Bicycles used to be the main transport around Vietnam. However, as motorbikes and cars make their way into the locals' houses, bikes are now used for recreation and health benefits more than traveling. These days, it's easier to spot a foreigner than a local on a bike in Ho Chi Minh City, and often they look excited, but "Is cycling in Ho Chi Minh City safe?" To find out the answer, scroll down!
1. Ho Chi Minh City is famous for the vibrancy and the colorful culture inside small alleys and wet markets. Yet, it's never easy to squeeze a cab inside these places. That's why cycling is a good option to explore get off-the-beaten-path in Ho Chi Minh City. It allows you to see hidden gems like local shops, themed cafes, or entertaining recreation that you may miss out while riding a motorbike.
A hidden cafe in Ho Chi Minh City.
2. Though motorbikes are a much more inviting option to observe up close the Bikelihood of the burgeoning metropolitan, obtaining and using a motorbike for a foreign tourist is not an easy task. Bicycles, on the other hand, do not require any license and is not complicated to rent, which means there is less hassle when you are out and about on the street.
3. Cycling brings great health benefits, so why not get it in your travel schedule? It is more enjoyable than sweating for hours in a gym since you get to go sightseeing at the same time. Besides, you don't have to worry about losing your form after eating lots of delicious Vietnamese dishes.
4. Last but not least, cycling is an economical and environmental way of traveling around, especially for budget travelers and backpackers. The rental fee of a bike is often half of that of a motorbike, not to mention the cost for fuel, which constantly rises, or possible cost for fixing in case the motorbike breaks down.
1. Is cycling in Ho Chi Minh City interesting? Yes. Is cycling in Ho Chi Minh City convenient? No. Cycling gets you into the alleyway, but most of the famous attractions lie on main streets so you can use other types of transport just fine. What is more, cycling is a time-consuming way of traveling as the attractions are scattered everywhere around the city.
2. Getting around in Ho Chi Minh City is a feat for all foreigners because our motor-jammed traffic is notorious for being crowded and confusing. Cars coming in everywhere and they probably won't wait for you. Moreover, you can get lost easily, specifically in the labyrinth-like web of alleys. With that traffic, traveling with a motorbike already takes a mind of steel and a steady hand, but cycling on main streets needs ten times what you need for riding a motorbike.
The crowded streets of Ho Chi Minh City often scare foreigners.
3. If you're into sightseeing on the streets and blend into the local culture, there's a better option: Motorcycle Tour in Ho Chi Minh City. It's more exciting, relaxing and you'll get helpful tour guides to give you a rundown on the culture and history. If you're still interested in cycling, we suggest cycling in the Mekong Delta area, where the traffic is less dangerous, and the view is spectacular all the same.
Cycling on the peaceful road of the Mekong Delta.
4. It's never good to stay out too long in the sun, and it's worse in a tropical country like Vietnam because you can get sunburned easily. Moreover, Ho Chi Minh City's air is quite polluted with traffic fumes and smokes at all hours.
Vietnam has tons of beautiful cycling routes, some of which are in Ho Chi Minh City. Here we'll show you the best of the best:
Around the Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica of Ho Chi Minh City is a cluster of must-visits: the Independence Palace, the Central Post Office, Nguyen Van Binh Book Street, Nguyen Hue Walking Street, and Saigon Opera House.
The Central Post Office.
District 2 is a newly developed area of the city with many fascinating stops like The Factory Contemporary Arts Center, Thu Thiem park, one of Ho Chi Minh City's most beautiful bridges - Thu Thiem bridge, and an abundance of chic shops and restaurants. The Thao Dien and Xuan Thuy area are also suitable for cycling thanks to their laid-back vibe.
The Factory Contemporary Arts Center.
If you're adventurous and into the dirt road cycling routes, then the city's outskirts like Can Gio and Cu Chi are for you. Can Gio offers a Southwestern Vietnam feel while Cu Chi is famous for the Cu Chi tunnels - the Vietnamese army headquarters during the Vietnam War. However, exploring Cu Chi with a tour guide is better since you'll get to hear all about the site's history.
Making your way through the Cu Chi tunnel is one of the must-tries in Ho Chi Minh City.
- Avoid rush hours (usually between 7 - 9 AM, and 5 - 7 PM) as there would be traffic jams.
- Wear sun-protective clothing.
- You may want to record pictures and videos of your cycling routes, but under no circumstances should you use your phone on the streets. There will be snatch thieves lurking for their chances.
- Sign up for travel insurance. You can get a quote from World Nomads here.
"Is cycling in Ho Chi Minh City safe?" - our answer is that we don't recommend the activity. Though there are certain benefits with cycling, it's not suggestible to risk dealing with the negatives, especially if you're in the city for the first time. Instead, try booking a Motorcycle Tour for safety and also quality.
© Written by Ngan Mai for itourvn.com
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Some tour packages in the Mekong Delta offer bicycle rentals, I'd rather cycle there than in the hectic city street