1. Understanding the Traffic Culture
Driving in Phan Thiet, like many other parts of Vietnam, can be chaotic and overwhelming for newcomers. The traffic rules are not strictly followed and the roads are often crowded with motorbikes, bicycles, and pedestrians. It’s important to be patient, alert, and defensive while driving.
2. Vehicle of Choice
Most locals and expats prefer using motorbikes for daily commuting due to the heavy traffic and narrow roads. Cars are not very common and can be difficult to navigate through the city. If you still prefer a car, a compact one would be the best choice.
3. Parking Situation
Finding parking in Phan Thiet can be challenging, especially in busy areas. However, parking is generally not expensive. Many restaurants and shopping centers offer free parking, but it’s always a good idea to check beforehand.
4. Driving License Requirements
Foreigners can drive in Vietnam using an international driving permit (IDP) for up to 3 months. After that, you will need to obtain a Vietnamese driving license. It’s important to note that driving without a valid license can result in heavy fines and may also invalidate your travel insurance.
5. Obtaining a Vietnamese Driving License
To get a Vietnamese driving license, you will need to pass a written test and a practical driving test. The written test is available in English. You will also need to provide your passport, visa, current driving license, and a health check certificate. It’s recommended to contact a local driving school or the Department of Transportation for the most accurate and up-to-date information.
6. Road Safety
Always wear a helmet when riding a motorbike and a seatbelt when driving a car. Avoid driving at night if possible, as the roads are not well-lit and accidents are more common. Be aware of the local customs and habits, such as honking to signal your presence.
7. Be Prepared for the Unexpected
Unexpected situations like sudden rain, roadblocks, or livestock crossing the road are common in Phan Thiet. Always be prepared and stay calm in such situations. Having a basic understanding of the local language can also be helpful in case you need to ask for directions or assistance.