Why are cyclo tours must-do in Saigon?

Every traveler is talking about doing a cyclo tour in Saigon. Why they are must-do? Considering the city's history, culture, architecture and local lives, this article will point out reasons why you should consider exploring Saigon on a cyclo/ rickshaw at least once in your trip.
Why are cyclo tours must-do in Saigon
Table of Contents

Unique Historical Perspective

Saigon is a city where history is palpable at every turn, from French colonial architecture to sites significant in the Vietnam War. A cyclo tour allows you to navigate these historical layers closely and personally, often with guides who offer narratives that bring the past vividly to life.

The history of the cyclo in Vietnam itself adds a fascinating layer to the unique historical perspective gained during a tour in Saigon. Introduced by the French in the early 20th century, the cyclo became a popular mode of transportation across Vietnam, serving as a testament to the country’s colonial past and its journey towards modernity. In the bustling streets of Saigon, cyclos were once the primary means of transport, weaving through the city’s avenues and alleyways, offering a livelihood for many drivers. Over the decades, as motorbikes and cars began to dominate the streets, the cyclo retained its charm and became a symbol of a bygone era. Today, cyclo tours not only provide insight into Saigon’s rich history and culture but also keep alive a tradition that has witnessed the transformation of Vietnam through times of colonial rule, war, and rapid urban development. Riding in a cyclo offers a direct connection to the city’s past, making it a truly immersive way to experience Saigon’s history.

The cyclo itself was a witness of Saigon history since 20th century
The cyclo itself was a witness of Saigon history since 20th century

Unique Glimpse into Local Life by Cyclo tours

Unlike bus or car tours, cyclos move at a human pace, allowing for a more intimate view of daily life in the city. You can observe street vendors, local eateries, and the hustle and bustle of marketplaces up close, providing a genuine insight into the local way of life.

Riding in a cyclo also puts you at eye level with the city’s vibrant street culture. It’s an excellent opportunity to interact with locals, sample street food, and experience the city’s dynamic energy firsthand. This level of immersion is hard to achieve through any other mode of sightseeing.

Here is the comparison:

Tour Type Speed Accessibility to Narrow Streets Ability to Observe Local Life Closely Interaction with Locals Cultural Immersion
Bus Fast Limited Low Low Low
Car Moderated-fast Limited Moderate Low Moderate
Motorbike Moderate High High Moderate High
Cyclo Slow Very High Very High High Very High

Sustainable and Eco-friendly

Cyclos, being pedal-powered, offer a green alternative to motorized city tours. By choosing a cyclo, you’re opting for a mode of travel that minimizes carbon footprint and supports local economies.

Moreover, some of Saigon’s most charming sights are tucked away in narrow alleyways or are simply not accessible by larger vehicles. Cyclos can navigate these spaces with ease, taking you to hidden gems that you might miss otherwise, from quaint coffee shops to local art galleries.

Support for Traditional Livelihoods

Elderly cyclo drivers often depend on the income from their tours to support themselves. For many, cyclo driving is not just a job but a way of life, deeply intertwined with their identity and sense of purpose. By choosing cyclo tours, visitors contribute directly to sustaining these drivers’ livelihoods, offering a dignified means of earning a living in their later years.

Moreover, engaging with elderly cyclo drivers offers tourists an invaluable opportunity to hear personal stories and historical insights that they might not find in guidebooks. These drivers have witnessed firsthand the transformations of Saigon over the decades, from the turmoil of war to the rapid urban development of recent years. Their narratives provide a living bridge to the past, enriching visitors’ understanding of the city’s history and cultural heritage.

Supporting cyclo tours, therefore, goes beyond the simple act of choosing a mode of transport; it’s an investment in the preservation of a traditional livelihood that values the wisdom and dignity of the elderly. It’s a choice that respects the deep connection these drivers have with their city, ensuring that their stories and legacy continue to be a vibrant part of Saigon’s rich tapestry.

Doing a cylo tour is a way to support livelihood of elderly local drivers
Doing a cylo tour is a way to support livelihood of elderly local drivers

Personalized Experience

Many cyclo tours offer customizable itineraries, allowing you to choose what interests you most, whether it’s the city’s culinary delights, its art scene, or historical landmarks. This personalized approach ensures that your tour is tailored to your interests.

However, you should choose companies with high-quality tours to avoid the common cyclo scams. For example, check this highly recommended Saigon Cyclo Tour:

Saigon Cyclo Tour: Journeys to Saigon Heritage

Ho Chi Minh City

This article is written by:
AN Tours Vietnam – Best chosen Vietnam traveling experiences  – An expert Vietnam travel company that gives the best advice and insightful tips & tricks for your trip to Vietnam.

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