Ho Chi Minh City Uncategorized Vietnam

The Scooter Country

I know a country where there are a lot of motorbikes. And when I say a lot, I mean MILLIONS.

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Welcome to Vietnam! (Photo by Rowjie)

Development in Vietnam is pretty obvious. Just think of how bicycles, in which the country is famous for, were quickly replaced by a massive volume of motorbikes.

As a proof of the continuous increase in number of motorbikes in Vietnam, here’s an article by Luan Nguyen titledΒ A Brief History of the Motorbike in Vietnam to help us:

The most recent number I could find was 18.6 million motorbikes in 2006. The population back then was about 84.1 million; this translates to one motorbike for every 4.5 people. Almost every family owned a motorbike back then. From 1995 to 2006, the average growth rate of registered motorbikes was 16.4%. Increase in sales of motorbikes also had a direct relationship with GDP growth. Based on the data from 2000 to 2006, every 1% growth in GDP meant another 1.94 million motorbikes added to the streets.

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
No bicycles, just motorbikes. (Photo by Rowjie)

It has been said that this increase added to the economic development of Vietnam. It is a cheaper and more convenient way to get to places, it eases transportation of goods to rural areas that cannot be easily reached by four-wheeled vehicles, and it gives provides more ODD earning opportunities.

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
ODD? This is a portable vulcanizing shop/stall/booth or whatever you wanna call it. (Photo by Rowjie)

I pray that the success of motorbikes in Vietnam happens to the Philippines as well. Lately, criminal acts in the country are often associated with these bikes that riding one may become awfully dangerous. A lot of vehicular accidents are reported to have been caused by drunk and other irresponsible motorists.

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Even grannies drive motorbikes in Saigon. (Photo by Rowjie)

I remember this conversation we had with a taxi driver on our way home from the office. He says he is in favor of a proposed law of a helmet-less society because it’ll require a motorist to be ultra-careful to avoid any tragic accidents. He adds that it’ll also help you recognize a criminal easily when the motorbike has been used as a getaway vehicle. Interesting, I thought.

I can’t think of a way to end this post. I just got amazed by the number of bikes I saw in Saigon and I felt like I needed to share it.

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Funny that a pedestrian lane meant to be used by people is being crossed by a motorbike. (Photo by Rowjie)

BTW, Rowjie owns a scooter.


  • I felt the same way about seeing all the motorcycles when we visited Saigon last year. The sheer number on the roads was amazing, cars don’t seem to stand a chance! πŸ™‚ May scooter din pala husband mo. Cool.

    • MissBackpacker

      Hello Kara! A friend told me nga na when you’re crossing the streets in Vietnam, don’t look back. Apparently, motorists there know how to avoid people in the streets. Amazing di ba? Sana ganito rin dito para less accidents. πŸ˜€

      Yep! Yamaha Mio lang. Yours is Vespa, di ba? πŸ™‚

      • Mine is a secondhand Mio Fino! Mahal masyado ang Vespa. Haha.

        • MissBackpacker

          Wow! Gusto ko rin ng Fino. 😐

  • HOO! Songkotatotak ang motorcycles ha! Some people in countries like Vietnam have common sense na talaga sa road. Like in Singapore, bicycle country naman siya and people with cars give priority to people walking and people on a bike. Unlike dito, walang paki kahit anung sinasakyan mo.

    • MissBackpacker

      You can’t help but compare no? Andaming, “sana ganito sa Pinas.” Reality bites.

    • WoW!!! Kalurkey yung dami ng motor!hehehe…
      Robby would love to cruise Vietnam with his motorbikes! πŸ™‚
      (he got 3 bikes now! hehehe)

      P.S. Mabuti pa Vietnamese disiplinado… haist!