10 X Remarkable Means Of Transport On a Journey
Will you choose the chapa, the jeepney, tricycle, or an extraordinary taxi ride?
When traveling abroad, you cannot avoid using local transport. You will come across many bizarre means of transport on your travels, often ones you would not even have guessed existed. They are exciting, sometimes a bit dangerous, but always make for a special ride. We have listed ten of them for you.
Perhaps the most fun of all: this motorbike with a welded-on sidecar and a roof can be found everywhere in the Philippines. Ideal for short trips on sometimes narrow roads. Just like the tuk-tuk, the tricycle manages to get around the busy traffic.
Doesn’t sound very exciting but they can be one of the more unusual means of transport on a trip! In some countries like Myanmar or Bolivia, taxis are very special. In these countries, anyone can be a taxi driver and you just drive your own car. Buy a “taxi” sticker in the supermarket, stick it on your windscreen and you have a… taxi. Don’t expect fancy or luxurious cars, no seatbelts and don’t be surprised if the dashboard is still on the right side while the steering wheel has been removed and moved to the left. Rides in these special taxis are always an experience.
Back to the Philippines, where you see Jeepneys racing past besides the Tricycles. After the Second World War, the American army left many jeeps behind in the Philippines. The Filipinos found a clever solution for this surplus of jeeps. The army jeeps were converted into colourful vehicles that nowadays drive around as “jeepneys”. They are open at the sides and have wooden benches on both sides. With loud honking and a smoking engine, the jeepneys criss-cross the streets. Not to be missed!
- Chinese trains
Because the distances in China are so vast, a good rail network has been built. Train rides in China are a bit different than a train ride with the NS, so our tips for train travel in China might come in handy. There are different classes in Chinese trains, ranging from sitting on the floor to having your own bed. In the least luxurious class, every inch is used. People lie asleep in the aisle or on the sink, and you have to step over people or wake them up to use the toilet. The conductor also likes to entertain you with his magic tricks after the tickets have been checked. In the sleeping compartment, there are usually six beds per compartment. During the day, everyone sits on the lower beds, so if this one is yours, you will have to wait until your compartment mates go to sleep.
When travelling to Asia, it is impossible to avoid it: the tuk-tuk determines the street scene in many countries. These scooters with backpacks are often surprisingly comfortable and look colourful. Ideal for travelling quickly from A to B, as they are often able to manoeuvre themselves past the busy traffic with their loud horns. Watch out for dirt roads though: a scarf to keep your mouth shut is not superfluous.
What do you do when you have a railway track but no train and some old vans? Simple: remove the wheels from the bus and mount a train chassis under the bus. This particular Ferrobus runs in Bolivia between Sucre and Potosí. One of the reasons that this line has been built is to travel along villages where no other transport is possible. A special route and certainly one of the most special means of transport on a journey.
- Local buses
When you think of buses, you might not immediately think of a spectacular ride. But hold on for the local buses in South America or Asia, for example. In Asia, it is normal for buses to be crammed with the most diverse goods and for stools to be placed in the aisle to create more seating space. Windows are often stuck together with duct tape and safety rules seem to be non-existent. In South America, you can also expect these practices, but in addition, there are often bus companies that are more luxurious than some airlines. For example, you have to weigh your luggage and check it in. Also, the seats are sometimes so luxurious that aeroplane seats are nothing. Some airlines even give you food and drinks on board and play films.
- Longtail boat
Especially in South-East Asia, you often see special long wooden boats. These so-called longtail boats are usually used to go fishing or to transport people. Some boats have balancing beams on the side to navigate on the sea, others are very long and narrow with only some wooden seats. They all have one thing in common. The colours and decorations of these longtail boats make them perhaps one of the most beautiful means of transport in the world.
At first sight, the chapas in Mozambique look like white mini-buses. As there are only four benches or a few chairs on average, you would expect that only a few passengers can travel with them. Nothing is further from the truth. A chapa can easily hold 28 people and a few animals. The luggage is tied to the roof. Do not be surprised if people also travel on the roof or hang around on the outside. A chapa is never full.
- Trans Mongolia Express
By train across Siberia, then across the border to Mongolia and finally to Beijing. With the Trans Mongolia Express it is possible to travel through three countries in six and a half days. You travel through different time zones and climates. From vast birch forests in Siberia to the Gobi Desert in Mongolia. Did you know that at the border between Mongolia and China, the train chassis is changed because the track in China is different from the one in Mongolia? Exactly, quite special.