Crossing the Street in Vietnam

Crossing the street in Hanoi or Saigon, or any other city in Vietnam can be an daunting. The traffic is maddening and chaotic, there seems to be no traffic rules, and there is not a working cross-walk in the country.  To help you cope with the action of crossing the street safely, here are a few tips that we picked up along the way:

  • Don’t hesitate. Waiting for a lull in traffic is hopeless, so if you want to get across, just go.
  • Don’t stop and make a sudden unexpected turn in opposite direction when you’re in the middle of the street. Keep going at an even pace. Know that traffic will adjust to you.
  • Don’t look just one way. Vehicles can sometimes go against the flow of traffic so do pay attention to both directions. Make eye contact with oncoming road users helps see whether they notice you and your movement pattern.
  • Don’t run! If anything is going to get you killed in Vietnam, it’s attempting to run across the street. Take it slow, walk in a straight line, keep a steady pace, and traffic will flow smoothly around you.

Crossing the street in Vietnam is anything but pedestrian. But if you approach the problem with a healthy dose of newfound confidence you should live to tell the story.
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