HOW TO NOT DIE IN A TYPHOON
Typhoons are a common occurrence all over Vietnam and if you aren’t careful they can even be deadly. If you are properly prepared chances are you’ll be fine however there are different hazards that you should look out for depending on where you are when one hits.
Why is a typhoon so serious?
A typhoon is a mature tropical cyclone and can bring with it incredibly powerful winds and rain. Often in the days before a typhoon the weather will be warm and the skies blue and cloud free. This can lull unsuspecting travellers into a false sense of security. A typhoon usually begins with torrential rain, sometimes thunder and lightning and then introduces very strong winds. This wind and rain can last for a maximum of 5 days so can bring your plans to a serious halt.
What to do if a typhoon hits whilst you are in a hilly area
Landslides are a very real risk during a typhoon and it can be dangerous for a few days following. Torrential rain can seriously damage the structural integrity of the soft soil found in many hilly areas of Vietnam. If you are stuck in the hills when a typhoon strikes make sure you have a safe place to stay for a while until the rain stops and the ground dries out a little. This could take a few days so be patient.
Before heading off on a trek in these stunning areas of the country always make sure to check the weather forecast and ask the locals. Always follow local advice. Often when tourists are injured during extreme weather it is because they have not listened to the advice given to them.
How to stay safe during a typhoon on an island
If you happen to be on one of Vietnams many islands when a typhoon hits – don’t panic. Most local people can tell when a typhoon is coming and this will give you time to change your plans and swap outdoor activities for some relaxing indoor activities. Strong winds will bring about large waves and dangerous sea conditions.
Boat trips and ferries will be cancelled for the safety of the passengers and there is not much you can do about this. You should avoid going to the beach during a typhoon as the winds will be very strong and the waves can be wild and unpredictable.
Is safe to ride a bike during the typhoon
The simple answer to this is no. Many roads in Vietnam are unsealed and become very slippery in the rain. Depending on where you are, busses may be cancelled until the roads have dried out. Do not, under any circumstances, drive a motorbike in a typhoon regardless of how desperate you are to get to your next destination. Rain plays havoc with both sealed and unsealed roads and the ratio of potholes to road only gets worse. This makes the roads deadly and it is not worth risking your life.
The soft fertile soil that makes up most of Vietnam is prone to slips and landslides after heavy rain so avoid roads that have steep drops on one side for a few days after the typhoon has passed.
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