How to Deal with Vietnamese Traffic Police

Dealing with the traffic police in Vietnam is pretty easy. I’ve only had one interaction with them (wrote about here), which went pretty well all things considered.

Anyway, a commenter asked me to write an article on what to do during a traffic stop in Vietnam, so here is the article.

What To Do During The Traffic Stop

Vietnamese police don’t pull that many people over. And most of the time they pull over cars.

That said, here are the exact steps for handling a Vietnamese traffic stop.

Stop In a (Relatively) Safe Spot

Some foreigners recommend ignoring the police. Personally, I think that’s dumb. Those foreigners are probably lying, too.

Don’t run from the police.

Please. It’s a really bad idea.

Take Your Keys Out Of The Ignition

Sometimes the police will take your keys for extra bargaining power. Don’t let them do that.

Take the keys out of the ignition immediately after turning off your bike.

Walk to The officer

Vietnamese cops have no fear of getting shot or other dumb crap like US cops, which means they expect you to walk to them like a man (rather than a prisoner). They are normally in front of you if pulled over by a bike. They’ll be behind you if they flagged you down.

It’s pretty easy to figure out where they are – I’m not sure why I included that.

Salute The officer


I’ve seen Vietnamese police salute Vietnamese men that they pull over. Therefore, it’s a good idea to salute the police. It will definitely show them that you know how things work.

And that’s super important.


You can pay the ticket on the spot (no receipt!). And you can even bargain about the cost.

The normal rate is 200k. The commenter that requested this article said the cops asked for 3 million ($132), which is a white people price.

You shouldn’t pay more than 500k. 200k is standard.

Also, if you know Vietnamese, now is the time to use it!

They Won’t Take Your Bike

If there’s no police truck on the scene, then the police won’t take your bike. They aren’t going to wait for the truck to show up and deal with all the paperwork.

Just no. That’s not how it works.

They will still threaten to take your bike, but they won’t. Just sit on the sidewalk.

They’ll then lower the amount of your on-the-spot ticket (no receipt!).

If there is a police truck, then they will take your bike. That’s pretty much a rule. And you will have to go to the station to pay the ticket (you get a receipt for this one).

You might be able to pay the ticket on the spot (no receipt!) if there’s a truck, but it will probably cost more than 200k.

Note: Getting your motorbike released from impound is a pain in the wallet if you don’t have a blue card in your name!

How To Not Get Pulled Over By Vietnamese Traffic Police

The cops randomly pull people over here. There just isn’t much you can do to avoid it. It’s a good idea that everyone on your bike wears a helmet, though.

The police will always pull you over for not wearing a helmet.

Personally, I’ve only been pulled over once. And that’s because it was late at night in a far district.

My bike is so ugly/cheap that they usually just ignore me. Here’s a pro tip to avoid getting pulled over:

Ride with a helmet camera

The helmet camera doesn’t even have to work. You can just put an old GoPro frame on your helmet, and the cops will ignore you.

I guess they’re camera shy.

What Not To Do

Try to Pay the Official Fine

Don’t be a goofy goober and start talking about paying an official fine, bribes, or that stuff.

That ain’t how things work here, goober. I read about a goober expat that insisted (in fluent Vietnamese…) on paying the official fine. This goofy gooberpat even pulled out a video camera while talking about bribes…

And the cop took his phone, punched him in the stomach, and deleted the video…

*thug life music starts playing*

That is literally the funniest thing I’ve read in a long time. I literally cried laughing the first time I read it.

Here’s the post on Facebook (Click the photo for a link to the full post):

You get what you deserve, goober boy. The story might be fake. However, I really, really, really hope it’s real because it’s hilarious.

Anyway, don’t be a goober. Just pay the roadside fine (no receipt!).

Be a Tough Guy

I’ve heard expats say that they yelled at cops, and the cops just magically disappeared.

Normally I would respond, “I’m sure that’s exactly what happened, bro.”

But those guys are so tough that I’m scared of calling them out…

Nah, just joking. The guys that brag about their toughness on random Facebook groups (as opposed to anonymous blogs, I know I know) are always soft as marshmallows. I guarantee you they aren’t yelling at the Vietnamese traffic police.

With that in mind, I don’t recommend trying the tough guy routine on the police in Vietnam. It probably won’t work. And the roadside fine (no receipt!) is only $9…

Cheap Charlies with anger management problems are almost worse than goofy gooberpats.

