"Crossing the Street: A Rush!!" Hanoi Warnings Or Dangers Tip by AKtravelers

Hanoi Warnings and Dangers: 104 reviews and 98 photos

  Wade into this without blinking!!
by AKtravelers

Why do I cross the road in Hanoi? Can it be the adrenaleine rush? I actually got pretty good at this fear-inducing endeavor and, by the end of my vist, found it to be intoxicating, as if I were Moses getting multiple chances to part the Red Sea! In Hanoi, there is no greater adventure than crossing the road! But watch out! People do get injured!
Traffic in Hanoi is a chaotic multi-dimensional experience, with buses, scooters, cars and bicycles all weaving in and out of each other on the pavement. Often, strands of the oncoming lanes traffic ends up in coming at you and, not in frequently, our cab drivers would choose the wrong side of the road as the best path. Mostly, this seems to work, much in the way water meanders around rocks in a stream bed. If our driver wants to turn left, he just slowly noses into the oncoming traffic and it magically bends around him like poetry. In all the times he did this today, only once was there contact -- the driver stopped in a surprisingly sudden manner and I looked behind us to see a dazed scooter driver, eyes lowered, back away from our bumper after a loud thud -- and life went on.
Of course, it's one thing to be driven through this and another to be risking your life crossing two lanes of chaos. The rule is to walk in a straight line at a constant speed and make no sudden movements. Face down the scooter drivers but keep moving -- they'll buzz around you as long as they can predict where you'll be. This requires a level of trust in your fellow Vietnamese humans, but it does work. Cars will also try to avoid you but I never advanced to the cross-in-front-of-the-bus stage -- that might take a few mionths in Hanoi to manage.
Of course, there are stories of visitors who have been hit by traffic. So do be careful!

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Sep 13, 2008
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