Bikes of Burden - Hans Kemp, photograpther in Southeast Asia has published a book about motorcycles in Vietnam as the most important mean of transportation of people and goods.
Bikes of Burden - A tribute to the motorcycles in Vietnam and their importance for transportation and economy


Picture yourself rice fields in every imaginary shade of green. kids and waterbuffalos splashing about in streams and rivers, oxcarts loaded with the season's harvest, fishing boats with piercing eyes to guide them and streets full of motorbikes.


One of the images that remains most vividly etched on the mind of many a visitor to Vietnam is the traffic. The order amidst the seemingly random and chaotic movements, the unwritten rules of passage and the motorbikes used to transport absolutely everything and everybody.

It's the motorbikes that makes the Vietnamese economy tick!

One of the main reasons for this enormous variety lies in the obsession with fresh ingredients for every meal. No frozen meat or fish here, the way to the consumer is short and direct: from the farm, the abattoir and the dock. Only very recently butchered if must, still alive if can.

So instead of transporting large quantities in one time, many loads of small quantities get transported all the time and the bike is the preferred mode.

Nothing beats the motorcycle...

It seems that every household in Vietnam has at least one bike. In the city, narrow streets and traffic congestion make the bike by far the fastest way of transporting people and goods around.

Eventually, bikes will disappear as the favourite mode of transport. People will rely on fridges and freezers as they will be too busy to make the daily trip to the market. Roads will be widened, cars will be more available and the world will appear through a window.

Therefore, let's cherish these times and witness these astonishing species, these Bikes of Burden...


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