Buying a Motorbike In Vietnam

Buddha and My Motorbike

Buddha and My Motorbike

There is a growing number of people independently “Motorbiking Vietnam”.  And if you are in either Hanoi or Saigon, the typical start or end points for these trips, finding a foreigner to buy a bike from is no big deal.

Well, to be clear:

  • It’s illegal for a foreigner to own a motorbike in Vietnam
  • It’s illegal to drive in Vietnam without a Vietnamese DL (which can only be obtained with residence)

So, how is it possible?

There’s a tacit understanding between police and the foreigners who undertake such a journey.  We all look the other way! Continue reading

Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

Bitexco Financial Tower

Bitexco Financial Tower

I don’t even know where to start with a description of HCMC.  So, I might as well start with the word HUGE.  It’s 800 square miles and feels ten times that and one-tenth that at the same time.  There are over 8 million people here statistically speaking, but that’s only ‘documented’ people.  If you’re documented elsewhere and have moved to the city, you’re not included in that number.  So it’s probably closer to 11 or 12 million.  It’s overwhelming and to get to know this city with any depth, you’d have to live here for years and years.  So any description I offer is going to be shameful.

Consider that in this communist state, Saigon (names used interchangeably) has as much in-your-face-capitalism as anywhere.  And it sits side-by-side with hopeless poverty.   Amputees begging on the curb in front of the Louis Vuitton store.  Billion dollar skyscrapers being built are casting shadows over shanty towns.  In fact, the second word I’d use to describe this town is GROWTH.  There is literally no where you can go in this town and not see massive development projects.  This city’s theme song should be played with angle grinders and cement trucks.   Continue reading