Planes, Trains and Automobiles…and TukTuks…and Motorbikes…and Camels…

28.March 2009

Pre-Trip

planes-trains-automobiles

Besides food and accomodation, the other element of our trip that will see plenty of variety is modes of transportation.

Moving from place to place, and getting around each place we’ll be visiting will be a huge part of our trip.

I can only imagine all the types of vehicles we will encounter while traveling such distances, through so many different countries, and over such diverse terrain.

Of course there will be planes. There will be large planes as we move internationally and there will be smaller planes as we move regionally.  I imagine some of them will even make Air Canada look good.

I love traveling by train and, in most countries we’ll be visiting, train travel is accessible, cheap and reliable (notice I didn’t say efficient…it may not always be efficient). It may not be the Rocky Mountaineer but we’ll be able to eat and sleep as well as watch the sights go by and maybe make some new friends on board.

We don’t plan on renting any cars to drive ourselves but we certainly will find ourselves in cars and trucks used as taxis, or even may hire a car and driver in spots to show us around. 

Taxis take many forms all over the world. When I think of taxi, I think of the classic Yellow Cab of New York but I think that taxis in other parts of the world are often quite different. People are extremely resourceful and carrying passengers back and forth in the family car is a great way to make money. It may be a rickshaw, a TukTuk or the back of a motorbike – if they’ll take me where I need to go it’s my taxi for hire.

2776969395_5282991c2fSoutheast Asia and India are the land of the TukTuk. Three wheeled auto rickshaws so named because of the sound they make. They perhaps should be called the CoughCough as the pollution they produce is significant. However, they are a cheap and quick form of transportation and I’m sure we’ll see lots of them.

 

I understand that motorcycle transportation is popular in Vietnam (and China). I’ve read of travelers renting them for a few days at a time to take them into the country for a self directed tour. They easily traverse the roads and are inexpensive to operate. Sounds like fun.

2652104468_fd5e21e087Wherever there is water there will be boats available either for direct transportation or for touring. Whether ferrying up the Bosphorus in Istanbul or taking the ‘slow boat’ down the Mekong from the Thailand/Laos border, I think that boat transportation will play a large part in our travels.

 

 

When we were in Greece in 2004 we took the time to rent scooters as often as possible. They are a fun, cheap and quick way to see any destination. We had such fun zipping up and down the Greek Isles – I can’t wait to do it again. ScooterBoy and ScooterGirl will ride again!!

2398693811_49efd06f75There will, of course, also be some more exotic forms of transportation. Maybe we’ll be hot air ballooning over the Cappadocia region of Turkey, taking camel rides in Jasailmer India or enjoying elephant rides in Northern Thailand.

I wonder how many different forms of transportation we’ll take?  I’ll have to keep track.

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6 Responses to “Planes, Trains and Automobiles…and TukTuks…and Motorbikes…and Camels…”

  1. Dirk Says:

    I jumped out a moving “cab” in Caracas to avoid being mugged. I’ll have to tell you about it some time. I’m sure you will demonstrate far better common sense than I though.

  2. jen laceda Says:

    good old pedal power of the bicycle is ideal for a short countryside jaunt as well! or perhaps a horse drawn carriage ride?

  3. Graham Says:

    Tuktuks are awesome but can be scary for the faint of heart. Personally, I enjoy the exhilaration but some just can’t handle it. In Bangkok Tuktuks are great because there is always a major traffic jam somewhere in the city but the tuktuks can drive around or weave through it. Just remember, in most countries taxi prices are always negotiable!

  4. Geoff Says:

    Yeah, don´t forget the good old bike, it´s a great way to explore cities and the countryside (especially flat places!). One of my favourite travel experiences to date was hiring mountain bikes to get around the southern Lao island of Don Khon, using bikes got us away from most of the travellers and allowed us to see a beautiful landscape of Lao villages, paddy fields, waterfalls and abandoned French railway equipment.

    Don´t forget buses too, no doubt you´ll be seeing a fair few of those too. While it´s great taking the deluxe tourist buses in many countries (comfortable fully recling seats, aircon, faster journeys), it´s also well worth checking out local buses from time to time. They may be slower and more uncomfortable, but they are a great way to get out of the traveller ghettoes and experience life more like the locals do.

    Not long to go for you now eh? You must be excited. I´ve just completed my first day and believe me it´s well worth the wait!

    • Gillian Says:

      BUSES!! How could I have forgotten buses!! Of course we’ll be spending inordinate amounts of time on buses. Long distance travel buses, local buses, cama buses, chicken buses…what was I thinking?
      Thanks Geoff! Glad to hear you’re on your way – can’t wait to hear the stories!! Cheers!

  5. Jeremy and Eva Rees Says:

    It’s amazing how many forms of transportation you’ll be exposed to this coming year. In our case, we’ve had a lot of surprises so far, and are looking forward to plenty more.

    I’m a big fan of the bicycle. Here in Mexico, at the Coba ruins (whose campus is spread out over 4K) you can rent bicycles to access all the different ruin sites (about $2). The buses here have also been a surprise. Luxurious and comfortable, and relatively cheap (but not quite as cheap as we expected ~$50 for 200 miles). In the end, we rented a car for $16/day which has been getting us around Mexico. We got international and interamerica drivers licenses before we left ($15) and I’m glad we did. We have scheduling freedom, and a safe place to leave our stuff. The price competes with the bus if you factor in taxis and other transportation to/from accomodations and bus terminals.

    Both of us have motorcycle licenses in the US too, and we’ve been hoping to see some of Vietnam behind the wheel. Though I’ve split lanes daily on my commute in urban Los Angeles, the thought of being on the road with hundreds of other crazy motorbikers does scare me a little bit…