Final Thoughts

That about covers it.

If there isn’t a truck, then you can get away with paying 200k (or whatever is in your wallet).

If there is a police truck there, then they will probably take your bike. You might be able to pay a roadside fine, but it will probably cost a little more money.

Of course, don’t expect a receipt for any tickets that you pay on the side of the road. We all know what that means, I hope.


  1. physically avoiding the police, ignoring them, etc. genuinely works.

    when i was a n00b here, i’d foolishly acknowledge them, make eye contact, and generally behave civilised. used to get stopped at least once or twice a month. never paid fines, probably because my passport’s from a former communist country (and i don’t speak vietnamese).

    anyway, when you see the cops, immediately distance yourself from them. if they’re on the right side of the road, change to the left. try to blend in with traffic, hide behind large vehicles, and never look directly at them. it’s a HUGE pain in the ass for them to cut across the road, and physically get in front of your motorbike to stop you.

    even if they somehow manage to do it, very easy to pretend you didn’t see/hear them.

    “soo sorry! soo loud! i no hear!”.

    when i ride with viet people in the back, they’re always shocked. omg, phuc! the police were trying to stop you, and you kept riding!

    “what police?” 😉

    has worked so far, haven’t been bothered in over six months.

    1. jeez 1-2 times a month lol. I’ve been pulled over once in 2 years. I used to do all that. Now I don’t even care because my bike sucks so bad. I’ll even make eye contact when they’re on the side of the road. I want an excuse to buy a new bike tbh.

      In my opinion, it mostly comes down to whether the cops are looking to pull people over at that particular moment.

      Story time: The cops always hangout underneath the cafe I used to work at (Phuc Long @ 159 Nguyen Thai Hoc near Bui Vien), and those guys only ever stopped 3-4 people over 2-3 hours. 95% of the time it was cars. They also liked to pull over the highschool kids (highschool is across the street) on motorbikes before/after lunch, but they’d usually call mom to get the bike in that case. I saw one where the highschool kid (unwittingly) crossed Nguyen Thai Hoc right before the light turned red… the cop just went back to his corner rather than try going through the intersection, so that method does work at really busy intersections. Those guys are pretty good at weaving through traffic, though.

      Anyway, those cops didn’t really do much. Most of the time they would be on Facebook or talking to the security guard. During rush hour they would direct traffic.

      I never once saw those guys pull over a foreigner, but it’s Bui Vien so that’s expected. They never pulled me over in the 6 months I went there, either.

      The funniest was when I honked at the fat cop that was blocking the sidewalk there (he’s always there – probably recognized me since he saw me every day). He turned around, looked at me, and moved out of the way lmao.

  2. I’m expecting a blog post from you about the heating up situation in HCMC hahaha

    Have you been locked up or some shit ?

    1. Nah, I’m still here. I don’t really pay attention to what is going on. I think there’s a quarantine or something… idk. My coffee shop closed because of the virus, so I’ve been stuck inside with nothing to do.

  3. Nice post mate. Glad you take my advice to write this article.
    With the new visa situation, it is going to make people more weary about coming to Vietnam.
    I guess the visa agents will be lapping it up comes July 2020 when the official law comes into being.
    What are your plans?

        1. I’d get married here because I need a visa lol. This stupid virus has made me realize that I can’t live abroad on a tourist visa. I know how to make a woman “fall in love” with me, so it won’t be a problem. Marriage is usually a disaster because 99% of guys are cucks that do dumb shit like ask women what they want for dinner* or treat them like adults.

          Plus, I want kids (like 10+ kids), so MGTOW isn’t gonna work. It also seems like a “work, you childless slave” type mindset. The movement recognizes the problem (radical feminism), but it usually offers consumerism as a solution. And that isn’t a viable solution imo. I respect guys that do it, though.

          I’ll probably write a post about this at some point.

          *The right answer to this is you never ask that question. You eat whatever the fuck you want to eat for dinner, and she should make it for you.

    1. border is closed. And they just closed all the bars, clubs, karaoke places, and massage parlors in HCMC.

      Other than that, it’s bretty normal.

      1. Shit! I think I may get back home… I heard they closed the borders for only those with passports from really affected countries (think france, spain, italy etc) or did they close them completely?

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