|Hitchability:||<rating country='vn' />|
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There is no word for Hitchhiking in Vietnamese but hitchhiking in Vietnam is generally easy, especially if sticking to the AH1 (Asian Highway 1) from Hanoi to Saigon. The hitching method is to use the flat palm sign, like in China or using a sign. Using the thumb is less likely to work.
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 strange foreigner. Inside of the cities or when in a bad spot, a universal "2km" sign works very well.
you will not see a lot of cars, but you do see a lot of motorcycle. So my advice is to buy a helmet once (cost like 5 dollars) and than hitch-hike with her everywhere. the Vietneamse will be happy to stoop for you, they just don't want to be cought by police, becouse drive without helmet is forbidden (apparently). it's also mean that your bag should be light enough, becouse it's going to be on your back through 200 km.. (moriya
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 immensly to be taken by a car of choice.
There are also toll gates on the 1A "Tram Thu Phi" (say tram too phee), ideal places especially at night.
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 AH1 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.
In rural areas hitchhiking is easier. Trucks have no problem stopping for you. Using a sign with "Xin Xe" followed by your destination works well. Expect every bus 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.
When traveling alone, it's highly suggested you get yourself a helmet, as most of your ride offers will be from scooters, and it's the law to wear a helmet when on a motorized bicycle. Being a foreigner, you may not be bothered by the cops, but the fine is heavy.
Nonsờ has barely ever waited more than 30 minutes with over 50 rides in the country.
There is a substantial problem with police corruption. This is usually no problem for hitchhikers. However your driver may request that you pay the "fine". Drink driving is also common. It is up to the hitcher to use their discretion in these situations. Big trucks have an enforced limit on the number of passengers, drivers can ask you to leave quickly or hide in the cabin if they see a police checkpoint ahead.
You may even try to get a boat ride on the Mekong.
Gonzalobonini 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.
- Information, tips and personal experiences of hitch-hiking in Vietnam. A 1433 km journey on 27 vehicles (only in spanish), by Marcando el Polo