Whilst in Hue some friends and I decided it was time to experience a cyclo ride. A cyclo is basically a back-to-front rickshaw. The cyclist sits behind the passenger seat. There were four of us, so the two cyclo ‘drivers’, who were both local men, put a bench across the passenger seat making them split level. This meant someone sat on the proper seat and someone on the bench behind them, with the smaller passenger sitting between their knees. Ideally you would want one to yourself though. The cost of this was VND 100,000 per person which is approx US$5 or £3.35 for an hour. This seemed typical to prices we have been quoted elsewhere and other people paid, so bare this in mind when negotiating with the drivers.
We picked our drivers as we came out of the Imperial City and arranged for our hour trip to take in part of the city walls, some typical city life and return us to our hotel. We did about two sides of the imperial city (which is square) before they took us past the local life. It was nice to be able to see shopping streets and markets that the locals use. In fact we stopped for a five minute break at an indoor market and picked up a few bits. We also rode down residential streets, seeing houses that would cover most budgets. This was such a unique way to see the city as we would not have wandered as far as this part of town under our own steam. The cyclos allowed us to travel faster than on foot, whilst getting a good feel for the place, that you don't always appreciate on an air-conditioned coach travelling at twice the speed. With the oppressive humidity, our cyclo drivers had to work quite hard and were deserving of their fee and a small tip (typically 10%).
You do share the road with other traffic but it is a lot quieter over the North side of the river where the Imperial City is. Across the river, near our hotel, the roads are a lot busier. The traffic is mainly cycles and motorbikes; there are not many cars or vans. I took a few photos whilst travelling on the cyclo, you will need to use a faster shutter speed in order not to get blurry shots. I found the Sports setting on my Canon to do the job very well.
Having enjoyed our Hue cyclo experience we did the same thing in Hanoi. It is a busier city, and junctions are quite interesting – in the fact that it is slightly hairier with the increased traffic all having the right of way - but I do recommend giving this a go if you get the opportunity. On quieter streets you can get out and have a go at cycling too if you wish too!