A few Asian countries can boast of first world-levels of transportation in terms of speed, safety, and efficiency. Some Asian countries use native ingenuity to convert western modes of transport into practical vehicles for their local environment. Still other Asian countries continue to operate traditional vessels and vehicles as part of their centuries-old culture, not to mention their value as tourist attractions.
When visiting Asia, take time to visit the sights aboard these unique transports.
Star Ferry – the traditional vessel that transport people across Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong. It is still being operated at affordable fares even when faster and more efficient transports are available. Learn more about the Star Ferry in this article.
Tuk Tuk – also known as the motorized rickshaw, tuk tuks are motorcycles fitted with an expanded chassis that can support up to three passengers. They are so named after the staccato sound their two-piston engine makes when traveling the city streets. Tuk Tuks are ideal for tropical weather, when the stifling heat makes short walks within communities discomforting. They are well known in Thailand and Cambodia, and are rapidly gaining acceptance in other tropical countries.
Trolleys – practically benches attached with bearings, these strange vehicles ply the railways of the Philippines. Providing group transport for short distances along the tracks, these vehicles are usually pushed by one or two operators, though bulkier models are motorized. Somewhat illegal due to their use of private rail systems, these trolleys, passengers and all, are known to quickly move aside when the regular trains pass by!
Bancas â€“ outrigger boats that are used by fisher folk in Southeast Asia, which come in a variety of sizes, from two-man canoes to fifty-man ferries. These motorized boats are also used to cross bodies of water, traverse rivers, and hop around islands for the benefit of tourists.
DUCKboats – World War II amphibious transports that have been converted into tour vessels. Plying the scenic land and waterways of Singapore, these diesel-powered boats offer the most enjoyable way to take in the sights along the coasts and riverbanks. Read more about DUCKboats and the other different means of transportation in Singapore here.
Chinese Junk – traditional sailing ships of overseas Chinese. Cruises onboard these vessels are available in Halong Bay in Vietnam, and along the coast of Singapore.
Indian Railways – the largest rail network in the world, as well as the largest single employer in the world. One division, the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, is a narrow gauge railway that still uses steam-powered trains, and is currently a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Another train, the Palace on Wheels, is one of the top ten luxury trains in the world and is used to promote tourism in Rajasthan.
Shinkansen - the celebrated network of high-speed trains operating in Japan. The “bullet trains” cruise up to 210 km/hr, connecting cities and even islands to each other. The Tokaido Shinkansen, first operated during the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, is the worldâ€™s busiest high-speed rail line, carrying 375,000 passengers every day. There are plans to build even faster trains in the near future, using the latest materials and aerodynamic designs.