Short Advice on Living in Vietnam #2



This one little piece of advice will make life in Vietnam more enjoyable.  As Western Expats living in Vietnam, we tend to be extremely judgmental in every aspect of life in this country causing many of us to lose our tempers, get angry, etc.

For example, you already know that you will be ‘cut’ off by another motorbike when you head to work, right?  Why get angry about it when it happens all the time?  Smile and realize that the person is not cutting you off, they are just ‘passing in front of you.’

You are in Vietnam.

Anyway, how many people did you ‘cut’ off on the way to work today?  Did they get angry at you???


  1. Since motorbikes are more manuverable the space allowed by a passing rider is less so it is called cutting you off. I manuver my car everyday on the expressway where the speeds are much higher. When I merge to the right for my exit I take the first opportunity that I can. So in essence am I cutting someone off? I suppose.

  2. I didn’t drive a blue Nouvo to work today. I drove a blue Scion Tc. And I always try to leave enough space between me and the person that I am pulling in front of so as to not cut them off. Although I wish I could drive a motorbike to work I think one of the advantageous of driving a car at high speed on a freeway is that you have to be more careful and leave more space. Not everyone does but at least most make an effort. But driving a motorbike in VN it is definitely every man for himself.

  3. I completely agree with Kevin’s comments about smiling. It drives my girlfriend crazy that I am smiling, almost “beaming”, a lot of the time while we walk around Saigon, or wherever we are in VN.
    Being generally happy here in VN is one big reason I am smiling, and I love that the response from other folks, tourists and locals alike, is affirmative and sweet, plus, I believe smiling is contagious. It gives me pleasure to share a smidgen (or more) of my happiness with random others.

    Don’t worry, be happy…

    What me worry?

    By the way, I refuse to ride or drive a motorbike in urban Vietnam.

    I’ve said it here before, “confiscate the motor vehicles” of those traffic scofflaws who endanger themselves and others brazenly and defiantly. I am especially thinking about:
    Those who drive full speed on the sidewalks to avoid traffic jams and busy, backed-up intersections.
    Those who drive the wrong way on one-way streets or against traffic, in opposite/opposing lanes, on two-way streets.
    Those who drive full speed through intersections any time after the traffic light has turned red.
    Any other dangerously reckless driving behavior putting anyone, including (even) pedestrians, at risk of any, even slight, injury.
    Subject to somewhat less onerous penalties would be:
    Those who do not absolutely allow pedestrians the “right of way” in crosswalks.
    Those who block sidewalks in business districts with parked vehicles, forcing pedestrians out into the (mean) streets.

    This policy would have the ancillary benefit of reducing, or slowing anyway, the daily increase in the number of vehicles vying for the truly limited resource the streets here in HCMC really are!

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