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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Guest Post: Alternative Road Travel

There are so many quick, convenient and technologically amazing ways to travel these days that it's easy to forget that we don't all have access to modern travel. In this article, we take a look at some of the most basic travel modes from around the world, and at how they differ from westernized methods. From Tuk-Tuks in Thailand to the Bamboo railway in Cambodia, we find out about how it's not just about reaching your destination, but it's how you get there too.

Our guest author usually writes for PassSmart.com, but today she's given up regular road travel to look at some alternative options in the world.

Bamboo railway
Though not strictly road travel, we had to include this on the list. When the local residents of Battambang, Cambodia, got tired of waiting for unreliable trains, they took matters into their own hands. The Bamboo railway, also known as the 'norry', is only 3m wide and is made of bamboo. The makeshift railway can accommodate 10-15 people and travels at a steady pace. It may not be the most innovative pieces of technology, and, worryingly, they have no brakes, but it does the trick, allowing locals to transport their produce to the market. Bamboo drivers know the official railway's time schedule, so when they hear one coming in the distance, they quickly dismount from the tracks by taking the bamboo carriage apart.

Coco taxi
The Cuban Coco taxi is a favorite amongst tourists visiting the Caribbean country. The rickshaw type vehicles have two seats, three wheels and a moped engine. They get their name from their coconut-shaped bodies, as 'coco' means coconut in Cuba's native language, Spanish. Coco taxis are noisy, and you may be in for a bumpy ride, but they're cheaper than regular taxis in the capital city, Havana.

Boda Boda
The Boda Boda is a bicycle taxi which comes from Africa. They first started being used around 50 years ago as a means for travel for the locals, and have since become an entrepreneurial way for locals to make money. Transforming them into taxis, they're used to transport people between villages. They've since made the progression from bicycle to motorcycle, meaning locals can treat themselves to a speedier, if a little noisier, journey.

Tuk-Tuks and Jumbos
The Tuk-Tuk is not a new phenomenon, but it is one of the most popular travel methods for people visiting Thailand. They may be cramped, but in the bustling traffic of the Thai capital, Bangkok, there's little space for a larger vehicle. They have three wheels, 2 seats and fearless drivers who will get you from A to B as quickly as possible. Jumbos can be found in Laos, and they're really just a bigger version of the Tuk-Tuk; able to seat up to six passengers. Again, they're open-air and your ride may be a little bumpy, but they'll get you to your desired destination.

Bemos
Bemos are the favored form of transport for locals in Bali, Indonesia. The open-air minibuses are small and cheap, but not particularly comfortable. The most unique aspect of a Bemo is that all of the seats have been ripped out, meaning they can fit more people in. Bemos travel on set routes like buses, so you can even take one for your airport transfer, if you're feeling brave enough. Don't be surprised if you come across livestock on a Bemo either, as all kinds of passengers are welcome!



Welcome to BE ON THE ROAD Travel Blog! I am Sankara, its founder, a 30 something male from Bangalore who is living his dream of exploring the world and simultaneously trying to inspire others to live their dream.
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