I know I’ve only been here for a few days and it may be presumptuous of me to try to explain traffic in Hanoi but I think I’ve pinned it down to a few unwritten rules. (There certainly doesn’t seem to be any written ones!)
The lovely wide sidewalks are for parking motorbikes. Pedestrians cannot, and should not attempt to, use the sidewalk. Pedestrians are part of the traffic flow. As such, they may walk either way on the street or cross at any point. (This is also true for motorbikes; only cars need to abide by the one-way signs.)
The motor bikes will not hit you. (A miss by ¼ inch is still a miss!)
Most hotels give tips sheets to visitors on “How to Cross the Street”. I love this advice from a lady who is obviously from a cooler climate: “Imagine yourself skiing. The motorbikes slalom through the streets. You need to put yourself into the flow.” Great advice, except for the motorbikes that are ‘skiing’ uphill; you gotta watch those guys!
What does it look like?…