To the curious traveler, the Asian continent is ever full of surprises. Exotic fruits, pungent fragrances, spicy foods, spectacular scenery and ancient history – the continent has everything to fuel a lifetime of travel. One aspect of travel in Asia that’s not blogged about very often is its array of unusual forms of transport. Beyond the cyclos and tuktuks of the capital cities, you’ll find some very unique ways of getting around and seeing the sights and here are our favorite.
Exploring ancient Chinese sites is always a thrill, but pair that with a ride in a vintage sidecar and you’ve got yourself a truly memorable travel experience. No viewing the scenery through the window of a tour bus, or trying to catch a glimpse of landmarks as your car whizzes by – a trip by sidecar fully immerses you in your destination. Being chauffeur-driven through the gorgeous plains of the Loess Plateau, or the arty enclave of Beijing’s ‘798’ district, with wind in your face and in touch with the elements, is a travel memory not soon forgotten.
Vietnam has an unimaginable amount of motor scooters zipping around its roads – so much so that crossing the road is an art form. Rather than go against the flow, why not do things like a local and hop on one yourself? A Vespa tour that allows you to ride pillion on the back cushion, behind an experienced driver, means you don’t have to try to maneuver through the traffic, and Saigon’s labyrinthine network of back alleys, yourself. Our tours offer reputable drivers so you relax and take in the sights of Saigon, stopping for street food and snapping photos whenever you please.
Less a ‘train’ than a platform that travels along a train track, the Bamboo Railway is one of the most unusual ways to travel in Cambodia. There are many great rail journeys through Asia, but this is the most quaintly endearing, fitting only a tiny load of human cargo per ‘carriage’. No more than a dozen people can sit on a single cart – basically, an open-air bamboo platform on a train axle – and if another train is heard approaching, all passengers must get off while the cart is taken off the tracks so it can pass. A short trip on the Bamboo Railway is a great way of experiencing the peaceful Cambodian countryside, breathing in its fresh air and sightseeing at a tranquil pace.
If you’re an adventure-seeker, riding around in a convertible is always preferable to being cooped up in a van or bus. To make the most of the fresh mountain air of Bali’s hinterland, a tour in an amphibious, open-top VW jeep is just the thing. A hardy vehicle like this also allows you to drive over the volcanic sands of Mt Batur and along narrow, rocky roads to get places the bigger tour groups can’t go. In other words, it’s perfect if you want to get off the beaten track, especially if a guide does all the driving.
The colorful, noisy tuktuk’s of Bangkok are one thing – the Jetsons-style ‘Kermit’ tuktuks of Trang province and Ayutthaya are quite another. These quirky, frog-shaped vehicles can only be found in Trang and Ayutthaya and they make the perfect way of sightseeing in the ancient Siamese capital. It can be hot, tiring work seeing all the historic temples and Buddha statues of Ayutthaya, so being able to hop aboard a tuktuk to zip between places makes the experience so much more enjoyable. With open sides and enough seating for a small group, you can hop on with your friends and enjoy Thailand’s balmy weather as you tour one of the country’s most fascinating sites.
If you’d like to experience unusual modes of travel in Asia, get in contact with one of our Travel Specialists today to organize a tailor-made tour.