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Scooter City – Welcome to Hanoi

scooter city

A Vietnamese Ice Coffee is a treat. Especially as you consider the mayhem of transportation in scooter city. Hanoi residents think SUV means “scooter utility vehicle.” 

Some people call Hanoi “motor scooter city”. And, with good reason. I had never thought of a motor scooter as a family vehicle, but in Vietnam, it sure is.

Probably 98% of the traffic on Hanoi streets is comprised of motor scooters. Here is a video of a typical intersection, and another of the rush hour.

Hanoi did not have any traffic lights – mainly just intersections and traffic circles. Somehow, hundreds of thousands of people in scooter city manage to travel with few accidents or frayed tempers. I am sure that a foreign driver would have difficulty learning to co-exist with the mayhem.

People learn how to avoid accidents and merge together, as a complex adaptive systems without any centralized control. In fact, I believe that if Hanoi tried to implement “modern traffic control” it would largely fail.

The downside of all these two wheel vehicles is pollution. Hanoi government has announced plans to reduce or eliminate scooters over the next 15 years. Few believe this will happen, but the effort is being made to switch people to public transportation, which barely exists at present. In the meantime, more than 8,000 new two-wheel bikes are sold every day.

Scooter city is something to behold. There are dealers and repair shops everywhere. Sidewalks are mainly used for motor scooter parking. I can’t even image what questions they ask on the driver’s exam – if such a thing exists.

Scooter City – Vietnamese Ice Coffee is great!

My first exposure to Vietnamese Ice Coffee was in Ha Long. While walking around the dock area, we wanted to find a place for coffee and WiFi. Near the docks, we discovered the brand new Wyndham Legend Hotel and dropped into their Blue Bay Restaurant. When I ordered a coffee, the waiter asked: Vietnamese or American? So, I took the plunge.

Vietnamese Ice Coffee is strong with sweetened condensed milk and chilled coffee. Very tasty and different. I had a cup wherever we went.

Turns out by the way, Vietnam is actually the second largest coffee exporter. The industry employs nearly three million people in the private sector.

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