A cyclo is three-wheeled bicycle taxi popular in Vietnam and, for an afternoon, my transportation around bustling Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon).
At first I was skeptical; I mean, you just go ahead and read the description of a cyclo. But I was with an Exodus Travels tour group — my family for two weeks last summer — and almost the entire group decided to go on the tour. So I decided to put a little adventure into my stay in the city.
The cyclist would be my chauffer for the afternoon along main thoroughfares and into back alleys. Ho Chi Minh City is the largest city in Vietnam with a population of more than 10 million in the metropolitan area. This is a bustling city with a lot of traffic. At first it was a little unnerving; hundreds of motorcycles and cars swallowed us up as our guides and cyclists took us past towering skyscrapers and beautiful parks. Soon though, I relaxed and just trusted I would be safe. Traffic seemed to accept cyclos and not just tolerate them.
Soon we left the busy streets and headed down an alley. We rode past vegetable stands, tiny shops, and into the flower market. This is a large area with several streets and alleyways. We were surrounded by colorful blossoms, their scents floating on a slight breeze. Stopping for a walk through the area, we were able to admire and photograph creative bouquets and unusual varieties up close.
Back on the cyclo, we headed down residential streets. Children waved from balconies and we were met by smiles at every turn. We also made a stop at a Buddhist temple before heading back out into heavy traffic for the journey back to the hotel.
It was a fantastic experience! I would recommend it to anyone visiting Ho Chi Minh City.
If you are interested in a cyclo tour, ask the concierge at your hotel for recommendations.