Travel Tuesday; Getting around in HCMC

Ho Chi Minh City is a city filled with motorbikes. Getting around is therefore very difficult if you don’t know how to ride a motorbike. We were fortunate enough to have a motorbike, and that made our experience getting around town so much easier. Especially on our days off, when we just wanted to tour around and see where we would end up.

Driving a motorbike in HCMC however is not something I recommend for people who will just be there for a couple of days. It requires skill and knowledge of the flow of traffic. Just take a look at this clip of the traffic in HCMC; it’s CRA-ZY! http://vimeo.com/32958521

Besides that you need a Vietnamese driver’s license before you’re allowed to drive. Obviously when you get stopped by a policeman, you will be able to bribe him with a couple of dollars, and you’re good to go. But when you get into an accident you have a problem, as you will not be insured. So please don’t drive without a Vietnamese license.

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Therefore I always recommend visitors to get around town with a cyclo. A cyclo is a bicycle with a seat in the front {with a cover to protect you against rain and sun}. By hiring a cyclo, you will be driven around town by a cyclo driver and at the same time you’re in the middle of traffic; a real experience you don’t want to miss.

Do this the first day you’re in HCMC to get a feel of the city. Book your cyclo from the hotel or a tour agent, this as you will have a fixed hourly rate of about US$2-3 per hour {plus tip}  instead of hiring a person on the side of the street who will charge you US$30 for 3hrs or even more…

Before you head out, talk to your cyclo driver and discuss where you want to go to. He can drop you off at several locations, and he’ll wait for you until you’re finished with your visit. If you’re new to the city, let him bring you to the Notre Dame Church. When you’re there cross the street and take a look at the Post Office, it’s a beautiful building. Followed by a visit to the Reunification Palace {go inside and join the free English Tour}, and a visit to the War Remnants Museum {a must see museum, which will give you a lot of information on the Vietnam war} to have a good understanding of the History of Vietnam. End the day off with a visit to the Ben Than Market, to do some shopping; do make sure to bargain!

Cyclo

So for your next visit to Ho Chi Minh City, will you take a ride on a cyclo?

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