If you aren't ready to hop on a motorbike and join the craziness of HCMC traffic on your own - then do the next best thing - hire a cyclo driver to give you a chance to be a part of the transportation culture.
Instead of cyclo-ing around District 1 where most of the tourists hang out - get out of the tourist circle and head to District 5 and ChoLon market to begin your tour.
Ben - my cyclo driver - was so great I have hired him multiple times in HCMC. Just tell him how many people are coming and he'll round up a bunch of his friends with their cyclos and they will peddle you among the traffic and through the local streets and sites of District 5 and District 8 for 2 1/2 to 3 hours!
This is the best way to capture photography and video of the motorbike culture in HCMC - you are riding along at a slow pace and can get up close to the subjects for photos. You'll be absolutely mystified as you drive through the city and get out of the touristy District 1.
Cyclo Driver for hire - Nguyen Nam Binh (Ben)
Mobile +84 0958760273