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Driving in Ho Chi Minh City

Driving in a new country can be daunting. These tips offer insight into what to expect when driving in Ho Chi Minh City.
|-Driving in Ho Chi Minh City

1. Understanding the Traffic

Driving in Ho Chi Minh City can be a chaotic experience for newcomers. The city is known for its heavy traffic, with a mix of cars, motorbikes, bicycles, and pedestrians all sharing the road. It’s not uncommon to see motorbikes driving on the sidewalk or going the wrong way down a one-way street. It’s important to stay alert and be prepared for unexpected maneuvers from other drivers.

2. Vehicle of Choice

Most expats and locals in Ho Chi Minh City prefer to use motorbikes or scooters for daily commuting. They are more convenient for navigating through the city’s heavy traffic and narrow streets. Cars are not recommended due to the heavy traffic and difficulty in finding parking.

3. Parking

Finding parking in Ho Chi Minh City can be a challenge, especially in the city center. Most buildings do not have dedicated parking spaces, so you may have to park on the street or in paid parking lots. The cost of parking can vary, but it’s generally affordable.

4. Driving License

Foreigners can drive in Vietnam with an International Driving Permit (IDP) for up to 3 months. After that, you will need to obtain a Vietnamese driving license. To get a Vietnamese driving license, you will need to pass a written test in Vietnamese. However, there are driving schools that offer English-language courses and can help you with the process.

5. Road Rules

While driving in Ho Chi Minh City, it’s important to follow the local road rules. This includes wearing a helmet when riding a motorbike, not using your phone while driving, and not driving under the influence of alcohol. Traffic police are strict and fines can be hefty.

6. Safety First

Given the chaotic nature of traffic in Ho Chi Minh City, safety should be your top priority. Always drive defensively, be aware of your surroundings, and never assume that other drivers will follow the rules. It’s also a good idea to have comprehensive insurance coverage in case of accidents.

Joshua WoodJoshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

Additional Information:

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