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Living in Vietnam - without motorbike?!?!
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What is the best option for a couple without two motorbikes in HCMC?
Use some combination of bus, taxi, bicycle, and possibly one motorbike
36%
 36%  [ 7 ]
Try finding work in a smaller Vietnamese city where you won't need one
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
Vietnam isn't for you. Go to China, Taiwan, etc
63%
 63%  [ 12 ]
Total Votes : 19

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LongShiKong



Joined: 28 May 2007
Posts: 881
Location: China

PostPosted: Thu Dec 05, 2013 4:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ExpatLuke wrote:
How is it ridiculous? He's right.


He's wrong. Do you have any idea of how much more fuel a car consumes vs a motorbike? If anything, it should be taxis waiting around once letting off passengers. But they don't. The reason should be obvious: they need the money. Business 101: it takes money to make money. The little bit of gas used to drive around is a small investment recouped from your next ride. If it works for a taxi, why not for a xe-om? Ridiculous assertion!

Had I not pressed the ratio question, I would've been left with the impression I'd need to walk to an intersection to get a ride anywhere.
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mk87



Joined: 01 Apr 2013
Posts: 55

PostPosted: Thu Dec 05, 2013 4:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Like I said before most Xe om's sit on corners and most people I know use the same driver 90% of the time. Thats why they dont drive around much. Each one has his own little turf and if you need a life you walk up to them. Because of how the city is laid out you are never more than about 20ft from a xe om.

You do get the occasional guy driving down the road, but something about some guy pulling up slowly and shouting "Hey...where you go!" makes me just say no thanks and keep walking til I find someone sitting on a corner. If all the xe oms were driving around looking for customers the traffic would be even worse than it is now. Its not like they are ignorant to the ways of making money, its how they work and it works for them
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ExpatLuke



Joined: 11 Feb 2012
Posts: 322

PostPosted: Thu Dec 05, 2013 5:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rolling Eyes Someone who's not been to Vietnam asking questions, and then telling the people who answer them that they're wrong.

You're a real peach.

Taxis drive around town. Xe oms don't. You will have to walk to an intersection if you want to find a xe om. Now, accept the answers you're given or don't bother asking stupid questions.

As as side note, many taxis also just sit at the side of the roads waiting for customers. I've known a few taxi drivers, and the way they tell it is they usually camp outside hot spots, like hotels, stores, etc. Dispatch will call in addresses of people who call for taxis, and all the taxis who think they can get there the fastest all race off to try to pick up the fare. If someone else flags them down on the way, then all the better.

mk87 wrote:

You do get the occasional guy driving down the road, but something about some guy pulling up slowly and shouting "Hey...where you go!" makes me just say no thanks and keep walking til I find someone sitting on a corner.


These are the guys that were sitting on the opposite side of the street and saw you walking and have driven over to ask you if you want a ride.
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mk87



Joined: 01 Apr 2013
Posts: 55

PostPosted: Thu Dec 05, 2013 6:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not so sure about that. I know most of the guys that sit around my area, but The road I live on is a major thoroughfare in the city, I'm pretty sure some of the guys I'm talking about are just passing opportunists.

Buuut... I have caused a couple of incidents with the situation you described. I always just stand there feeling very British, while they go at it.
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LongShiKong



Joined: 28 May 2007
Posts: 881
Location: China

PostPosted: Thu Dec 05, 2013 8:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ExpatLuke wrote:
Now, accept the answers you're given or don't bother asking stupid questions.


How can I accept the answers given when they appear so contadictory? One person says you need to walk to an intersection to find a xe om while another states you're never more than 20 ft away from one.

The only way the reluctance to 'waste fuel' argument would make sense and teh fact the 'active' transportation is predominantly taxis is if xe oms are so ubiquitous that they end up undercutting each other and as a result have to worry about 'wasting fuel'.
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mk87



Joined: 01 Apr 2013
Posts: 55

PostPosted: Thu Dec 05, 2013 8:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The blocks in Saigon aren't exactly huge. So there is usually an intersection within 30 seconds walk of where ever you are. Often there will be xe om's just sat at the intersection between the main road and the residential hem (alleyway)
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montblanc20



Joined: 21 Jul 2013
Posts: 52

PostPosted: Thu Dec 05, 2013 10:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

LongShiKong wrote:

He's wrong. Do you have any idea of how much more fuel a car consumes vs a motorbike? If anything, it should be taxis waiting around once letting off passengers. But they don't. The reason should be obvious: they need the money. Business 101: it takes money to make money. The little bit of gas used to drive around is a small investment recouped from your next ride. If it works for a taxi, why not for a xe-om? Ridiculous assertion!

