Guides & Tips

History and Culture of Cyclos: A Journey Through Time

Mai Anh
3 min. to read

Embark on a fascinating journey through time as we delve into the rich history and vibrant culture of cyclos. Discover how these iconic vehicles have been woven into the fabric of Vietnamese heritage, serving as both transportation and storytellers on the bustling streets of Hanoi.

Let’s join us as we explore the evolution of cyclos, from their humble beginnings to their enduring presence in modern-day Vietnam!

Table of contents

1. History and Development of Cyclos

2. Cyclo Riding Experience

3. Arranging a cyclo ride in Hanoi by yourself

1. History and Development of Cyclos

The cyclo was created by a French individual named Piere Coupeaud, who resided in Indochina from the early 1920s and operated a bicycle company in Phnom Penh. Coupeaud manufactured the initial series of “vélo-pousse” (the original name of the cyclo at the time) and dispatched a series of cyclos to Vietnam.

The first cyclos in Hanoi

Beginning in the 1950s, the cyclo remained a favored mode of transportation, valued for its capacity to transport goods and accommodate multiple passengers simultaneously, surpassing bicycles in these aspects. With its combination of elegance and efficiency, the cyclo seamlessly integrated into the urban environment, becoming a prominent feature of cityscapes.

Image of cyclo in the 1950s

Through the years, the cyclo has evolved into an enduring emblem of Hanoi’s cultural legacy. Serving as a tangible link to the city’s history, it tells stories of Hanoi’s bygone eras as it traverses the streets. Today, the cyclo remains an integral part of Hanoi’s essence, providing both residents and tourists alike a sentimental voyage through the city’s vibrant past.

Cyclo – beauty in Hanoi culture

2. Cyclo Riding Experience

Discover the destinations that cyclos can take you to >>> Top 3 Prime Stay Areas in Hanoi for Tourists

Aside from admiring the splendor of Hanoi, cyclo rides present a chance to engage with locals. You can converse with the cyclo driver to delve into the city’s rich history and culture, or strike up conversations with other residents along the way. The leisurely pace of the cyclo enables a profound connection with Hanoi’s essence, offering a deeper understanding of its distinctive life and culture. As you traverse the city, you’ll uncover the intricacies of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, the tranquil allure of Hoan Kiem Lake, and the cultural opulence of the Temple of Literature.

Moreover, the cyclo experience is enhanced by the courteous cyclo drivers, who are well-versed in key tourist destinations, eateries, and restaurants.

3. Arranging a cyclo ride in Hanoi by yourself

You can organize a cyclo ride in Hanoi independently. Cyclo drivers are commonly found in popular tourist areas.

The price of a cyclo ride can fluctuate based on the ride’s duration and your bargaining skills, but it typically ranges from 100,000 to 200,000 VND (approximately $4-9 USD) per hour.

While many cyclo drivers in Hanoi may not be fluent in English, they can usually communicate effectively with tourists. However, it’s wise to carry a map or have a general idea of your destination to avoid any misunderstandings.

As with any tourist activity, there’s a risk of being overcharged. To mitigate this, it’s advisable to negotiate the fare in advance and agree on the route and duration of the ride. Additionally, be mindful of any extra charges, such as entrance fees to attractions.

Here is the cyclo tour itinerary I propose:

Route 1: Yen Phu Street – Cua Bac – Nguyen Tri Phuong Street – Hanoi Ancient Citadel.

Route 2: Yen Phu Street – Tran Nhat Duat – Tran Quang Khai – Le Phung Hieu – Ngo Quyen – Trang Tien Plaza – Dinh Tien Hoang – Le Thai To Hang Khay.

You can select your own destinations for Cyclos to take you to. Check it out >>> Discovering the Wonders of Hanoi: A Travel Guide

However, there are a few things to note:

  • Settle on the fare before commencing the journey. Avoid bargaining for excessively low prices, as these rates are fixed.
  • Official cyclo drivers can be easily identified by their travel agency uniforms. Exercise caution with unofficial cyclo operators, who may offer lower rates but cannot guarantee service quality and safety.
  • For the best deals, consider renting a cyclo on main roads rather than in narrow alleys.
  • It’s advisable to avoid peak hours (7:00 AM – 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM) to steer clear of traffic congestion.

Are you unsure what to do when you’re in Hanoi? Explore >>> Hanoi Weekend Guided: what to do and where to go

Throughout the article, I trust that the Hanoi Cyclo ride experience will offer you a fresh perspective on exploring this city. Therefore, if you ever get the opportunity, I encourage you to allow the cyclo to serve as your storyteller, unveiling the city’s rich history and tales. Additionally, when planning your next Vietnam package tour, feel free to reach out to us at Sun Getaways Travel via our website.

If you’re eager to delve deeper into Vietnam’s culture and discover its wonders, consider joining some of our tours:

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