Monday, 26 September 2011


Frankly, Hanoi is a pain in the arse.

I know its rather un-PC to say this & it is a colourful & vibrant city but the uncontrolled traffic mayhem is unbearably insane - it makes the crazy Indian roads seem like models of order & discipline. At least there you can use the pavements & traffic lights do occasionally stop traffic so pedestrians can cross the roads.

I like to explore on foot but nearly every pavement in old town Hanoi is blocked with parked motorcycles, pavement kitchens, baby stools for dining, motorcycle workshops & of course street sellers. So you can't walk more than 20 yards without having to walk at least twice as far in the road - & then there are the roads.

The French Quarter & the Old Quarter are a maze of streets & byways which must have been full of character before the millions of motorcycles turned them into a city-wide moto-cross track.

No local people walk anywhere, everyone either has a bike or rides pillion with the moto-cross taxi-bike racers, who haunt every street corner.

The zebra crossings at every junction have no meaning beyond road decoration & I don't think I saw more than a couple of working sets of traffic lights, so the traffic simply never stops. There's no let up, it just keeps coming & coming until eventually you have to walk out in front of on-coming traffic or go back & cower in your hotel room.

To get from anywhere to anywhere means crossing dozens of roads so that's dozens of episodes of blood curdling expletives & elevated blood pressure.

Bizarrely its a relief to see a car or truck on the road because at least they tend to go in a straight line, its only a single moving object to watch out for, but best of all it displaces perhaps 6 weaving & swerving motorcycles that might just go anywhere.

I also blame the traffic for having eaten at the KFC next door to my hotel. I'm not prepared to squat on a 12 inch baby stool to eat some street noodles & its too much bloody hassle to go further afield.

Maybe I'm just getting more intolerant with age - but no, I think Hanoi is a bloody pain in the arse - unless of course you give up & add to the mayhem by taking to the roads yourself.

1 comment:

  1. Couldn't disagree more ....I loved the chaos of the traffic and the street food ...and street beer. Sitting with my toes almost being driven over while drinking Beer Hoi, is a memory that will last a lifetime!