"Xich Lo" (Prounounced Sik-lo) was the most popular transportation means in Vietnam in the past, but is now a representation of the Vietnamese way of life. Since the French time, the Xich Lo was used as luxury transportation for French people in Vietnam and for a small number of Vietnamese noble at that time. Xich Lo drivers stood as a symbol of hard working subservients under French occupation.

Until the early 1990s, Xich Lo transport still was very popular, Vietnamese people found it useful as a Xich Lo could carry two people plus goods. It was cost effective and with its small size could fit perfectly on Vietnam city alleys and narrow streets.

After the 'motorbike storm' in Vietnam, the Xich Lo became redundant, people needed to travel further and faster. The Xich Lo did not meet their demands. At this time, the Xich Lo was used mostly for cargo, goods, short transfers and deliveries.

Tourism has created a chance for Xich Lo recently, the Xich Lo has a new face which is wider, more colorful and drivers dress better for tourists. Touring with Xich Lo in the city is very interesting for Westerners, it is slow enough for them to see the city and more importantly, it is safe enough for travelers in the busy traffic of Saigon or Hanoi.

Xich Lo looks different in each region of Vietnam. Hanoi's Xich Lo is wider and low, Hue is a bit more narrow but longer, Saigon's Xich Lo is tall and long. Whatever it is, Xich Lo has now become a great icon of Vietnam, a unique form of transportation, and the image of an old lady with traditional long dress on Xich Lo on her way back from market is still so meaningful for Vietnamese people.

Traveling to Vietnam, try Xich Lo once, this is a great way to feel the local life, see the cities from different angles and encourage Vietnamese Xich Lo to remain as a true cultural icon.

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