Mass outbound migration chokes roads in Hanoi, Saigon

Major gateways in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City were blocked by hundreds of thousands of people and vehicles Friday as people headed home for the five-day break.

Ho Chi Minh City

From 3 p.m. Friday, major roads leading to the Mien Dong Bus Terminal in Binh Thanh District, like National Highway 13, Dinh Bo Linh, Nguyen Xi and Xo Viet Nghe Tinh streets were overflowing with motorbikes, cars, buses and other vehicles. Traffic inched at slower than snail’s pace.

The Mien Dong Bus Terminal has buses going to destinations all over northern and central Vietnam as well as the city's eastern neighbors such as Dong Nai, Binh Duong and Binh Phuoc.

Traffic on Binh Trieu Bridge on Friday afternoon.

Millions are making their way home for the five-day holiday that begins Saturday to mark Reunification Day, the end of the Vietnam War (April 30) and Labor Day (May 1).

Many migrants want to go home and be with their families, others plan to travel within the country and many have planned overseas tours.

A motorbike driver falls off the road and some passers-by stop to help him.

“As usual, when the holiday begins, passing through the bus station becomes a nightmare," said Le Van Teo, a xe om (motorbike taxi) driver.

Two men hurry to the bus terminal.

The metropolis of 13 million people has around 7.6 million motorbikes and 700,000 cars.

A family of three got off their car right on the bridge to walk for one kilometer. "All roads are congested and walking is the best way right now," said Thai Thi Thu carrying her daughter in hands in the picture. She was leaving Saigon to go home in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong, home to the popular resort town of Da Lat.

Those who managed to get past the sea of vehicles and enter the station then had to face another sea of people trying to buy tickets.

Inside the station, there are no rooms as every seat was occupied by people waiting for their buses.


Friday afternoon saw students and migrant workers flock to the Nuoc Ngam bus station in Hanoi to go home and spend the holiday with their families.

The station added an extra 250 buses to meet the increased demand.

A baby girl cries out as her mother tries to squeeze herself into a passenger bus.

Long queues of vehicles were stuck on the city's southern gateway Ring Road 3.

Traffic congestion is a daily problem in Hanoi, which has 5.2 million motorbikes and around 550,000 cars, besides some 1.2 million brought by immigrants, according to police figures.

Data shows a 4.6 percent annual increase in the number individual vehicles while traffic land in the city has only expanded 0.4 percent a year. A survey by market research firm Audience Project and Uber in 2017 showed that a person in Hanoi lost an average of an hour to traffic jams per day.

On Giai Phong, Kim Dong, Ngoc Hoi and Pham Hung streets, especially the area around Giap Bat bus station, vehicles could only move at a snail's pace.

At 8 p.m., long lines were still inching along of cars inches ahead on the Phap Van-Cau Gie Expressway.

The Phap Van-Cau Gie Expressway runs more than 32 kilometers (20 miles) to the south of Hanoi and links up with another expressway to the nearby Ninh Binh Province.

Photos by Huu Khoa and Ngoc Thanh