So one of my favourite parts about travelling (other than all the stuff I have already said is my favourite) is the different types of transportation. I didn’t realize how different transportation in Canada is compared to the majority of the world. Just getting into a car and running to the grocery store is a blessing that I was unaware of. However, the different types of getting around are what make travelling such an adventure. From riding scooters through the mountains in India, to whipping through jungle in Cambodia in the back of a truck, getting places is always…interesting. Below I have assembled a list of my favourite ways that we got from point A to point B while we were travelling.
Taxis are a tricky one. In terms of convenience and speed, they often are the best option. And I will say that riding in a big Yellow Cab in India is something that, if you go to India before these go extinct, is something you must do! There is nothing quite like the tattered leather/woven seats, the thick smell of incense, and small holes in the rusted out floor that allow you to see the asphalt race by below. Other countries like Thailand or Vietnam have really nice taxis for the most part and are very comfortable to ride in. However, in some places, like Central Asia, you just flag down a car and ask if they will take you to where you are going. All that stuff about not getting into a stranger’s vehicle that your parents said, it goes right out the window! While the plus side of taxis is that they are really easy and convenient, they often end up costing a lot of money and can be a hassle in some places.
This refers to long distance trains. This one was difficult to rank so low because I believe that everyone who visits India should take a trip on a long distance train. It is truly a surreal experience as you pass through small railside villages, and watch landscapes change as you move into new areas. You have the opportunity to meet new people, and try new food which is always a plus in my book. These trips are a great bucket list item, and they offer an unparalleled travel experience. However, if you choose the sleeper class you will stick to the plastic/leather bunk bed no matter what you do. I do not know what trains are like in other parts of the world, but the trains in India are definitely worth taking a trip on.
Oh buses. I will say this, I will never complain about riding a bus in Canada ever again! After doing a significant amount of commuting by bus in India, I have to say that I think I could be a contortionist, or a professional bull rider, with little to no training. Buses provide an up close and personal experience with people that you rarely, if ever, get experience in other ways. The busy businessmen, or labourers, trying to get to and from work. The college student just trying to stay awake until they get to their stop. Or the mother with two small children who somehow manages to carry both children without falling off the bus, even though she isn’t holding on to anything. These are the types of people you will meet on buses. Because the bus is often very cheap, I’m talking like $0.10-0.20 depending on the distance, you meet a lot of the working class population. This provides an opportunity to really experience the country that you are visiting because it takes you out of your tourist bubble, and places you in the local community and culture in a different way.
2. TUK TUK/AUTO RICKSHAW
These are a staple mode of transport in Asia! Often cramped, and a little sketchy, these offer a transport experience that is always exciting, and different in some way. This was my favourite daily transport as a 20 minute route would cost me around 25 cents. Buzzing through traffic with someone you’ve never met pushed up against you, hanging halfway out of the cab, wondering how much longer you can hold on for, is an exhilarating experience to put it lightly. Whether you a weaving through the bustling streets of Kolkata, India, or whizzing through the through the countryside of Cambodia, these open air vehicles will make it an unforgettable ride!
P.S. If you have a stomach bug, these are very easy to get out of in “emergency” situations.
1. PERSONAL VEHICLE
While these pose greater risks, they offer an unlimited sense of freedom and independence! Riding through the mountains of southern India, or the jungles of Cambodia where some of the fondest memories I have of Asia. Sitting in the back of a truck singing songs with new friends, while winding through the confusing streets of Siem Reap, is an experience that I will never forget! With a personal vehicle you can go where you want to go and do what you want to without someone else’s schedule dictating your activities. Riding motorized scooters or bikes is really popular,but make sure you know a little bit about them before you go, or you may end up cartwheeling through the busy streets of a mountain town like I did.
Transportation is one of the most iconic parts of travelling! I know for me it was one of my favourite parts of being overseas. It’s something we take for granted I think, and it is so interesting to see how other cultures solve the problem of getting from one place to the next. What are some of your favourite modes of transportation?