Had I not pressed the ratio question, I would've been left with the impression I'd need to walk to an intersection to get a ride anywhere.

You do get xe oms approaching you, but most of the times these guys have been parked at their spot and then drive to you like the other poster said. Or they are driving back to their spot from giving a ride or doing an errand or they just want to move around a bit.

It does waste fuel to randomly go around looking for people who want a ride. Suppose he goes around looking for people to ride. Is he going to approach random Vietnamese walking around and ask them if they need a ride? Most Vietnamese have their own transportation. Vietnamese people rarely use xe oms. In addition, approaching other Vietnamese like that is not the Vietnamese way of doing things.

Is he going to approach random Western people for a ride? Western people have the money to take taxis. They have their guard up. They often don't know the rate, don't speak Vietnamese, and don't want to get scammed. The women traveling alone don't want to ride with dirty-looking old guys. The men are used to xe oms approaching at night and asking if they want boom-boom massages, so if a xe om approaches them randomly during the day he will have his guard up. Western people also don't mind walking if it's exploring the city in their mind.

You do get xe oms approaching at night asking if you want boom-boom or marijuana. But usually, these guys aren't roaming too far from their spot or the tourist area.

The going rate around here for Vietnamese is 15,000 a ride for a short distance in the city. I usually give them 20,000. 21,000 VND = 1 USD. Price of fuel is 24,000/liter I think.
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montblanc20



Joined: 21 Jul 2013
Posts: 52

PostPosted: Thu Dec 05, 2013 10:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

LongShiKong wrote:

The only way the reluctance to 'waste fuel' argument would make sense and teh fact the 'active' transportation is predominantly taxis is if xe oms are so ubiquitous that they end up undercutting each other and as a result have to worry about 'wasting fuel'.

That kind of sounds like what I wrote: "Wastes fuel. If these guys make 5 dollars on a good day, spending an extra dollar on fuel is a big deal."

These guys might make $3 on a good day. I don't know. If riding around all day gives no real advantage, better to just sit and save the fuel.
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LongShiKong



Joined: 28 May 2007
Posts: 881
Location: China

PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2013 3:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

montblanc20 wrote:
These guys might make $3 on a good day. I don't know. If riding around all day gives no real advantage, better to just sit and save the fuel.


To add to the conflicting advice on this forum, here's what RustyShackleford wrote on his
A Saga of a Vietnam TEFL Newbie's Experiences in 2 Months thread:
Quote:
Get a motorbike as soon you can. No sense wasting time with a flaky xe om unless you happen to be flush with cash and don't mind waiting upwards of half an hour. Learn to drive, learn the streets and get going.


My experience with illegal taxis in China is they refuse to take you for the going rate--they want at least 50% more than a regular taxi fare. Unlike market stall merchants, their asking price is firm. Although xe oms in China are much more flexible.
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mk87



Joined: 01 Apr 2013
Posts: 55

PostPosted: Thu Dec 12, 2013 6:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Again, there is probably conflicting information because people experience things in different ways, we can only tell you what we have experienced. In terms of illegal taxis, there are some dodgy companies here but stick to Vinasun and you will be fine. There really is no reason to get another "brand"

Flaky Xe Oms is not something I've ever had to deal with really. In my first year I lived in an apartment block where the local families would sit outside at a coffee shop, there was always people willing to drive you anywhere, i never felt like I was getting ripped off by them. Again, you have to accept you are moving to a city that basically works on small local communities and act in such a way (although you will never be a real part of that community - granted) but you can get someway there. My old Xe Om driver did loads of stuff for me. He used to come to the bank with me when I paid my rent etc...

Where I live now, the guy I use gives me a wake up call 30 minutes before I have arranged to meet him, always brings me some basic breakfast in the morning etc.. If I text him and he is busy he tells me straight away. Like most things in VN its about building relationships and informal networks.
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deadlift



Joined: 08 Jun 2010
Posts: 251

PostPosted: Thu Dec 12, 2013 8:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good post mk87. A good xe om driver can be much more than transport. A friend of mine had hers act as security when she had house parties.
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