There are different ways of getting fuel in Hanoi and getting from a petrol station is not the most common and hundreds of people sell fuel on the side of the road
BOTTLE ON SIDE OF THE ROAD – You see a plastic bottle on the side of the road with some liquid in it. That is where you get emergency fuel, there are stories that that fuel, not the one you saw on the side of the road has got water in it. Never tried so don’t know, but only use if totally run out.
44 GALLON DRUMS WITH HAND PUMP – These are very common when the place has run out of fuel, just pump it out and fill up a 1 litre can.
PETROL STATION/STAND – Dotted around in Hanoi, usually only sell fuel and oil, has an attendant who serves you. These are normally very crowded places, and there are rules so much sure you stick to them otherwise someone will yell at you, which makes you not want to go back to that one – tips below.
Even though health and safety seems pretty lapsed in lots of areas in Hanoi, when it comes to getting fuel for your bike, they are pretty strict about conduct around fueling up.
General Rules include:
- Turn off your bike when you get near the petrol station, you will see others lined up.
- Push your bike into line, and don’t let anyone push in – that’s the tricky bit.
- Open your fuel cap, so it is easy for the attendant to fill you up, they are super busy.
- Have the money ready, as they will often take the money off you before refueling and if you want it filled up, just use some body language to indicate this.
- Once the deal is done, push the bike out of the way.
- Get organised, then push it a few meters away from the station, then start your engine.
For me a women foreign biker, often these women fuel attendants outside the main roads have never seen someone like me who is pale and pastie looking. So, grabbing the opportunity while they can they often touch my arms and turn my arm over to see the white skin of my wrist, so of course I gently do the same back to them and we have a good laugh. They are only curious, so if someone does this do not take offence just play along with it and make it a good cultural interaction, because at the second you are representing all foreign women on the planet 😀