Vietnam

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Flag of Vietnam Vietnam
Information
Language: Vietnamese
Capital: Hanoi
Population: 87,375,000
Currency: Dong (VND)
Hitchability: <rating country='vn' />
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Vietnam is a country in South-Eastern Asia, with borders with Cambodia, Laos and China.

Hitchhiking in Vietnam is generally easy, especially if sticking to the QL.1 road that runs from the Chinese border in Lào Cai to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). QL.1 forms the Vietnamese part of AH1 (Asian Highway 1) so some maps show it as AH1. The hitching method is to use the flat palm sign, like in China or using a sign. Using the thumb alone is less likely to work. On the sign it's best to write "đi nhờ xe đến" followed by the name of the city (đi - to go, nhờ - ask for a favor, xe - car, đến - to arrive). This could be translated as hitchhiking to.

Vietnamese people will often tell you that hitchhiking is impossible, but in almost any road in the country pedestrians are offered to hop in various vehicles. Generally people are expected to pay, but the concept of a free ride is accepted if you are a foreigner. Inside of the cities or when in a bad spot, a universal "2km" sign works very well.

On countryside roads you will not see a lot of cars, but you do see a lot of motorcycle. So a good idea is to buy a helmet once (costs like 5 dollars) and than hitchhike with it everywhere. The Vietnamese will be happy to stop for you, they just don't want to be cought by police, becouse riding without a helmet is forbidden. It also means that your bag should be light enough, because it's going to be on your back for many kilometres.

Using a sign with "Xin Xe" ("please drive me to") followed by your destination works well. Expect every bus and van to stop as well, even if you don't have your hand stretched out. Most of the time they will charge, but you may get a free ride. Ask before entering by saying "Miễn Phí?" ("free?"). The Vietnamese can be very generous. If you want to be clear you want a free ride, make a sign that says "Cho tôi đi nhờ" in the north or "Cho tôi quá giang" in the south, it means "give me a ride". Some minibuses will still stop and ask for money though.

In cities traffic lights are common, so you can approach cars directly when they are standing and asking them where they go. That makes it more likely to be taken by (faster) cars than by trucks. Generally approaching them, when they are entering their cars, increases the chances immensely to be taken by a car of choice.

There are also toll gates on the QL.1 called "Tram Thu Phi" (say tram too phee), ideal places especially at night.

Speed

If you can ride around 50km/hr you can consider it a good average in Vietnam. If you want to visits some places and hitchhike at the same time try to not ride more than 300km a day as the roads are slow and streets are dark at 6pm. Highway QL.1 is very busy, getting a ride is easy with a sign and a good spot but riding is slow.

Secondary roads can be quite empty but if you get a car you can go quite fast (like on Ho Chi Minh highway). On some small roads, you can have to wait a while before seeing any car or truck. An option is then to be light enough to be able to hitchhike with moto.. Unintentionally ending up in cities should be avoided since there are very few trucks in them and very many buses and motorbikes.

Cities

Hanoi
Saigon

Links

Information, tips and personal experiences of hitch-hiking in Vietnam. A 1433 km journey on 27 vehicles (only in spanish), by Marcando el Polo


Personal Experiences

gonzalo has successfully hitchhiked from Nha Trang to Hanoi without any inconvenient, the expression Xin đi nhờ is clear for everyone, is recommended to 'use it every time a car or motorbike stops. The waiting time for motorbikes were between one or three minutes (a sing saying 2KM helps), for cars the waiting time was around 20 minutes. The cities in Vietnam stretch for many kilometers before reaching the countryside so it is better to hitchhike motorbikes rather than walking. It can be tough to ride on a bike with a heavy backpack, if that is the case be sure to let you backpack loose so the seat will hold it instead of your back. He found only friendly and helpful people, definitely a good country to hitchhike in.


Hitchhikernick - hitched from border of Cambodia to china in 2 weeks (1week in Hanoi to get china visa) in September 2016. Hitching was pretty easy, but 90% of the time it was a motorbike (you must wear a helmet in Vietnam-biker gave me his spare one). Only difficulty I found was when stuck in big cities, otherwise easy. Hardly ever asked for money, if at all. Average waiting time 10 mins. Be very careful where you camp as a local cut open bottom of my tent and stole my GoPro, tried to comeback and get my wallet, but i shouted like a mad man at him and he didn't come back, that was in a temple grounds of all places in Ha-Long bay.


Onlyexperiences: I hitchhiked from HO chi Minh to Hanoi February 2024 and it was super easy ! never waiting more than 30 minutes! A big advice is to use a sing ( Xin Di Dho )  it will help you to avoid taxis and people who want money

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