How do roads in Asia work?

After visiting Bangkok and Phnom Penh plus hearing frightening tales from fellow travellers about the chaos of Hanoi which I will soon be visiting, it’s safe to say that I have absolutely no clue what the rules of the road are. They look like a terrifying free for all, everyone looks out for number one and if you’re in the way then god help you.


Green man does not mean you can cross. I repeat, this universal sign for safe to walk is in fact not accepted by drivers in Asia. They go, and you have to be brave with your life and throw yourself into the road to stop them from doing so.

Motorbikes are everywhere and there are absolutely no restrictions. I’ve seen a whole family on one going down a motorway including a mother holding a 2-4 month old kid in just one arm as she held onto the Father with the other. Then in front of him perched with his knees up was a 3/4 year old boy. Insane. Absolutely incredible and frightening and just mind boggling. There’s no policing either, safety on roads is in the eye of the beholder by the looks of it.

Any direction is feasible. For example if you are on the other side of the road and suddenly have a realisation that you need to turn then you can just go ahead and vertically cut through all the lanes, narrowly avoiding oncoming traffic. And no this is not just one person doing this but hundreds, especially motorbike drivers which seems the most unsafe.

Lanes mean nothing. Absolutely squat diddly nothing. You go where you want to go. Sometimes paths don’t even mean anything. I don’t understand the system, I don’t know how it works, I don’t get how everyone has agreed with this insanity. But I do thoroughly enjoy the rush of watching and being apart of it.


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