One of the most incredible experiences in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) is to drive a motorbike. As foreigners arriving for the first time to the city, we can’t avoid commenting on the craziness of the traffic, the number of bikes on the road and (according to us) the lack of rules. However, after being here a while, we notice the gracefulness of such of madness, and some of us want to be part of it. We buy our motorbike; some start renting one, and we jump to it.
If you are willing to do it, these are some of the gains you can expect
You encounter a different rhythm
Traffic is usually slow, and roads are crowded, this is why you must drive at the rhythm of the others; in other words: you do as others do.
That’s a great lesson for many of us. In the western world, we are concerned about getting ahead and hopefully fast; but sometimes, we just have to accept and play by someone else’s rules: driving at a different rhythm, and enjoy it. Even if roads are crowded, we get where we want to get and that the most important thing!
You increase your level of observation
Because there are so many drivers around you, you have to pay attention, not only to your vehicle but also everyone else’s. By keeping awareness on others, we learn to observe, and our level of observation grows.
You get pleasure
Enjoying the smiles and curiosity of other drivers is nice. This is not the same for everyone, but for some of us, it feels fine to be stared for a few seconds. The lesson here is that sometimes we do enjoy to get attention; it only lasts for a short period, so why not just own it!
You increase your curiosity
There are so many incredible drivers here in HCMC carrying refrigerators with only one rope, live animals, huge windshield, wooden spiral escalators, half a dozen kids at the same time, and many others incredible things., We can’t help it, we wonder how they do it! That’s a fantastic feeling because curiosity is a source of energy, of wonder and overall interest in searching for more. Being curious is a source of vitality.
You learn to find alternatives
If your motorbike breaks down: you can find someone to fix it right away, you can take a taxi or a Xe Om, call a UBER or a GRAB taxi, use public transportation, and you can even call a friend, anything else?
Sometimes we need to find solutions and improvise. That’s in itself a great awareness. Life doesn’t come with instructions, and events happen, so to find alternatives can bring great rewards. Let’s do those!
Don’t forget that for those who dare to try; they must be aware that driving a motorbike in HCMC is also a dangerous experience. Each year some 11,000 Vietnamese, and a handful of foreigners die in bike accidents: 1.5 deaths every hour. The number of non-fatal accidents is clearly orders of magnitude higher as they occur more often.