(No.6, Vol.6,Aug-Sep 2016 Vietnam Heritage Magazine)

Photos : Lai Dien Dam

The pedicab is a symbol of the spirit of Hanoi

During the war, pedicabs contributed a lot to life and the war effort. They helped evacuate people, transport provisions, carry wounded soldiers, weapons and ammunition, and anything else needed.
After the war, pedicabs became Hanoi’s counterpart to other cities’ taxis. Women especially like them, perhaps for the feeling of soft calmness that comes from the slow, smooth ride. It’s easier to enjoy the full views along the streets or to be absorbed in thoughts in a pedicab then in a taxi. The only disadvantage is that it has no air-conditioning.
In 2009, Hanoi banned pedicabs, but fortunately, not completely. The city bought back all of them and gave licenses to 4 tourist companies to provide this service. The cabs now have license plates and are under strict control. They service mostly tourists, because the city allows pedicabs on certain streets and routes only.
Asked about the thing that impressed him most in Vietnam, a tourist answered, ‘There are so many interesting things in Vietnam that leave long-lasting impressions, but I like best to cruise slowly on a pedicab in the old town. It’s quite scary at first, because the seat is at the front and you constantly feel that you are about to hit someone in the chaotic traffic. But once you are used to it, it’s amazing.’
And so, through the ups and downs of times, pedicabs have become an unmistakable cultural icon of Hanoi. n

For those who want to enjoy cyclo tour in Hanoi please contact Cyclo Sans - Souci, 50 Phat Loc Alley, Hoan Kiem Dist., Hanoi, tel: (04) 3928-1248, www.xichlokhongloau.znn.vn

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