What is Cyclo?
The cyclo is a three-wheel bicycle taxi in Vietnam, a kind of rickshaw with a seat at the front for passengers and the driver at the back. This kind of vehicle was very popular in every city of Vietnam especially Hanoi and Saigon as it can transport more than two people (Vietnamese body size) with a much cheaper cost than normal taxi. The modern life with taxi fares dropped and fleets of buses with low fixed fares has pushed this vehicle to the small land of survival. However, cyclo tour remains the authentic taste of Vietnam life and even some local enjoys that as a way of nostalgia.
Cyclo tour in Vietnam
Fortunately, cyclo is one of symbols of nostalgia, then it is now great for a popular tourism attraction. Because it is just simple and ordinary with its appearance: no engine to make a sound, no petro consumption to make smokes and full open window for an ease at commuting.
In big cities, cyclo can be banned at some streets as this is considered a reason for traffic jam as it is slow in moving and take more space than a bicycle. When you hire a cyclo, you might find out this street signs. Nevertheless, cyclo is still a great mean of sightseeing as it can take you to the back road of the citizen areas, to the poor place, where the face of the city is real and true.
Take a two-hour cyclo tour around Hanoi’s Old Quarter as well as stunning historical and cultural sites in the city centre is a magnificent experience that you feel the sound, the smell, the noise, the face features of people along the roads as the cyclo moving is rather slow. It’s a good idea to have a camera to hand to capture the scenes of daily life of city, traders, small restaurants, old balconis, beautiful windows, sidewalks…and this can arouse your emotion much long later.
Or you can make a travelling in a Cyclo tour for peacefully welcoming windy sunset and bright sunrise on the beach of Nha Trang or Danang. That very slow speed plus the open space allow you to get the full view and sea breeze, as well as interacting with local people and children playing on the beach. Of course, there is also a limitation for this vehicle as the heavy rain can make you wet.
If you want to hire a Cyclo tour, always negotiate the fare in advance. Make deal first and stick to that no matter how the situation changes. This can help to save a happy ride. It’s the best to let your tour guide or your hotel man to make the deal.
When talk about Vietnam, travelers do not only remember pho (rice noodle), ao dai (long dress), palm-leaf conical hats, but also cyclo, a simple vehicle with three wheels that can help to capture the authentic beauty of Vietnam daily life in a full manner.
For a clip of an experience in cyclo at Hanoi Old quarter, see here.