing it, its reasonable to assume the taxi will stop. Second, no harm no foul. Drive the wrong way down a one way street. Cut people off. Speed and run red lights. Nobody will mind, as long as nobody gets hurt. But my best advice to you is to stay off the streets of Saigon.

Advertisements