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Chivas, mokoros, and tuk tuks… Oh my! The world’s funkiest transit

This articles comes to you from Lisa Eldridge of Girl About the Globe

From horses to camels, there are plenty of opportunities for different modes of transport when you go on holiday. I’ve travelled on squashed minibuses in Nepal, driven an ox-cart in Mongolia, sat next to livestock on a chicken bus in Laos, and journeyed on an overloaded train in India with people sat on the roof (though I nabbed a seat inside), but if that’s not your style, there are still plenty of ways to see the world like a local without, well, ending up with a chicken on your lap.


Barge holidays are really popular in Europe, especially along the rivers in Europe. Barges let you explore picturesque chateaux or local taverns, as you can stop wherever you like and taste the region’s wine or favourite tipple as you go along.

Cable cars

Although synonymous with the Alps and ski resorts, you can find cable cars going across the River Thames in England, up Table Mountain in Cape Town and in Medellin in Colombia. If you’re looking for one of the world’s most breathtaking cable car rides visit Shaanxi in China, Banff in Canada, Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, Lantau Island in Hong Kong, or the Kongdoori Mountain in India.


Found in Latin America, chivas are vintage costumed buses which once seen, are never forgotten. There are no windows, and the seats are benches instead of chairs. Originally adapted to rural roads, they are used for transporting people through the mountainous areas of the Andes. You can even find chiva party buses in larger cities, with live bands playing traditional music to make your ride a bit more exciting.


Hear the theme “Just one cornetto” and you can picture a gondola gently gliding along a Venetian canal with a gondolier in a stripy top and a straw hat. A gondola ride is a classic image of Venice for a reason, and if you’re in the city, you simply have to do it. Either pre-book a ride or just find a local gondolier when you’re there.

Horse-drawn carriages

Taking a horse drawn carriage along cobbled streets is not only a romantic way to get around but it also a nostalgic journey. In Sark in the Channel Islands this is the only way to travel as there are no cars on the island, or take a ride in Bruges in Belgium or Granada in Nicaragua. Trotting around a town is an idyllic way to see life at the pace of a local.

Hot air balloons

Nothing beats silently floating in the skies, observing wildlife from above, whether it’s kangaroos in Australia, wildebeests in the Masai Mara, or camels in Egypt. Hot air balloons are a treat, and some come with champagne and breakfast packages to enhance your flight experience. Cappadocia in Turkey is one of the most popular places to take a flight and seeing the fairy chimneys of Pigeon Valley at sunrise is one of the most magical scenes you can experience in your lifetime.


These dug-out canoes made out of tree trunks are just a genius way of getting around. Found in Africa as a traditional mode of transport, the mokoro is perfect for moving through shallow waters and comes complete with a boatman using a long pole. You’ll mostly find them in the Okavango Delta in Botswana where you can take a sunset safari and watch hippos and giraffes from afar. Plus if you’re feeling adventurous, you can even have a go at steering the mokoro yourself.

Long-tail boats

If you go on holiday to Southeast Asia, you could find yourself in a long tail boat if you take a trip across the islands. They’re often not the most safety-conscious of vehicles, but they are a unique way to sail past the limestone karsts and fishing villages in Thailand.


Originally found in Japan, rickshaws are becoming something of a dying breed but you can still find them in India, China and even Cuba, although they now use pedal power instead of being on foot. You can also find them in London around the main tourist areas as a novelty ride.

Tuk Tuks

Although they are generally found in Asia, these three-wheeled motorised rickshaws can be found in Egypt, Kenya and even as far as the Middle East. It ‘s hard to find a tuk tuk driver which doesn’t think he’s an ace racer, so be prepared to hold onto the sides as you weave in and out of the traffic.

Other transport

There are plenty of other ways to get around too, whether it’s on a donkey ride in Petra, camel trekking across desert plains in Morocco and Egypt, overland truck tours in Africa, pick-up trucks in Thailand, jeepneys in the Philippines, golf carts in Belize, and limousine transfers in the Middle East, you’ll never be short of ways to get from place to place.

Want more of Lisa? You can catch her other articles for HYPE here:

Can I Really Travel Solo?
How to Support Local Communities and Find Socially-Responsible Souvenirs on Your Holidays
An Interview with Lisa Eldridge