The bustling streets and cyclos of Saigon

The bustling streets and cyclos of Saigon

Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) is one of the maddest cities in Asia for traffic: buses, cars, bikes, rickshaws, lorries, donkeys, pedestrians and plenty besides all have the firm mission of to get exactly where they want to go without giving in an inch of space. This poses the problem of how to cross a road with a constant stream of traffic. The only solution is a little scary, but extremely effective: pick a spot on the far side, keep your eyes level and focussed and step out. If you’re not cleaned up in the first instant, keep on at a constant pace. Do not look to the left or right, do not vary your speed, just look forward and keep going. The Vietnamese have a great knack of being able to predict your pace and they WILL avoid you. Pausing to think or speeding up will confuse them and only then will you get hit! Obviously, do this at your own risk. The other, much safer, option is to hail a cab on one side and request to be taken to the other….

A short stature is no hindrance to the cyclo-driver vocation in Vietnam; if you’re too short to reach the pedals of your tricycle-cum-rickshaw, just replace them with taller wooden blocks. The modification is perhaps employed across the board in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) and, despite your weight, the city’s sinewy calved cyclo drivers will help you navigate the hectic streets with aplomb. On either point-to-point trips or scenic laps around the city, from under the shade of a cyclo awning is the most pleasant way to move through the traffic. Whether you see the city’s sites and sights and head home to sleep, or continue on to revel in one of the many nightspots, a cyclo will see you through at any hour in Vietnam’s liveliest city.

Tai chi is almost as relaxing to watch as it is to do and it’s no different within the parks of an otherwise bustling Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City). The hectic capital of the former South Vietnam is the country’s present-day entrepreneurial hub and getting some respite from its noise and pace is high on the agenda of tourists and locals alike. Wake up early and walk to a park to watch, or join the local people practising tai chi; It will fill your soul with calm before braving the manic jumble of motorbike-clogged streets and the frenzied trading of Cholon market.

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