Traffic in Vietnam is VERY chaotic. You will notice very quickly when you will arrive here that the most dangerous thing is crossing the street. Be very careful with the road traffic, even after few days, don’t be too confident! Traffic accidents mostly involve motorcycles and often resulting in traumatic head injury.

Traffic drives on the right hand side of the road, although drivers frequently cross to the left to pass or turn and motorcycles and bicycles often travel (illegally) against the flow of traffic. Horns are used constantly, often for no apparent reason. Streets in major cities are choked with motorcycles, cars, buses, trucks, bicycles, pedestrians and cyclos. Outside the cities, livestock compete with vehicles for road space. Sudden stops by motorcycles and bicycles make driving a particular hazard. The number of traffic lights in Ha Noi and Ho Chi Minh City is increasing, but red lights are often ignored so take care.

The urban speed limit ranges from 35 to 40 km/h and rural speed limit ranges from 40 to 60 km/h. Pedestrians should be careful as sidewalks are extremely congested and uneven. Drivers of bicycles, motorcycles and other vehicles routinely ignore traffic signals and traffic flows, some even drive on sidewalks. For safety, pedestrians you should look carefully in both directions before crossing streets, even when using a marked crosswalk with a green “walk” light illuminated.

Motorcyclists and cyclists both foreign and native, are obliged to wear helmets, it became illegal to ride a motorbike without a helmet as of January 1st 2008.


You can easily get around in Hanoi by city bus. One bus ticket costs only 3.000 VND. For long term volunteers we will provide a monthly bus pass. Another way to go around Hanoi is by motorbike taxi (called ‘Xe om’). Depending where you want to go you pay the driver around 10.000 -30.000 VND. Remember always to bargain on the price. There are of course usually taxis in Hanoi. If you go by taxi do not forget to tell the driver to switch on the taxi meter. It is also possible to discuss the price before you leave.

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