I took this instance to share my amazement about Hanoi road traffic. I been receiving many emails from tripadvisor members (mostly from S'pore and Malaysia) and friends asking about Halong Bay. But to assess Halong Bay, the gateway is usually via Hanoi (Noi Bai International Airport) after a flight from S'pore. My advice to them commenced always about an overnight stay in Hanoi and.... invariably about the harrowing road traffic in Hanoi, before proceeding to the fabled UNESCO nature wonderland . Get through safely in Hanoi, you will be safe to enjoy Halong Bay thereafter... it's sounds funny, but it's also a fact.
Many who have not travelled to Vietnam may have watched travelogues or documentaries featuring her crazy traffic condition. But nothing can remotely prepares them for the real experience. Our cruise captain in Halong Bay said, cheekily - "to understand Vietnam , is to understand its traffic"...certainly well-said. It seems the wheels are an extension of the Hanoians legs, while the horns are their mouthpiece...and they do make optimal use of it. Hanoians seemed to be in a perpetual state of rushing... to go somewhere, anywhere and everywhere. Vietnam is a indeed a country on the move.
The trick to crossing the busy roads are as such - scan both sides of the road really carefully (Vietnam operates on left-hand drive), at critical slight "break" in the vehicle stream, walk absolutely positive forward, NEVER hesitate and backtrack!. The motorists will swerve to avoid you. Sweet......there's "certainly method in her madness" (Shakespeare). Here have a look at this video : http://youtu.be/lLMS16hfqqM
The thin helmet (more like a plastic cap) won't protect anyone from anything...part of a legislative loophole...
You can almost feel them gearing to speed off...lightning fasttttt... a MotoGP indeed !
COEs for motorbikes in Hanoi ?.... political mayhem will ensue....pandemonium !
Unbelievable safety distance from the oncoming traffic..... my goodness !
A fashion statement even....
For us tourists...please don't add to the noise congestion and mayhem...take an quiet electric tour bus :)
Only when you acquired some "comfort" or "immunity" to the incessant blast of horning and ceaseless traffic, which I come to describe as "The Hanoi Mayhem"....can you begin to appreciate Hanoi's innate beauty. I came to Hanoi with the serene beauty of Halong Bay in my mind. But I left with more than what I came for. I discovered the another unique charm of Vietnam. Yes, charm I say, as Hanoi would not be Hanoi without that "Mayhem".
That said, I mastered the art of road of crossing and live to tell. Enjoy Hanoi....then Halong Bay (^__^)