Crossing the street in Hanoi or Saigon or any other city in Vietnam can be an adrenaline sport: The traffic is mad, there are no discernible traffic rules and people often understand their unsaid rules. As a result, getting around Hanoi or Saigon on foot can be daunting at times. To help you cope with the traffic chaos and cross the street safely, here are a few tips that we picked up along the way:
* Don't look both ways. In fact, it's better if you don't look at all, lest you lose your nerve. It's also a mistake to focus on the oncoming traffic. If you make eye contact with other road users, you automatically forfeit the right of way.
* Don't hesitate. Waiting for a lull in traffic is hopeless, so if you want to get across, just go. And when you're in the middle of the street, don't stop: Traffic will immediately adjust to you as a stationary obstacle, and you could be stuck for a while.
* Don't run! If anything is going to get you killed in Vietnam, it's attempting to run across the street. Take it slow, walk in a straight line, keep a steady pace, and traffic will flow smoothly around you.
Crossing the street in Vietnam is anything but pedestrian. But if you approach the problem with a healthy dose of mock confidence and not a small amount of reckless abandon, you too should live to tell the story.