Hitchhiking in Vietnam?
Before talking about my story of hitchhiking in Vietnam, I have to talk about how I started hitchhiking!
My very first Hitchhiking experience: Hitchhiking from Pai to Chiang Mai
I’ve never hitchhiked before until I met this French friend. Thanks to him, I’ve once hitchhiked for the first time in my life. It was from Pai to Chiang Mai. It was not too difficult to meet a friendly driver in Thailand. We only waited for like 20 minutes on the road and we got very lucky. The driver didn’t drop us on one of the random streets in Chiang Mai, he even dropped us to the bus station where we exactly wanted to go. He was really kind.
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Hitchhiking in Vietnam? Is it even possible?
But I’ve never heard someone hitchhiked in Vietnam before. One Vietnamese guy told me it’s not really a thing in Vietnam and Vietnamese people won’t even know what hitchhiking means. I wasn’t sure either it would work or not, but my friend and I decided to give it a shot. If hitchhiking is not working, then we can just take a bus. That’s it! There is nothing to lose to try something you’ve never done before, especially when it comes to hitchhiking!
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Let’s try hitchhiking in Vietnam!
We got up around ten in the morning, packed bags, and left our guesthouse. We checked the map and headed to the road near the highway to Can Tho. My friend who I call a professional hitchhiker, he kept showing the sign written “Can Tho” while walking. Some drivers slowed down to see what the foreigners were doing, and then they drove away. The circumstances didn’t look that promising… I thought ‘Maybe we were wrong that even thinking about hitchhiking in Vietnam…?’ But we only tried to hitchhiking in Vietnam only for like 20 minutes…it was too early to give up! We stopped by a supermarket to buy some water.
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We started to walk again. “Woah!” I said out loud. I got distracted by a lady in her Vietnamese hat! Again! I don’t know why I am so obsessed with the Vietnamese hat. I just love them on people, especially on Vietnamese ladies! It is just so special to me. She had pretty yellow flowers in the basket in front of her bicycle. She must have been to a flower market. Beautiful Vietnamese lady with the flower… ‘Good omen’ I thought. Somehow I felt that something good was going to happen to me and on my travel.
We made it to hitchhiking in Vietnam?!
While I was taking pictures of the beautiful old Vietnamese lady, I heard my friends shouting at me. “Eva! We got the car! Come over here! Hurry up!” Yes, she was our lucky sign! I didn’t want to leave her but I didn’t want to miss a chance to get a free lift to Can Tho either. As the lady turned around, I told her “You are so pretty! You made my day!” and smiled at her. She smiled back to me. After that, I ran to the car as fast as I could.
3 Asian men and the typical conversation
I saw three Asian men in the car and said hello to them. My seat was at the very back of the car. I was sitting next to some stuff next to me but I didn’t mind. My friends were sitting in the front seat and my professional hitchhiker friend started making a conversation with them like where they are from, why are they going… the basic traveler conversation.
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Google translator helped but…
The Vietnamese men were in their 40s and they loved to make a lot of conversation with us by using Google translator but the language barrier made us silent after half an hour. The silence filled the car. Unlike inside the car, the outside didn’t seem that quiet.
Driving in Vietnam seemed like committing a suicide
Scooters, motorbike, cars, trucks, and buses are on the same road. It was a chaos. The driver was honking all the time to move the scooters in front of the car. Driving in Vietnam looked very challenging.
The bladder that broke the silence
The car was moving slowly thanks to the traffic jam. Time seemed to stop. I tried to ignore the sign that my bladder was sending to me and read quietly at the back of the car. But it didn’t work. It was hard for me to focus on the book. I couldn’t wait anymore. I broke the silence in the car. “I need to go to the TOILET!” They heard the word ‘Toilet’ and said “Okay!”
The first Vietnam hitchhiking stop and the giant Bong
We stopped at the gas station. My bladder was finally free! Hahaha! What a relief! 🙂 When I came back, I saw my new Vietnamese friends and my smoker French buddy were smoking tobacco with a giant bong! Guys asked me to try it, but I didn’t think I could handle smoking with that huge Bong. I just laughed so hard until my belly hurts just by watching them struggling to smoke with the giant Bong!
The second Vietnam hitchhiking stop
Another a couple of hours slowly passed in the car. We were all exhausted. We made a stop again. I was expecting a rest stop like Thailand. The big rest stop with food court, shops, and toilets.
Hammock at rest area in Vietnam?!
The rest area is just right on the street like a little open shop. There were many hammocks on both sides of the shop and plugs to charge cell phones. In the middle, there were some chairs and tables as well. People were taking a nap, charging their phones, and having some drinks like Redbull, coffee, and soda. It was a new experience. Chilling on the hammock and taking a nap sound like a good idea! I thought it would be nice to have rest stops like this in Korea, but I’m afraid all the homeless people would love to stay in Hammock and never leave!
Almost there at our first Hitchhiking destination in Vietnam: Can Tho
After taking a good rest, everyone looked refreshed and happier. A little more than an hour left to be in Can Tho! My new Vietnamese friends said, “Can Tho. Tiger?” while showing gestures when we were drinking. “Beer? Beer Tiger?” “Yes!” Hahaha. Sometimes you don’t have to know the local language to communicate. Just simple words and body language are enough. Just like this. 🙂
My hitchhiking in Vietnam story just began. I’ve tried something I’ve never done before at Can Tho in Vietnam. Don’t miss the second part of my Hitchhiking in Vietnam story! Next Wednesday, you will find out what happened after we arrived in Can Tho through hitchhiking in Vietnam! Don’t forget to subscribe Explore Your Life Now and be the first one that will hear new travel stories and tips!