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So, what is “Xe Om”?
“Xe Om” is used to refer the motorbike taxi that you sit behind a local driver on his motorbike and he will take you to your address. In Vietnamese, “Xe Om” means “Hug the driver”, but wait, you don’t have to do so, and the driver seems to not expect it either. Just sit firmly behind him and enjoy the great view.
Where can I find them?
Xe Om are available almost every street in big cities. If you see a man who is sitting on his motorbike on the street side, helmets hang on his motorbike, with sign board: “Xe Om”, that’s the person you are looking for. Some of them do not have sign board, however, it’s not difficult to realize them as they always give eyes contact and body language to welcome you when you approach.
Even in some remote mountainous area where the car cannot reach, a local Xe Om is an ideal transportation. No Xe Om with sign board there, but any local guy can be your motorbike driver.
How to take a Xe Om?
Just show the driver your address, ask and negotiate the price, wear the helmet then sit down on the pillion. The price should be: 8.000vnd – 15.000vnd per kilometer, depend on how good bargainer you are.
– You should write down the address, in Vietnamese and show it to the driver to avoid any misunderstanding
– Do not forget to wear helmet for your safe travelling. Normally the driver prepares 2 helmets, 1 for him and 1 for his client. Sometimes you can see people drive motorbike without helmet, especially in the remote area, but wearing helmet when driving is obligated.
– Maps! Yes, Xe Om drivers are living maps. You are confused or getting lost even with the city map in hand? Don’t hesitate to come to Xe Om and sho
w them where you want to walk to. They will show you the shortest way, on map or easily by body language.
– You can ask your hotel to find a trustworthy Xe Om driver, and hotel staff can also help you to negotiate the price.
Nowadays, Xe Om is not only popular with local people but also for foreigner travelers If you are travelling alone and would like to save the cost while still discover local culture the most, a Xe Om driver can be good travel companion. Most of them do not know English, but you still can find some drivers, normally in tourist sites, who can speak English a little bit or at least can understand you. They are so open to travelers can take you to any corner and never mind showing you the best of their country.
So, are you ready? Get out of the hotel, speak loudly “Xe Om” and start the trip!