Looking back to my last backpacking trip in Indochina countries Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia, one thing’s noticeable about the cities of Saigon and Hanoi – there are motorbikes everywhere. Literally everywhere. Anywhere you turn your head to, there will surely be bicycles and motorcycles either parked or driven by both Vietnamese locals and of course, foreign tourists.
Limitless honks will be consistently heard as most locals use motorbikes for their work or school. I remember when I asked one Vietnamese man at a Burger King restaurant about why do most of them prefer motorbikes than four-wheeled vehicles, and his response was “It’s faster and cheaper. Cars need high maintenance too.” This is true in all aspects. With this, I’ve come to realize that a developing country like theirs, Vietnamese’s general concept is to settle for the obviously cheaper motorbikes.
Anyway, let’s not dig deep on the reasons, but rather highlight the positive impacts of motorbikes to the Vietnamese community. Motorbikes basically serves as one of the modes of transportation. But because of their creativity, they tweak it a little bit and invent something to make it more useful to them. There are flower shop-on-wheels, a scooter that delivers a huge cage of live chickens, an entire family of 5 in one motorbike (not creative!), a banh mi store-on-wheels and the list goes on. Unlike other countries, motorbikes are not purely recreation in Vietnam. It’s a way of life. It’s part of living.