The central coastal town of Hoi An is just 10 kilometres in radius, making it ideal for bike use.
Old bikes dating back to the 70s in Hoi An
Bikes in Hoi An
Cars and motorbikes may be the most commonly used vehicles in Vietnam’s big cities, but in Hoi An, even motorbikes aren’t necessarily that common, with bicycles and electric bikes being the first choice for many.
Locals still use bicycles that date back to the 70s, and they’re unconcerned about theft, often leaving them unattended when buying a newspaper or stopping for coffee.
Some bicycles are still carrying number plates which dates back to a time when bicycles were as valued as a motorbike. People used to work hard for several years to be able to afford buying a bike, making them the equivalent of a luxury motorbike today.
Cycling around Hoi An
Visitors and locals alike enjoy using bicycles in Hoi An, and trips to other suburb villages nearby, which are just a short ride away. Some hotels rent bikes to their guests.
Some travel agencies have caught this new trend and offer bike tours combining cycling and rowing coracles into nipa forests. When cycling, travellers are introduced to the local culture.
Hoi An eco-tourism city
Hoi An remains a popular tourist destination, with 1.5 million people every year visiting the city. Some 5,000 tourists arrive in Hoi An everyday, but compared to the local population of 125,000, it doesn’t have that much of an impact.
However, to popularise the use of bikes the local authorities need to create bicycle lanes, use more road signs to indicate priority lanes, and build concrete roads and bridges instead of pathways to help bikes travel through fields and along canals, creating convenient routes to travel by bike and boat without interruption, opening bike repair-shops and provide bike parking lots so people can easily switch to cars or motorbikes when necessary.
Hoi An is ambitiously targeting becoming Vietnam’s first eco-tourism city, with the authorities intending to raise the number of bikes used in the city to 100,000.
The network of no-smoke cities has asked Hoi An to hold a “Car free day” on September 9.
Suburban villages near to Hoi An
Yellow dots – schools, red dots – markets, set to be connected by bicycle lanes
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