Vietnamese Motorbike Magic: How Do They Do It?

The motorbikes of Vietnam deserve its own post, because the culture is just mind-blowing. First of all, the sheer number of bikes on the road are impressive enough. There are around 39 million motorbikes and only 2 million cars. On our first trip to Vietnam I wrote about learning how to cross the road in a place where pedestrians don’t really have the right away and there are no crosswalks.

Here’s a basic summary:  You just GO (and pray really hard).

Yeah, those people aren't going to stop for you.
Yeah, those people aren’t going to stop for you.

Crossing the road is Vietnam is super scary at first, then it becomes slightly exhilarating, like playing with fire (okay, I haven’t actually done that). Then it just becomes plain annoying. By the end of it, I was so flipping tired of not being able to walk on a dang sidewalk and constantly dodging motorbikes and taking risks by crossing the street. My anxiety couldn’t handle the constant strategy involved in just walking down the road to get something to eat. I was OVER IT.

But anyways, that’s not what this post is about. It’s actually about how awesome the Vietnamese people are because they can tow practically anything on the back of their bikes.


There are seriously no limitations known to the Vietnamese when it comes to motorbikes. They are a creative bunch of people when it comes to strapping things on. Robert and I never ceased to be impressed as we walked down the road and saw bikes whizzing past us with more items than we could fit into his pickup truck back home.

My personal favorite is when they manage to squeeze a FAMILY OF FIVE onto one motorbike (tidbit: it’s against the law to not wear a helmet, but carseats are virtually nonexistent. Logical.). My other favorite is when I saw the transport of a live goat on the lap on the driver (I didn’t get a picture because I was too shocked).

Lastly, the nurse is me cannot forgot a photo I saw once of a couple on a motorbike; The man was driving and had an IV in his hand, while his wife held up the bag of fluids, acting as the IV pole. Oh my, I can’t even.

How do they do it?! Well, I really don’t know. But I do have some pictures for your viewing pleasure so you, too, can be equally impressed.

Can I go to that party?
This was a really great one. Pipes completely encircling the driver and bike, with an assistant making sure they don’t topple over
Not even sure that we could fit all of those styrofoam coolers in the back of our truck back home….jk
A clever small business owner….
Yep, that’s bamboo.
Okay, this isn't a motorbike but I couldn't leave out the flower vendor on the back of a bicycle.
Okay, this isn’t a motorbike but I couldn’t leave out the flower vendor on the back of a bicycle.

And while I’m on the subject of being impressed by the clever and creative Vietnamese, I should also give a shoutout to these amazingly strong women:

I was huffing and puffing from walking uphill and this lady PASSED me.
And lastly, one of my favorite photos from Vietnam. It’s a lady… carrying a kitchen…. on her shoulder….


See ya later, Vietnam!
See ya later, Vietnam!

You can read our summary of our time spent in Vietnam HERE.


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