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Crossing the road in Hanoi – easier said than done!

By on September 7, 2015 in Vietnam

I mentioned in an early post on the Motorbikes of Hanoi that I was amazed at the number of motorbikes on the streets of Hanoi. It is astonishing.

Crossing the road in Hanoi can be a real challenge. Particularly if you come from a western country where you have controlled crossings and not a lot of motorbikes. In Hanoi there are traffic lights (but they may not always be obeyed), and any controlled crossings seem to be ignored. So, when it comes to crossing the road you just have to go for it.


When crossing the road there is no real point in hanging back and waiting for a gap in the traffic. The roads are far too busy for such a gap to appear. The only way to cross the road is to spot a small gap in the traffic that you can exploit and then start walking. Walk at a constant pace, avoid speeding up, slowing down, or stopping, just keep going. You need to remain alert for traffic, keep your eyes open, and listen. By adopting this approach I found that I could get across most roads with relative ease and motorbikes would swerve around me.

However, be careful. In particular, watch out for the new electric bikes that are appearing in Hanoi. These bikes are deadly as they make no noise and can be on top of you before you even know it.

crossing the road hanoi

Of course, one approach to crossing the road in Hanoi is to find a friend to help. I quite often tagged onto a local that was crossing the road as they seemed to know what they were doing.

crossing the road hanoi

It is not impossible to cross the road in Hanoi, is just very difficult. You need to keep your wits about you and be brave. Once you commit to crossing you just have to go for it!

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Nick's continued wanderings can be followed on Twitter: @nickswanderings.
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