19 November 2008

Hanoi Honky Horns

Hanoi is without doubt the noisyest place we've ever been. It's definately one to be wary of if you are a light sleeper - even Liz has been disturbed!

Here the main mode of transport is the moped and motor bike and the most frequenty used part is the horn. The streets are absolutly jammed with bikes from about half six in the mornin until midnight. During this time, and this is no exaggeration, rarely a second goes by when you can't hear a horn or ten.

The rules of the road appear to be somewhat more fluid than back home. The obeying of Traffic signals, signs, lights and road markings appears to be purely optional with most drivers choosing not to take the option. Most confusing of all is that even though in Vietnam vehicles drive on the right even this is appears to be at the drivers discression! And when the roads are jammed more often than not the bikes then take to the pavement.

The reason for all the horn honking is not an angry "get out of my way" as we get back home but more of a "woo hoo, here I am".

The owner of our guest house said that we can borrow his moped for free if we wanted to go out for a drive around town. But as much as I'd like to take him up on his kind offer I'n not sure exactly how long I would last. More worrying would be the chaos a Vietnamese driver would cause if they ever found themselves on a UK road.

The other big problem that this free form approach to driving has is when you try to cross the road on foot from one pavement to the other. The guide books advise stepping slowly out and letting the traffic swerve around you. Don't run or change pace otherwise they won't know whether to pass in front or behind you. As a Westerner, this takes a hell of a lot of getting used to! You can't wait for a break in the traffic as there aren't any. Even if you manage to find a zebra or pellican crossing no one will stop.


  1. Hey Guys!

    Glad to read you're well and enjoying yourselves!

    Talking of horns, wait till you get to India. It will be 24-7 horning there. But you've got that all to look forward to!

    Have fun!

  2. I'll second that - After leaving India I wondered if I'd gone deaf as the lack of horns was most disconcerting!
    Hope you are well. Take care, Jo & the Grumetts xx