The madness of Saigon

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

  • My final day in Vietnam has come too soon. Discovering this country has been amazing and left me very much wanting to return and spend more time here. After spending time on tranquil beaches and riding through the highlands and rural areas of Vietnam, arriving in Saigon, or Hồ Chí Minh City as it’s now known, came as something of a shock to the system.

    Home to more than 8.5 million people, the preferred method of transport is the trusty cheap-to-run moped. While exact figures are hard to come by, most estimates put the number of mopeds on the cities roads at somewhere in the region of 4 to 4.3 million. That number might sound far fetched but after just a few minutes of riding around the city it’s easy to believe that the estimate is probably pretty close to the fact.

    It’s not uncommon to see up to 4 adults riding on one moped, or a couple with their children calmly sitting around them as traffic whips by just inches away. I saw one moped carrying an entire chicken coup full of chickens, and another carrying so many sacks and boxes that the rider was unable to sit and was instead riding standing up.

    I only had a few hours in Saigon but it was enough to give me a taste of this rapidly expanding metropolis. In fact, as my short time in this country comes to an end I find myself feeling a little sad that it’s over so soon, but I’ve promised myself that this was just an introduction and that one day I will return to better explore this beautiful country.