Organized Chaos in the Streets
I first learned how to drive a scooter in the beautiful city of Ninh Binh, which is located just a few hours south of Hanoi. I decided to rent a scooter along with some friends to take a drive out to check out this wonderful city that is commonly referred to as Ha Long Bay on land. I am the type who likes to be prepared for everything. I watched videos on the basics on how to drive and handle a scooter on YouTube. I was very nervous about not messing up the first time on a bike. I held the front break and rear brake down as I started up the scooter. I revved the gas too hard, accidently let go of the brakes and the bike flew from under me! Luckily I was not completely on the bike. I gave myself a minute and did it again and was good to go. I always find myself in embarrassing situations and the best thing to do is laugh it off. Finally, we were off for some true sightseeing in a small Vietnamese town on a motorbike. We visited Tam Coc and Cuc Phuong National Park, all on a motorbike, which is the best way to see the country. Ninh Binh is a place that has no bad view. It is home to ancient temples and stunning natural landscapes. Driving in Ninh Binh, was a stepping stone for traffic in Saigon.
Driving in Ninh Binh and Saigon is like day and night. Saigon is a city that is your face. It’s raw and you need to be careful. It's a city where you need to be a confident driver and have quick reactions. Most of the streets have lanes designated for the traffic flow in certain directions, however people drive in every direction. Traffic is organized chaos. It’s common to see a lot of tourists scared to death about crossing a street. I have heard many stories in which foreigners take up to 30 minutes before they have the guts to cross the street. (FYI. Don’t run across the street, you will get hit). Buses are at the top of the food chain, next are the cars, then motorbikes and don’t even think about getting a bicycle here. Motorbikes take up the majority of the streets covering almost every square meter of pavement during rush hour. I feel like when people drive in Saigon they feel as if they are in their own bubble. People don’t really care about who is if front of them or behind them when driving. It’s so common to be driving at 30 kmh and someone to pull off from the side of the road and cut you off. The best way to see this beautiful city is on a bike. There are so many alleyways and places to discover and the vehicle of choice is the motorbike. Driving in Saigon is like nothing you have experienced before.